Discover how digitalisation has been woven into the fabrics of business and society, and how Irish engineers have risen to the challenge.
In the first of a three part series, three engineers at the forefront of their fields explore the acceleration in digital solutions, and how in a world changed by a global pandemic, digitalisation has redefined the way we work forever.
To discuss this we are joined by Jeffrey Roe, Telclic Head of Engineering, Suzanne Roe Managing Director, Consultant Medical Devices at Triskele Consulting Limited and Veronica Mariti Sesoko, previous with Dublin City Council and currently Operations Senior Analyst Accenture.
Listen below or on your podcast player!
Topics we discussed include:
- How digitalisation has shaped industry over the past twenty years
- How digitalisation has shaped patients experience within the health service (02.43)
- How 3D Models have rapidly speed up the planning process (05.49)
- The process of changing from a paper system to a fully digitalised system (09.38)
- The digital twin programme which has been developed by Dublin City Council (15.44)
Jeffrey Roe, Telclic Head of Engineering, who has gained a wealth of experience in building public transport systems from bike-share schemes, to parking and port traffic access management systems.
Suzanne O’Rourke, an engineer working in the medical device industry for almost 30 years - across research and development, process development, new products, quality and regulatory. Suzanne is the owner and managing director of Triskele Consulting, focussing on supporting start-up companies navigate the technical and regulatory requirements to bring novel medical devices to market.
Veronica Mariti Sesok, who recently started working for Accenture The Dock as an Operations Senior Analyst, having previously worked for Dublin City Council as an Engineer in the Smart City Team running Innovative Projects for the Public Sector.
Veronica Mariti Sesoko
Looking for ways to explore or advance a career in the field of engineering? Visit Engineers Ireland to learn more about the many programs and resources on offer. https://www.engineersireland.ie/
Many different tools and technologies are coming up to improve our city. They help with how we can run more efficiently, how we can better engage with our citizens, how to have better decision making based on data and being transparent with people.
We only had a small team on the ground so we leveraged a lot of digital technologies. That allowed our engineers to remotely monitor the equipment and set up all the processes. Video calling was another tool that allowed us to do a project that's so far away.
If they'd had some kind of a heart arrhythmia, and the device had to kick in and treat it, that action could get uploaded to their doctor's clinic and the doctor could actually review the event remotely.
For your convenience, here is a 90% accurate automated transcript of the podcast.
Suzanne O’Rourke 0:02
You know, the great thing about engineering is is that engineers are all kinds of people. And you know, I think the thing that's most common to all engineers is just that they solve problems.
Jeffrey Roe 0:11
It's not just about a business problem, a technical problem, a processes problem. It's about coming up with creative ways to solve these problems.
Veronica Sesoko 0:21
One of the great skills of engineers, we're just curious, we just want to learn, ask questions and take measures to really take action.
Jeffrey Roe 0:31
The part isn't always direct, sometimes it needs a substitution. But in the end, you have to solve the problem and use creativity a lot together.
Suzanne O’Rourke 0:41
I always describe it a little bit like the Madonna of careers, you just keep recreating yourself throughout your own career. You can be whatever you want to be able to do.
Dusty Rhodes 0:55
Hello, my name is Dusty Rhodes and you welcome to our engineers journal amplified podcast. This is the first in a three part special on digitalization in engineering, where experts at the forefront of their engineering fields will explore how digitalization has been woven into the fabric of business and society, and how Irish engineers are rising to the challenge. Today we have three amazing guests for you. Jeffrey row is a Celtic head of engineering, who has gained a wealth of experience in building public transport systems from bike share schemes to parking and porch traffic access management systems. Suzanna Rocca is an engineer and Managing Director of Trisquel consulting, who helps startup companies navigate the technical and regulatory requirements for new medical devices. And finally, we have Veronica emeriti. Sissoko who is working with the center of the dock as an operations Senior Analyst, but previously worked as an engineer in the smart city team at Dublin City Council and had some of her experience there, she'll be sharing with us. You're all very welcome to the podcast. Before we dig down into some specific projects, which I know you're going to talk about, can I ask each of you to give us just a bit of an overview of how technology plays a part in your day to day work? We'll start with Jeffrey
Jeffrey Roe 2:21
I guess digitalization has allowed us to bring a lot of admin staff. And we're able to bring those kinds of efficiencies by leveraging different technologies around that digitalization and enable those companies to scale in a way that it wouldn't be just possible if they're doing it all by by hand, or having people do all the data entry and the processes.
