Frost & Sullivan: End-User Needs Will Drive the New Industrial Revolution

LONDON, July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Constantly evolving customer needs are transforming the manufacturing processes globally. This is driving a new industrial revolution commonly referred to an Industrie 4.0 (I4.0).

Industrie 4.0 is a platform that enables the unification of information amongst participants in the entire value chain — from product inception to design, manufacturing, services and even refurbishment. The end result will be a grand system in which all processes are completely integrated and will exchange information in real time. Frost & Sullivan has been analysing Industrie 4.0 and strongly believes that there is an urgent need to understand the end-user perception to benefit from the changing business landscape.

“Industrie 4.0 is fully set to answer the challenges lying ahead. An enormous transformation in the industrial landscape can be foreseen. Companies that fail to pre-empt this transformation will be left behind. Their products or solutions may become obsolete and eventually disappear”, explains Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation & Process Control Practice Director Muthukumar Viswanathan.

The functional pillars of Industrie 4.0 are Big Data, Internet of Things, Internet of Services and Integrated Industries. Frost & Sullivan has paraphrased these four pillars into three main aspects: Technology, Collaboration & Processes. A key advantage of applying this new concept for customers will be the possibility of having customizable products made at affordable costs.

“In order to remain profitable in the current competitive landscape, companies and value-chain participants should adapt to the changes by applying radical transformations both in business and technological aspects. Suppliers will need to reinvent their process operations and other capabilities in order to sustain in the rapidly evolving market”, explains Mr Viswanathan. “There will be new and unconventional companies with radically new business models making a foray into the industrial space. Traditional industry boundaries are rapidly blurring owing to the nature of applications that may sprout up during the course of Industrie 4.0”.

Industrial vendors are currently trying to imbibe the idea of Industrie 4.0 within their product framework, and aspire to reposition their existing solutions in line with this new industrial paradigm.

Frost & Sullivan is currently planning to fill the missing end-user link in the Industrie 4.0 story through dedicated end-user based focus groups. With this initiative, Frost & Sullivan aims to understand end-user perspectives on Industrie 4.0 and emerge with actionable intelligence for all suppliers in the industrial value-chain.

Frost & Sullivan is producing cutting-edge research on this subject. For additional information, please contact Julia Nikishkina, Corporate Communications, julia.nikishkina@frost.com.

Two UL Battery Safety Standards Are now FDA Recognized Consensus Standards for Medical Devices

NORTHBROOK, Ill., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global safety science leader, has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized two UL battery safety standards as consensus standards for medical devices incorporating lithium or nickel-based batteries. The two standards are UL 2054 – Standard for Household and Commercial Batteries, and UL 1642 – Standard for Lithium Batteries (Cells).

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140721/129100

Consensus standards are standards recognized by the FDA for use in evaluating medical devices before they are approved for market entry. The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) believes that conformance with recognized consensus standards can support a reasonable assurance of safety and/or effectiveness for many applicable aspects of medical devices. In the case of medical devices using batteries, manufacturers can now use the proof of compliance with UL 2054 and UL 1642 as evidence of a device’s safety and effectiveness.

According to Ibrahim Jilani, Battery Manager for UL’s Consumer Technology Division, consensus standards are also a means to streamline the premarket review process. “The use of these recognized standards will not only help medical device manufacturers reduce regulatory obstacles to enter the U.S. and international markets but also help them satisfy FDA premarket review requirements.”

Although certification is voluntary, UL anticipates this announcement will likely be a sizeable regulatory driver going forward whereby medical device manufacturers will look to have UL 2054 Compliant Nickel Cell Type(s), UL 1642 Compliant Lithium Cell Type(s), and/or UL 2054 Compliant Battery Pack(s).

“UL has more than 30 years of experience in battery standard development, safety and performance testing, fostering innovation in the industry and boosting confidence in battery quality,” said Jilani. “We believe both medical device manufacturers and consumers will benefit from products evaluated to UL’s battery safety standards in the United States and markets worldwide.”

For more information about UL’s battery testing & certification, visit http://www.ul.com/batt  and/or http://www.ul.com/largebatt for large format batteries.

About UL
UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for 120 years. Its more than 10,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. We partner with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visit http://www.UL.com .

