LogMeIn's Sean Lorenz on 'prescribing' patients IoT

Sean Lorenz only left LogMeIn three weeks ago. In his previous role as Director of IoT Market Strategy for Xively at LogMeIn, he helped drive the Internet of Things but has now turned his attention to the connected healthcare space with his new startup Senter.

“Everybody always asks which industries do you see jumping in the IoT space? Honestly I think every industry will see market adoption. But one of the most interesting and compelling is the healthcare space,” Lorenz tells me over the phone from Boston.

“The main idea is that if someone gets re-admitted after 30 days of being in the hospital, the doctor doesn’t get paid. Because of that when patients go home, hospitals and nurses are looking for any new technology tool and better insight into how patients are doing in the home. So that’s why I think home healthcare is a massive opportunity for the Internet of Things.”

I ask Lorenz if he has any specific IoT products in the pipeline but he laughs and says as it’s still very much early days so he has a lot of thinking and planning to do yet. But he has two key areas that he wants to focus on: the elderly and babies.

“[The elderly] will be using Internet of Things devices in homes that will be installed as well as medically related products such as Fitbits,” says Lorenz. “I plan to do that for elderly care first then expand it into chronic illnesses. [It will also be used for] babies that come home with a lot of issues form neonatal intensive care units.”

“I am building a deep learning system that will take data from each of these products and deliver a seamless experience,” Lorenz adds.

Lorenz’s interest in deep learning stems from his early days of studying how different brain networks work. This was followed by a PhD in computational neuroscience at Boston University. But there is more to Lorenz as he admits that he’s “been all over the place” in his life. He worked in advertising, did a masters in philosophy and religion, then after his dissertation on the brain, he helped LogMeIn succeed in the IoT space.

What was his experience at LogMeIn like?

“LogMeIn’s CEO, Michael Simon had a vision before everyone saw it. He’s done a great job of building Xively. They are focusing more on the connectivity of things as well as managing business aspects of building an Internet of Things connected product.”

Then there is the question of all the hype surrounding the Internet of Things. And Lorenz couldn’t agree more.

“Oh God yes! There is a lot of hype. It hasn’t been adopted by consumers yet. The big promise will be when there are 20 to 30 connected products in the home [that will do things for you automatically]. [The real benefit will come] when we start combing data from different products and start making sense of that.”

But with so many IoT startups out there already, what will make Senter different?

“Right now there are several companies that are moving into the healthcare home space [but only looking at it] from one aspect. The problem is that it’s not holistic in the patient’s viewpoint. The future is putting together multiple IoT [platforms].”

Lorenz tells me that at home, patients will not only be prescribed drugs but all kinds of different technologies. This could be a set of IoT products for someone with a chronic heart issue, for instance. The IoT data will then be used by nurses as part of the care-plan, which will then be added to the patient’s electronic health record.

Lorenz is fully aware of the challenges that await him in the healthcare space. He sees the biggest barrier to entry to healthcare as all this “outdated technology” that is still being used and says there are a lot of moving parts that need to be solved “before we get into predictive analytics.”

For now, Lorenz says he is bootstrapping and once he gets things going, and Senter gains adopters, he will start seeking investors to present the product to. He believes there is still several months to go before that happens.

Before we finish our call, I ask Lorenz which technologies he is most excited about for the future.

“Nest is amazing and in the connected home space I think protocols like AllJoyn by the AllSeen Alliance as well as Google’s Thread are going to be extremely important.”

“But overall one of the biggest trends I am seeing and am excited about is the future of artificial intelligence. There’s a common thread I am noticing in marketing automation and business automation in which there is a lot of effort being put in cognitive computing and AI.”


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Ayesha Salim

Ayesha Salim is Staff Writer at IDG Connect

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