Dusty Rhodes 2:43
Suzanne, you're in the medical field, how has digitization shaped patient experiences over the last 20 years.
Suzanne O’Rourke 2:50
So you know, I think it's really interesting, because when I think of digitization, and a lot of the time, I immediately go, or it doesn't really apply to medical devices. But you know, when I was thinking back on my own career, I spent quite a number of years working with active implantable devices. So those are devices like your pacemakers, your cardiac defibrillators and your heart failure devices. All of those devices inherently work with embedded firmware on software to control how they listen to the heart and how they respond with therapy. But a huge impact with our technology that's been around for so long, actually, is remote monitoring, where a lot of these patients would have what used to be a bedside monitor, that wirelessly would pick up information from the device. So if they'd had, for instance, some kind of a heart arrhythmia, and the device had to kick in and treat it that could get uploaded to their doctor's clinic. And the doctor could actually review that event remotely. And you know, particularly with heart failure patients, their weight sometimes will go up and down because you know, they have an increase in fluid in the body if their heart is not working. And again, with remote monitoring, it stops patients having to potentially travel a really long distance to go to a clinic for you know, what, what could be fairly routine treatment or modification of medication for that for those patients. And you know, the other hidden benefits is it gives patients a sense of, of reassurance you know, that there's something watching. So you know, kind of that's my first experience off of sports. You know, today when you look at how digitisation is affecting, you know, devices, you can see it, you know, from the Fitbit that we wear on our wrists, Apple Watches, that not all aspects of those wearables are considered medical devices, but certainly the AFib app that's on those is FDA approved and is CE marked as a medical device. And you know, then other things like patient tracking and hospitals. Hopefully we'll all have electronic patient files that when you travel, your information can travel much more easily with you. So if you're On holidays, your treating doctor potentially on holidays can access your files from from far away.
Dusty Rhodes 5:05
Just on that point is and I was going to ask is this digitization really kind of getting that joined up approach to people's medical records.
Suzanne O’Rourke 5:13
So I think the technology is well and truly there, and there's no doubt about that part. But there are challenges around things like GDPR information crossing geographic boundaries, and some of the the legislation that's there to protect people's health privacy. And you know, when some some of that can, can slow things down. So you know, so there is still a lot of work, I think, to match up what is technically capable with, you know, what we can do within the realms of protecting people's privacy, but also making sure that they can get health care at the point that they needed much more quickly and more efficiently.
Dusty Rhodes 5:49
Veronica, your area is in planning for cities, that's a fairly big thing to get get into your head, how is digitization changed the way we approach city planning?
Veronica Sesoko 6:00
Yeah, so I think it's very interesting because where I work is innovation. So it's smart cities is really how we can use that digitalization. And many different tools and technologies are coming up to actually improve our city, how we can run more efficiently, how we can better engage with our citizens, how we can also make better decision making are based on data and being transparent with people. So I'm going to be talking a little bit about digital drawings. And basically, it's, it's how we can start populating and visualizing the city or the proposal in your city, waving the context and overlaying loads of different data sets, being able to visualize in a more friendly way. So using 3d models, and then how we can engage and explain all those visualizations to people in a way that they can interact with the model. So we are adding transparency, we are being able to do that in web browsers. So people can just go to our website, interact, give us some feedback, we can capture all of those, analyze this feedback. And then based on those make our decisions and always like comforts of your home, being very like two ways kind of like channel to engage with our citizens. So I think it's a win win for everyone.
Dusty Rhodes 7:25
You're all working in vastly different sectors of engineering. And it's clear to see that digital systems do help speed, they do help efficiency and accuracy. I want to start getting into some specific projects that you've been working with. Jeff, you'd like to start with yourself. You've worked on a big project, we're around traffic flow, which you did in Senegal, can you give us an overview of that project?