CONTACT: Richard Hammer
Marketing Manager
UL LLC
T: +1-510-771-1000 ext. 53125

$650 million commitment to Stanley Center at Broad Institute aims to galvanize mental illness research

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Broad Institute today announced an unprecedented commitment of $650 million from philanthropist Ted Stanley aimed at galvanizing scientific research on psychiatric disorders and bringing new treatments based on molecular understanding to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

The Stanley commitment – the largest ever in psychiatric research and among the largest for scientific research in general – will support research by a collaborative network of researchers within the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute, a biomedical research institution that brings together faculty from MIT, Harvard University, the Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and collaborators worldwide.

Stanley’s commitment to support the work of the Broad Institute will consist of annual gifts during his lifetime followed by a bequest, with a total current value exceeding $650 million. Taking prior gifts into account, Stanley’s philanthropy in support of the Broad Institute’s work totals more than $825 million.

The biological causes of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have mystified scientists for decades; in the last five years, however, understanding has accelerated dramatically, driven by advances in human genomics. Because researchers cannot study the biochemistry of the living human brain, the genes that predispose people to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder represent the best way to gain molecular insights into these disorders. The discovery of specific genes associated with these disorders provides significant clues to their biological basis and points to possible molecular targets for novel therapies.

Since 2004, Ted Stanley and his late wife, Vada Stanley, have been instrumental to the progress made thus far in identifying the genetic risk factors for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and the initiation of therapeutic efforts based on those discoveries. Their gifts made possible the establishment of the Stanley Center at the Broad Institute in 2007 and helped support an international collaboration that today involves scientists in 25 countries. Stanley’s new commitment is the culmination of a 25-year personal mission to discover the biology of psychiatric disorders and lay the groundwork for effective therapies.

“Human genomics has begun to reveal the causes of these disorders. We still have a long way to go, but for the first time we can point to specific genes and biological processes. It’s now time to step on the gas pedal,” Stanley said. “I am devoting my personal wealth to this goal. But it will take all of us – philanthropists, government funding agencies, scientists, patients, and families – working together to achieve it.”

“This is a pivotal moment,” said Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “We are finally beginning to gain the deep knowledge about these disorders that we have sought for decades.”

Years of frustration give way to progress

Mental illness exacts an enormous human toll. The leading cause of disability in the United States, it affects millions and most often strikes patients while they are young and otherwise healthy. Biomedical researchers have struggled for years to understand the molecular causes of serious ailments such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Until five years ago, there was no clear scientific evidence around even a single gene that contributes to causing either disorder.

Research to develop new treatments has also stalled. No fundamentally new drugs have been introduced since the 1950s. All but a handful of pharmaceutical companies have abandoned the pursuit of new treatments because the basic science has seemed intractable.

Yet in the past few years, scientists have begun to find genes that shape the risk of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other illnesses – thanks in large part to Stanley’s support. Researchers at the Broad Institute have harnessed DNA mapping and sequencing technology, supported collaborative networks of researchers from more than 60 institutions in 25 countries, and assembled the world’s largest collection of DNA samples in psychiatric research — currently at over 175,000 samples — including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and healthy control samples. Analysis of 80,000 of these samples so far by Broad researchers and collaborators has linked more than 100 genomic regions to schizophrenia and begun to identify specific gene mutations and the critical underlying biological processes, such as an impaired ability of neurons to communicate with each other. Significant efforts are ramping up in bipolar disorder, autism, and other conditions.

“We are going to illuminate the biology behind these conditions,” said Eric Lander, founding director and president of the Broad Institute. “If we know the biological causes, we can begin to dispel the stigma around people battling mental illness, and rigorously pursue better treatments that will transform patients’ lives.”

[For more information, see backgrounder on Genomics: Reinvigorating the field of psychiatric research]

Three lives converge on a shared scientific mission

This scientific success – and the historic commitment of funding announced today – stems, in large part, from the devotion of three extraordinary people whose lives converged at the Broad Institute.

Stanley’s passion for the cause began decades ago when his son, Jonathan, was stricken with severe bipolar disorder while in college. The first few years were difficult, but Jonathan overcame his illness with the help of lithium, a landmark drug first used to treat patients with mental illness in 1949. Now a successful attorney, Jonathan is also a founding board member of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reforming laws that affect persons with a mental illness, and an advocate for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Although lithium helped give Jonathan a normal life, other patients who suffer from mental illness have not been as fortunate. Hoping to help these patients, Ted and Vada Stanley went on to found the Stanley Medical Research Institute in 1989, aimed at finding treatments that would be as effective for others as lithium has been for their son.

