The Virtual Technology Cluster (VTC) Group, an organization that wants to help major multinational companies to attract emerging and disruptive technology innovators to their supply chain, announced a partnership with Deloitte — one of the world’s “Big Four” accounting firms — to create a Deloitte Healthcare Virtual Technology Cluster (Deloitte VTC).
The Deloitte VTC, to be officially launched in Q1 2017, will focus on new, innovative digital technologies for the healthcare sector and try to match the requirements of major healthcare operators with emerging technology solutions. In particular, the Deloitte VTC will provide members — expected to range from university projects through to startups, SMEs and public companies — with opportunities for commercial partnerships or investment, and access to the global supply chains of large firms.
“We have long recognized the importance of connecting digital capabilities and innovative technologies with healthcare providers to accelerate the pace of the digitization,” said Deloitte Partner Julian Hunt. “The Virtual Technology Cluster model stood out for us as it focused on enabling the acceleration of digital capability, innovative capacity and investment opportunities in the healthcare sector and wider economy.”
Hunt mentioned the Lockheed Martin VTC, launched in 2015 to promote innovative cybersecurity and other technology solutions developed in the U.K., as a success story. “We were impressed by the success of the Lockheed Martin U.K. Virtual Technology Cluster being a practical example of connectivity delivering accelerated competitive advantage,” he said.
“We are delighted to partner with Deloitte on the creation of our second VTC, which will help advance the digitization of healthcare for the NHS and further afield. We are keen to replicate the success of our first cluster, the Lockheed Martin (now Leidos) Virtual Technology Cluster, which is focused on cybersecurity,” said VTC Group CEO Auriol Stevens. “In Deloitte we have a multinational organization, passionate about enhancing the quality of healthcare through technology, with whom we can work to create an ecosystem that will lead to revenue and investment opportunities for all constituents.”
Stevens, who manages the Lockheed Martin VTC and was appointed CEO and Director of the VTC Group in July 2015, added that connecting innovation developers with corporate operators will help in achieving a better healthcare environment for the benefit of patients.
The creation of the Deloitte VTC seems especially interesting in view of the current emphasis on innovative blockchain solutions for the healthcare industry. Bitcoin Magazine reached out to Stevens to find out more about the role that distributed ledger technology companies can be expected to play in the Deloitte VTC.
Stevens considers blockchain-based security solutions as especially relevant for the Deloitte VTC, and anticipates that blockchain technology will “absolutely” have a key role to play in the company.
“Secure information exchange is as important in healthcare as in finance — personal data has a price tag attached to it, and where we are trying to encourage information sharing, this needs to be done in a completely secure way,” she told Bitcoin Magazine. “The exact application will be dependent on what our corporate sponsors are looking to solve / provide for their customers.
“A large corporate interested in the technology should see the Deloitte VTC as a way of accessing curated market information, and therefore make informed choices around what type of technology to adopt, rather than investing time and money in something because they feel they have to to keep up with trends,” continued Stevens.
She went on to explain that participation in the Deloitte VTC can bring benefits to both end users and technology providers. “Blockchain innovators who have technology or skills and capabilities in this area will become members of the Deloitte VTC to try and find opportunities for revenue generation with our sponsoring corporates,” Stevens said. “They will also have access to a virtual ecosystem of like-minded individuals, and industry experts in the law, finance, business development and the like. Membership is free and no relocation is required.”
Of course, funding is one of the big problems that emerging technology innovators have to face. According to Stevens, membership in the Deloitte VTC could “potentially” facilitate access to funding.
“Members of the Lockheed Martin (now Leidos) Virtual Technology Cluster found that access to finance was made easier by their participation in the cluster, as they were able to generate revenue — very attractive to funders,” she said. “Advice can be given around potential suitable funding streams for members by the VTC Group and/or the industry experts.”
Stevens concluded by saying that she sees a role for blockchain technology in other VTC projects besides Deloitte. “Its application is wide and, if our corporate sponsors of other clusters want to access these types of technologies, we would like to bring them into our ecosystem,” she said.