Jeffrey Roe 7:49
Yeah, so it's based down in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, which kind of acts like a gateway for the for the neighboring countries, it's a very, it's a very busy port. So before we got involved, it was all a bit of an archaic paper system, trucks would line up queue for days, and to get access to the port, there wasn't much efficiency or true plus. And so we got involved to really bring it a level of digitalization and business processes to the project. So we're involved in putting in lots of equipment like cameras barriers, and holding areas in the port itself, and then 100 kilometers away from the port. So we could manage them better, give people reliability and set expectations that if you have a booking to go and collect a shipment from the port, that you would be there at three o'clock, there would be space and traffic available. So we saw some some great successes in terms of the true ports of trucks, and then the reliability in terms of people having that guaranteed visit time. And that kind of reassurance to a lot of the transport and logistics companies, and enables the Port Authority to really increase the amount of boats and shipping that they have into their port. And we could really do that because of the digitalization because we're remoting here, here in Ireland, and we only have a small team on the ground. We leverage a lot of that kind of digital technologies that allowed our engineers to remotely monitored the equipment's and set up all the processes, video calling all the kinds of tools that we're used to, and allowed us to do a project that's so far away.
Dusty Rhodes 9:38
When you first came to the project, how paper based was it was an entirely paper based or have they dip their toe in digitization at all,
Jeffrey Roe 9:46
was entirely paper based. You had to go to work to go to one office, get a piece of paper, then go to the customs office, get another piece of paper for a different time, and then you will be good Given an approximate time, based on when the ship would arrive, maybe in two or three days, depending on whether it had no systems in place to deal with weather traffic flow, the right that you would unload ships, there was all these variables, so they couldn't give you an accurate time, or they couldn't even let you know that the ship was delayed in a meaningful way. So we brought those systems in place like driver app alerts, you know, where we monitor the traffic flow on the street. And we can tell, oh, we modeled that this street is able to take 50 trucks an hour. And if we notice it's reaching capacity, we have algorithms to automatically alert people that that are updated their time for collection will be slightly in the future. So we brought all those kinds of smarts and those tools on place to pretty much transform an archaic system of paper from multiple people, to an all online digital system, where you have the tools to statistics, where people can make predictions, they can make plans for future growth and capacity building.
Dusty Rhodes 11:03
Now, people don't like change. And when you have people who are used to dealing with paper, and you know, that's the way it is, why can I do that there's a three day delay, and all of a sudden, everything is efficient, and they have to do stuff on smartphones and apps, they can actually be quite hesitant about getting involved, what was the reaction of people at the port in Senegal.
Jeffrey Roe 11:22
So we're dealing with lots of different stakeholders, for, for example, the truck drivers, there was no place for them to queue, although there was some upset about switching to a digital system. But then when we told them, you can park in this lovely holding area, we'll put in facilities like toilets, restaurants, a prayer room. So all these extra facilities that you can use, while you wait was the kind of the carers that we got them to come on board. And then the local community were really happy about the project because of the air quality. Like we went from idling trucks in the street, you know, with problems with, with air quality to being trucks nicely parked in a in a car park, there's no hiney around, there's no engines running. So I think all the stakeholders became we're happy with the project. But it came a lot down to education funding at local champions, we were very much concerned about us being an outside Irish company coming in. We found local champions, local leaders to help us get the message across that it's a win win for everybody, if we help you adopt to this digitalized system.
Dusty Rhodes 12:35
And what was the biggest challenge on that project that was racking your head that you had to fix?
Jeffrey Roe 12:41
I guess the biggest challenge would be, it's definitely the language barrier. And dealing with the level of education, you know, you have lots of local tribal languages. And of course, we can't, we couldn't translate into into every language. So it's about commuting and making the processes as simple and streamlines. For example, your first language is majority of people down there, the first language is French, but a lot of the truck drivers, the first language isn't French, or if they're coming from Mali, or something that might speak more local dialect is the big challenge was making the system simple enough that anyone with basic language skills in the languages that we could provide that they could understand it and process to the process.