When Edward Scolnick met the Stanleys, he had had a stellar career, first in cancer research in the 1970s and then as one of the most respected scientists in the pharmaceutical industry. As president of Merck Research Laboratories, Scolnick led the development of the first drugs to effectively combat HIV; the first drugs to effectively treat high cholesterol, statins; the first vaccine against cervical cancer; and many other breakthroughs. Instead of retiring, Scolnick took on a new challenge – he moved to the Broad Institute to tackle mental illness because he had a deep personal interest in the field. Early in his career, Scolnick had helped launch a revolution in cancer research based on the discovery of the first cancer genes. He wanted to set psychiatric research on the same path.

Scolnick vividly remembers the moment he and the Stanleys joined forces. He told them, “If you want to get at the molecular pathogenesis of these disorders, you’ve got to crack the genetics. That’s what has held this field back for so long.”

The Stanleys had given many small grants to support psychiatric research through their foundation, but Scolnick argued for the importance of critical mass – and asked them to contribute $10 million to launch a program at the Broad Institute. Ted Stanley agreed, and after clear initial progress called Scolnick back with a new proposal: “Let’s do something bigger. How about we give you $100 million over ten years?” Thus, the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad was launched in 2007, with Scolnick as its founding director.

The third player was Steven Hyman, who at the time was provost at Harvard University. Before taking that post, Hyman, a psychiatrist, had served as head of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) from 1996 to 2001. (Scolnick served as a member of Hyman’s National Advisory Mental Health Council from 1998 to 2002, and Lander served as a member of the NIMH’s Genetics Workgroup, and the three had developed a mutual respect and a shared vision for what was needed in the field.) As director, Hyman led the NIMH to invest in both neuroscience and genetics, and, along with Scolnick and Lander, supported the collection of DNA samples from patients, with the hope that the samples could someday be analyzed to find disease genes. But progress was slow, partly because the Human Genome Project had not yet been completed. When Hyman left the NIMH in 2001 to become provost of Harvard University, he had almost completely lost hope that true progress could be made in his lifetime in elucidating the mechanisms of psychiatric illness.

Hyman helped launch the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in 2004 and, over time, became encouraged by the Broad’s progress in the molecular understanding of psychiatric disorders. After nine years as Harvard Provost, he joined the Broad and then became the director of the Stanley Center in 2012.

“Ten years ago, finding the biological causes of psychiatric disorders was like trying to climb a wall with no footholds,” said Hyman. “But in the last few years, we’ve turned this featureless landscape into something we can exploit. If this is a wall, we’ve put toeholds into it. Now, we have to start climbing.”

[For more information, see backgrounder on Shared Vision: Three lives converge to revitalize mental health research]

A unique and powerful research model

The Stanley Center’s rapid progress was possible only because of the unique nature of the Broad Institute, its home institution. The Broad Institute grew from an MIT-based flagship center for the Human Genome Project, and generated a third of the DNA sequence data for that project – the single largest contribution to the effort. Formally founded in 2004 to fulfill the promise of the Human Genome Project by facilitating collaborative biomedical research across disciplines and institutions, it brings together faculty from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the five major Harvard-affiliated hospitals: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Celebrating its tenth anniversary in July, the Broad Institute is today home to a community of more than 2,000 members, including physicians, biologists, chemists, computer scientists, engineers, staff, and representatives of many other disciplines. Together, the Broad Institute community uses industrial-strength technological capabilities to take on challenges too great for any single lab or institution to tackle.

Broad investigators have led international consortia that have found thousands of genetic variants responsible for common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and Crohn’s disease – and translated that knowledge into descriptions of the underlying biological processes, a critical step in the development of rationally designed drugs. They have discovered several hundred genes that are mutated in cancer and applied this knowledge to begin to invent new, targeted forms of therapy. Broad scientists have also invented powerful new tools that allow researchers to precisely manipulate the genome and measure the millions of complex chemical interactions within cells. In the spirit of the Human Genome Project, the Broad makes its genomic data freely available to researchers around the world.