Dusty Rhodes 13:30
So you're simplifying everything as much as possible, where you're using iconography as well, so that you will be communicating through pictures for what people had to do.
Jeffrey Roe 13:38
Exactly. So a lot of it was pictures and signage at all the ports having enough air training and onboarding processes. So we decided that we wouldn't do like a big bank switchover, that would be a gradual process, we wouldn't just, you know, leave everybody out to dry or a field that they're left and avoid or are missing out on the change in systems, it was much a gentle process to bring everyone along with us. Because these people have been driving or the drivers for their whole careers. We didn't want to just end their career and make them you know, irrelevant anymore. We wanted to bring them all with us. So a lot of local education, local meetings, and to get people on board the new system.
Dusty Rhodes 14:24
Now, it sounds amazing that, you know, kind of you're based in Ireland, the project is based in Senegal. How did that work? Were you doing a lot of remote working, were you?
Jeffrey Roe 14:34
Well, we had to, we found a great local partner and at down there, the majority of the of the software and systems would be designed here in Dublin. And then we had to staff base down there and during the initial construction of the project, so installing all the equipment, setting up the cameras, the servers, that sort of stuff, a lot of that we would send down and In yours for about a five to six week period, but a lot of it can be managed remotely. And one of the big challenges that we kind of have to overcome because of this distance is we have to remember that in that city, we have a unreliable power grid, and an unreliable internet connection. So we have to build a lot of fault tolerances into the system that that would still work without internet. That would be local copies. And when the internet would return, we'd have this cross syncing system, where information that would be just stored locally would then be synced into the cloud. So we had all that processes, that extra extra resilience that we built into the system for this reason, because we were so remote.
Dusty Rhodes 15:44
Veronica, let me ask you about a project you were involved in. And this is the digital twin program, which has been developed by Dublin City Council, what what is the program? Yes, so
Veronica Sesoko 15:55
it's very nice to hear from Jeffrey, because we have a lot of crossovers as well. So pretty much in Dublin City Council, we are developing a digital twin program, and that's composed by five pillars. And one of them is actually looking at climate change and sustainability. And it's pretty much how we can replicate what's happening, the city, collecting all those data about traffic about air quality, and how we can visualize all of those in the same layer, we can include the 3d model of the city, and then we can start doing like studies to better understand how things work. And then after, when we can explain easier to people how those things correlate. And you can prove those, we can also start like running simulations and a little bit of those predictions that Jeffrey was like talking about, we had another four pillars. So one of them is about emergent service. So we were doing with Dublin fire brigades. And that one was really looking at building 3d models of high risk buildings in relation to fire, and how we could overlay loads of information about what are the hydrant locations, the the alarm panel, or the hydrants or the contact points. So in case of a fire, they have all those pre instant plans already and on the way they can go study. So it can save time for them, especially because they are not their day to day in that building. So they also told me, Oh, it's very hard, because we don't know the building, and it's full of smokes. So you actually don't know where you're getting. So they could do surveys internally as well, and start doing like route escapes. And taking pictures of like areas that could be a very high risk for them or areas that could be prioritized. For example. The third pillar that we're doing, it's a little bit more like soft, light touch. It's about tourism, and economy. So we are building augmented reality or AR applications to try to do like storytelling. So we are building for Docklands area, Heritage Trail, so tourists can come and points, see how it looked like years ago, and then it has a full narrative. So just get to talk a little bit about our heritage and how was before and you can just visualize how it's now at same time. The fourth one, it's really looking at first parts that I was talking on the planning side of the city. So how we can start building 3d models of the city, when we have new proposed buildings, we could insert those that the architects and developers are already building in 3d. And then we see all of those in contexts. And then we can engage better with our citizens in an interactive way using our web browser platform. So people can just go play, have a look loads of questions that they have, it's about oh, but how to oh, that's going to be is that going to be covering shadows or my apartments or what I leave. So you can start seeing all of those just in an interactive way, and all the comfort of your house. And because it's interactive, they can also give us like much better feedback. And then we can go back and do all the study analysis. And the last one is a partnership between smart doubling and TCO campus. And we're using their expertise of the researchers to be looking more at a campus level, how it's how people move around, are the rooms being booked. And maybe there is nobody inside those buildings but the lights are on. So how you can be like better managing all these states and facilities and maybe start doing like some cost savings as well. So that is all those perspectives.
Dusty Rhodes 19:54
That's a lot. That's a lot of stuff. I'm fascinated by what you say about Having a 3d model of Dublin City, because having a 3d model for now, I mean, we've seen some examples with Google Maps. That's amazing. But you're talking about also being able to project what the 3d model would look like in the future. That's just mind blowing. How did you go about building that 3d model? Because that's an enormous job. Yeah. So
Veronica Sesoko 20:22
we those are actually some of the questions that we have. Because building 3d models of a very big area of the city, it's very costly. And not just costly to acquire the data, but also to process to build two holes, the 3d model. So that's part of the program and we the way that we are doing, it's pretty much an exploring phase. So we are engaging with three different companies, they have different business models, they have different techniques, as well to do a collection of the data. And what we are doing is really reviewing for each of the use case. So what's the level of detail we want to do, we want to look more the Google Maps Street View, do we want to look more like a block module. And then we are kind of like, getting to a conclusion that for different use cases, we need different models. And then one of the reasons is, so the block model, you can make it even more realistic. So if you wanted to better engagements with the people about using virtual reality, so they can be immersive in space, that's the best one because it's more comfortable to be looking on the other hands, sometimes people just want to very easily just recognize it doesn't need to be like very high quality and comfort level, because you're not going to spend that much time looking at the buildings. So then maybe the other model that is called Reality mash, it looks a little bit more a Google Maps, but be like higher quality, you would need to fly closer and capture too many pictures. So we are also like, asking those questions. So how close how many pictures? How do we do that? How often do we need to be capturing this data to keep updated? So parts of the project search warrants? Are
Dusty Rhodes 22:14
those and you're using drones to get that imagery? Are you?
Veronica Sesoko 22:17
Yeah, so for the Dublin fire brigades that use case I was mentioning, that's what they're doing. So that was one of just of discoveries. If we have specific buildings, it's very cost efficient. And it gives us a very good quality module and comfort levels, if we do a drone survey, because then they can just close the area, fly the drone, or very close the building capture loads of pictures, and it's still like, fine for them. But when we are talking about a city scale, it's quite hard to do it in a super high quality. So we are kind of trying to see, do we need all of those? And I think the answer that we're finding is we just need to mix. We don't need every single building in high quality. But just something that is recognizable, people are familiar, they know they can locate itself. And maybe for the specific ones that we want more details, or that we are going to be working on then we just go fly, collect the data, and have a more detailed one. But Dublin
Dusty Rhodes 23:21
is a huge place to to cover, what was the main challenge of scaling up with those drones to cover the city?
Veronica Sesoko 23:28
Yes, so at the start of the project, we were actually not using drums. The way that we were building the models were flying airplanes. So we could capture the data. And they could easily fly like few hours covered the entire CD and still give us like a good kind of like model. And that's kind of like what I was mentioning is about mixing those different levels of detail. So maybe we can just have those airplane photography's done. And it gives us like good context. And then for like the developing areas that we're doing the big blocks of like Poolbeg, or any s desert area, then we could just go and start like doing the surveys with the drones for the fire brigades. They also have like priority of buildings, they don't need every single building. But if they are like big employers or like have like chemical plants or something like that, so we can start doing the surveys in very detail level.
Dusty Rhodes 24:29
Suzanne, let's move on to the medical end of things. How would you describe on a scale of one to 10 say the rollout or the change to digitization during COVID?