The future of psychiatric research

The Stanley Center engages a community of more than 150 scientists at the Broad Institute and its partner institutions. Over the coming years, the center plans to draw on Stanley’s tremendous generosity to accomplish at least four major goals:

(i) Complete the list of all genes that play roles in severe psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and others. To create a comprehensive catalog of the genetic variation that underlies mental illness, the researchers plan to expand their international network and draw in many more collaborators with new insights and capabilities. They also plan to expand their sample collection efforts dramatically – especially among understudied populations, such as those in African nations – to reveal the many as-yet-undiscovered mutations relevant to disease. As a first step, they plan to carry out comprehensive analysis of all genes that specify the protein building blocks of cells from 100,000 samples in the next two years.

(ii) Reveal the biological pathways in which these genes act. To do so, they will push technological boundaries, working with new techniques that allow them to manipulate and comprehensively measure the dynamic activity of genes in living cells, including lab-grown neurons produced by new stem-cell technologies. Their ultimate, ambitious goal: to determine where, when, and how these genes act in human brain cells, and how in psychiatric patients those processes may go awry.

(iii) Develop cellular and animal models that faithfully mimic human disorders. In contrast to researchers studying cancer or diabetes, researchers studying psychiatric disorders have been unable to identify animal models that correctly capture important biological aspects of the disorders and correctly predict which therapies will be effective in humans. Now, with growing knowledge of the genes underlying psychiatric disorders, Broad researchers plan to create cellular models in the laboratory and animal models that more faithfully match both the genetic variation and the biochemical processes seen in human patients. They plan to pioneer cutting-edge techniques such as genome editing, which allows them to precisely introduce any mutations they choose.

(iv) Develop chemicals to modulate biological pathways to serve as drug leads. The researchers plan to build on the existing therapeutic efforts within the Stanley Center and draw on the Broad’s Therapeutics Platform – a technological powerhouse with the capacity to create and screen hundreds of thousands of compounds – to identify molecules that can powerfully and precisely influence specific biological pathways relevant to psychiatric disorders. They then plan to comprehensively investigate those chemicals’ effects to determine which of them might serve as promising leads for drugs that could be safely and effectively used in humans.

“We’re still at the beginning of the curve of translating the emerging genetics into actionable biology, but it’s happening much faster than I thought it would,” said Scolnick. “I’d be bold enough to say that in five years, all the drug companies that got out of psychiatric research will be getting back in. The coming decades of psychiatric research will yield new science and a needed parallel effort to increase resources for services that can help patients and their families.”

On the Cusp of Gender Parity – But Leaking Pipeline Means Hong Kong Women Still Under-Represented at Senior Levels

HONG KONG, July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Hong Kong is seeing an encouraging improvement in gender parity across the total workforce and at junior and middle levels, but women are still under-represented in senior positions, according to the study ‘Gender Diversity Benchmark for Asia 2014′ (GDBA 2014) released today. The lead sponsor of the report is Bank of America Merrill Lynch, as part of its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.

Download the media briefing and the launch event photos: http://www.communitybusiness.org/events/2014/GDBA2014/GDBA2014_Launch.htm

The study benchmarks the gender diversity of more than 30 multinational companies in six markets across Asia, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore. It is conducted by Community Business, a leading not-for-profit organisation specialising in corporate responsibility and a thought leader on diversity and inclusion in Asia.

The report reveals that when it comes to the average representation of women in the total workforce and at junior levels, companies in Hong Kong are achieving or exceeding gender parity. The average representation of women in the total workforce in Hong Kong is 50.9%, ranking third in Asia. This compares with 44.3% when the survey was last conducted in 2011. At junior levels the average representation of women is 57.5%, and despite ranking fifth across the region at this level, 83.3% of companies in Hong Kong have 50% or more women at this level. At middle levels too, the average percentage of women continues to be reasonably strong at 45.7%, above the regional average at this level of 39.0%. 

However, women locally continue to face barriers to senior positions with the representation of women in senior management levels at only 29.4%. While higher than the regional average of 24.3%, the biggest leak in the pipeline remains between middle to senior level positions, with an average 35.8% drop in the representation of women between these levels. This puts the city third in Asia, behind Mainland China (35.6%) and Malaysia (34.0%) which rank first and second respectively, but ahead of Singapore in fourth place (23.7%).