Suzanne O’Rourke 24:40
Certainly from my experience, you know, because I'd be working with novel technologies and brand new devices. You know, one area that was really adversely impacted by COVID was our ability to progress. Clinical studies for a couple of different reasons. theaters were shut down because all of the left type of surgery initially was was closed off. And obviously we, you know, the the priority was to keep hospital beds available for COVID patients. But as understanding of the disease progressed, elective surgeries came back on board. But of course, then we had travel bans. So we were not physically able to travel and usually without with a brand new device, you would have somebody in the organization standing behind the implanting physician to be available to answer questions to provide support in person on very much, you know, that face to face interaction and getting live feedback on the device is very important. In addition to that, we'd be collecting user experience data, we're observing how they use the device, are they doing something differently than what we expect them to do with us. And so we couldn't do any of that anymore. So one area that that really came into play was how digitization really actually supported us being able to get back up and running. And, you know, all of a sudden, we had cameras in theaters. And that sometimes was just somebody's mobile phone, where you would have one of the clinical research assistants or a nurse holding up a mobile phone, so we could physically observe what was going on in a live surgery, you could see what was actually happening in real time as an implant was going on. And you know, be able to collect the data that we needed. Because ultimately, you know, if you applied to do a clinical study, you're supposed to have it done within a certain timeframe, or you're limited to a certain number of patients. So, you know, all of these studies stopping is really unhelpful in terms of getting new products to the market. So it was just, I suppose it wasn't conscious use of, of the technology, but it was certainly the availability of it meant that things could progress. And it just, it just became the solution out of the box that we didn't have to think of before, but it was really useful to see how we use that.
Dusty Rhodes 27:02
So new devices, and getting them out there and improving medicine overall, is your area and you've mentioned to kind of devices in general, are you able to give me an example of like a widespread medical device that has been used by patients, which have come about through digitization.
Suzanne O’Rourke 27:17
So I think, you know, if if really not necessarily a specific device used by patients, but if you think about a bit differently, you know, there's been a huge increase in artificial intelligence, and implemented and now starting to get approved, you know, particularly through FDA for doing analysis on scans. And, you know, so there's been a lot of breakthroughs in being able to have machine learning, looking at images taken of potential cancerous lesions, etc. And you know, where the machine is able to actually learn and feedback, whether or not it looks like it could be a cancerous tumor. And, you know, there's huge challenges in that area, because the the accuracy of the algorithms to make those decisions, and ultimately, you know, a clinician is looking at that scan, but it's which ones to look at, and been able to increase throughput, but maintain the same level of clinical care. So, you know, for for regulators, there's a huge amount of pressure there, because the speed of technology is nearly outpacing you know, the timeframe by which you need to be able to generate the data to prove that that technology is, is trustable you've got people's lives effectively in the hands of the software, and so software as a medical device, and all of the capability, you know, that engineers bring to that in software coding, etc. And then taking that to the regulatory environment and, and putting it through, you know, risk analysis and, and all of the types of testing and simulations to make sure that that works repeatedly and accurately and reliably. It's really quite challenging. But I think that's really you know, it's a space where a lot of of new companies are working in and I think the interaction with the regulators to nearly keep pace of regulation going in tandem with the technology is really important and certainly you see you know, the regulators are coming to the table with that which is really positive.
Dusty Rhodes 29:26
I was about to say do you find the regulators are a little slow to move or does it seem to work out okay and your end of the world?
Suzanne O’Rourke 29:36
Certainly my experience of it would be you know, I think anybody who works in medical technology and indeed pharma as well you know, when you when you hear you've got a you know, an FDA audits or a TGA auditors are coming to inspect your facility and your devices that usually put a few chills through the body and you know, there's a lot of focus on getting ready and there's a lot of panic and With the experience on that end, you know, which is checking for compliance, it's very, very different to new products. And there are great opportunities to actually go and talk up front to regulators, be it FDA or be the competent authority in Ireland. Also, you know, kind of there's there's new pathways being set up through the through the European Commission, but there's free forums where basically you can write a proposal, tell them about, here's what we're trying to develop, here's what we think it's going to be and propose how you're going to test it and do an awful lot of that conversation upfront with them, whereby you're sitting in the room effectively with expertise, you know, be cross functional expertise. So you'll have medical professionals present usability, human factors, expertise, preclinical animal testing expertise. Sterilization is a big part as well, you know, if it's an implantable device, and there's a great opportunity to interact with them and get feedback on, you know, what are they going to look for? In terms of the type of testing or if you know, you need to do a clinical study? And they certainly won't tell you the answer. They don't tell you what you need to do. But they will provide a lot of guidance about the gaps, that they think that maybe your proposal is missing things that maybe you haven't thought about. And it's always great to get the medical professional impulse, you know, when when you're talking about something that's brand new, that there's nothing similar right there. So yeah, it's great. It's really exciting. And they're actually really collaborative at that stage.
Dusty Rhodes 31:39
Looking back over, say, the last five years, Suzanne, what's the one problem that has been solved for you by digitization?
Suzanne O’Rourke 31:50
I think, you know, it's probably more of the solutions that Jeffrey and Veronica have already been talking about. So I think certainly, from a manufacturing of medical technology perspective, you know, the move away from paper based records happened quite a long time ago. And there's, there's very few organizations now, which would use paper based processes. A lot of the documentation, the records, you know, setting up traceability for how devices are built instructions for how the devices are built, the training that's required, all of that is digitized. And, you know, is is much easier to access records, it's much easier to if you need to do an investigation on something to be able to pull all that information from wherever it is you are in the world. And certainly if you're working in a multinational organization, everybody who is located, basically worldwide is able to access all of the same information at the same time, which is fantastic. And the other thing I think that that lends itself to then as well as is that, you know, you really do have companies that are working 24 hours, because there's always somebody awake, and there's always somebody pulling a record, or working on a test reports are working on testing, no matter where you are in the world. So you know, you finish up your day. And by the time you're getting back to your inbox in the morning, you're getting updates on, you know, maybe, you know, a clinical study or some new device testing or, you know, so it's, it's very, very accessible. And I think the sharing of information, and the speed and efficiency at which information is shared in that way really helps us progress things. You know, we do see a lot now, you know, certainly Ireland would be, you know, is a huge success story. It's a Global Center for Medical Device, medical technology, manufacturing, and has been for many years. And you know, certainly I think, you know, the industry is at the forefront of implementation of things like, you know, industry 4.0, being able to basically, you know, standard board and see exactly where devices are. And exactly, you know, are things being built as they should be or, you know, your yields as they should be, or you have more failures in manufacturing than you should be, etc. So it's much more visible, it's much more accessible. And that's, that's fantastic. And I think that's what we want to see that level of visibility and accessibility of information, it would be fantastic to see that move into the clinical area, you know, for patient records and access to doctors, etc.
Dusty Rhodes 34:20
So we've been listening to each other and all the various projects that we've been involved in what question would you like to ask one of the other guys on the panel? Let's start with Veronica.
Veronica Sesoko 34:30
Yeah, well, because my background is in transportation. So transport engineer. I find like really fascinating about Jeff projects. So you mentioned all the like language barrier. Do you think with like the new technology like that they do like real time translation. How are we going to get to that point that maybe you can have the chat boots and just like translating real time and then three Oh, The queries that people might want to have, maybe as parts of like the solution, I don't know as well, like, what's the costs for building this kind of solution? But maybe that's something in the future that could help. I don't know your views?
Jeffrey Roe 35:14
Yeah. So it's very interesting. It's very interesting question. We have been piloting WhatsApp bots. And we've had some great feedback from because WhatsApp is very, it's very widespread in Senegal at the moment. And so we have been testing out WhatsApp bots for customer queries, and like checking account numbers, that sort of stuff. And in that, I certainly we could build in some more real time translation into local languages. But the the problem is that these local dialects, unfortunately, big tech have left them behind. They're not making translation systems for Wolfie or another local tribal dialect. They're just not unfortunately, not interested in such a small community. So unfortunately, I don't think we'll get to the stage where we can do some real time translation services, unless these big tech companies come out and spread more democratize their technology and enable it for kind of minority languages.
Dusty Rhodes 36:20
Suzanne, what about yourself? What question Would you like to ask Jeffrey or Veronica?
Suzanne O’Rourke 36:25
Yeah, I think it was really interesting listening to, you know, all of that management around around the port, you know, and all of those pieces of paper flying everywhere, and ultimately, when you boil it all down, you know, it's about moving things more efficiently. And, you know, I, I just, I wonder, you know, it just sounds like such a transferable type of technology, you know, that if, you know, we were ultimately able to, you know, have patients maybe with with trackers or even hospital trolleys going traveling to an operating theatre, for instance, you know, that you would be able to see, you know, if there was a delay and not not to move somebody or, you know, freeing up time so that you can have more efficiency and more throughput going, going through, you know, what, sometimes there are limited resources, you know, particularly things like CT scanners and MRI scanners, you know, there's, there's limited resources for those and to be able to maximize our efficiency and get more people through, you know, will be fantastic. And I was, you know, I mean, it seems to me that that type of technology has to be transferable. But, yeah, I posed that one to Jeffrey and see, see what he can do?
Jeffrey Roe 37:34
Well, well, the technology is very transferable, because we got our start originally doing operating a public bike sharing scheme in Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford for the NTA. So if you just think of bikes, translate them to trucks, there's lots of the moving from all these bike stations around. So we use a lot of our learning from managing and running those logistics about having a shared resource and having predictions of capacity. And then we brought off to the porter opera port operations field. And it was just about embedding new types of technology. So instead of RFID, scanners and bike locks, we're moving to cameras to count trucks, and read number plates. So it is quite interesting how the technology, why we started off in the public bike sharing schemes, then into port operations. And now we're bringing some of that technology into some software we're developing for a national railway. And so it's interesting how bikes and trucks and now trains are very similar sorts of problems and needs in terms of software.
Dusty Rhodes 38:43
And Jeffrey, when listening to Suzanne, talking about the medical side of things, and Veronica talking about movements in in cities, is there anything you'd like to ask either one of those?
Jeffrey Roe 38:52
Yeah, I'd be interested in asking, Suzanne, how does digitalization impacted your supply chain, and I'm sure these devices have 1000s of different parts, and how maybe data sheets and specifications and all that impacts your supply chain and into the device itself,
Suzanne O’Rourke 39:12
whenever that's which is quite interesting and potentially quite challenging is there was new requirements brought in both in the US and more recently in the in the EU about the unique device identifiers, which the barcode effectively on the label of every device. Now, we would be very used to managing things like barcodes and scanning things in and out and have an automated scanning systems. But the hospitals now have to basically scan these barcodes and that becomes part of your patient file. And you know, it used to be that these take physical stickers or labels off and they'd stick them onto your paper patient file, you know, whereas now we have this expectation that they're going to scan this information in and that that information is uploaded to a cloud so if there ever had to be some kind of a recall on devices that it's very easy for a regulator who would have access to that cloud data to be able to see where all the affected devices are. So I think there's still some challenges, you know, in terms of pulling that information in at the point of views. So where the device comes out of the box, and just, you know, making sure that if you open to devices, which sometimes happens if they come in different sizes, and you know, the clinician is not sure which one are they going to implant, so they could open the two devices, but then you know, making sure you only scan the one that you used, and so that that information gets uploaded. And then from manufacturers, we now have all these unique numbers for devices that all have to get uploaded into the into databases, which is really proving quite challenging, creating these huge data sheets, that thing get uploaded into a centralized database, and, you know, getting all the formatting, cracked, and all of that stuff. So it's a real area of learning, like, what the intent is, is that you'd have one connected supply chain. So regardless of the system, each manufacturer is using, ultimately, the device ends up in this database, you know, where basically the regulator is able to have visibility to where all devices have been used. So I think there's there's lots of opportunity there.
Dusty Rhodes 41:11
And on that note, we'll wrap up our podcast for today. My thanks to all of our guests Jeffrey row from teltik, head of engineering, Susanna rook managing director with Trisquel consulting and Veronica Marie T. Sissoko from Accenture, the duck. Of course, you'll find the website and LinkedIn details for all of them in our podcast show notes, which are in the description area for podcast player right this moment. And for more episodes of our engineers journal amplified podcast do click the Follow button on your player right now and remember, full Members get advance access to new episodes online at engineers ireland.io. Well, it's a next time for myself to students. Thank you for listening to our engineers general amplify podcast. Talk to you soon.