Findings show that across the region companies have taken commendable steps to create an enabling environment for women and policies such as flexible working practices are well established in all markets.  This is true in Hong Kong too, although Hong Kong performs below the regional average on a number of the indicators, including maternity leave (87.1 days versus regional average of 101.1 days) and paternity leave (5.0 days versus a regional average of 5.2 days).

The senior executives interviewed and featured in the study generally acknowledged that, based on the findings of this GDBA 2014, the representation of women in senior positions remains low in Asia.  However, for the most part they were optimistic about the future, pointing to the growing recognition of the link between increased gender diversity and enhanced business performance. They highlighted the importance of driving cultural change in organisations from the top, and shared the key role that they are playing — leading by example and proactively engaging men and women on this issue.

Commenting on the findings, Fern Ngai, CEO of Community Business said: “Overall we are pleased to see some signs of real progress in this latest study. Of course, much more needs to be done and performance varies across the region. Here in Hong Kong as in other markets, women continue to be under-represented at senior levels in organisations and we need to continue to address this.  However, overall these gradually improving numbers show that moving the needle and achieving greater gender balance, if not gender parity at all levels, is indeed an achievable goal in Hong Kong.”

“A diverse workforce is fundamental to the success of our business, providing a broader range of experience and perspective from the best talent available” says Bernhard Steiner, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific Chief Risk Officer, who chairs the company’s regional diversity and inclusion council. “This report shows encouraging progress in junior and middle management in Hong Kong and Asia. Ensuring that progress is mirrored in senior leadership roles is not just a women’s issue, but I believe should be a leadership priority. We are proud of the progress made to date within our organisation and this report further reinforces our sustained commitment to promote gender diversity across the region.”

Regional Highlights:

  • Encouraging signs of progress: Comparing performance with the 2009 and 2011 studies, there is a general upward trend in all markets with the most noticeable improvements taking place in Mainland China and Malaysia.
  • Strong representation at junior and middle levels: In all markets except India, the average representation of women at junior levels exceeds 50%, whilst in Mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, it exceeds 40% at middle levels.
  • Gender parity — an achievable goal: A significant number of companies are now achieving gender parity at certain levels in their organisations — showing that this is an increasingly achievable goal. Over half of companies in Mainland China (65.5%) and Malaysia (52.9%) have achieved or exceeded gender parity at middle levels, whilst over a third (35.3%) of companies in Malaysia have done the same at senior levels.
  • Widening gap in performance:  However, the progression is more pronounced in certain markets than others, widening the gap between the best and worst performing countries in the region. Mainland China (35.6%) and Malaysia (34.0%) show the most marked improvement — particularly in terms of the representation of women at senior levels, whilst Japan (11.0%) and India (10.6%) show nominal change and are barely achieving double digit figures at this level.
  • Regional averages remain low: Despite signs of improvement in certain markets, the overall representation of women at middle and senior levels remains low across the six markets. The regional average at middle levels is 39.0% and this falls to just 24.3% at senior levels.
  • Leaking pipeline an on-going challenge in all markets in Asia: Companies continue to experience a significant loss of women from one level to the next. The average rate of decrease across the region is 30.7% from junior to middle levels and 37.8% from middle to senior levels. The leaking pipeline is a particular issue in India from junior to middle levels (-45.9%) and in Japan from middle to senior levels (-61.3%).
  • Demonstrated commitment to creating enabling environments: Companies have taken commendable steps to create an enabling environment for their women. In particular, maternity leave, paternity leave and flexible work arrangements are offered by virtually all companies in all markets, whilst women’s networks, on-ramping support and professional development programmes are also widely embraced by companies.
  • Existence of policies and programmes does not necessarily correlate to strong performance: More companies in Japan and India offer support to working parents and professional development programmes for women than in the other markets — and yet the average representation of women at middle and senior levels in these markets are the lowest. Similarly, companies in Malaysia offer the shortest maternity leave and the least support to women in the form of women’s networks, on-ramping support and professional development – yet Malaysia performs well on all data points.

The research is also funded by Secondary Sponsors Brown-Forman and Google.   

 “We were pleased to have had an opportunity to be a Secondary Sponsor of this Gender Diversity Benchmark for Asia 2014 by Community Business. Women are key to the growth and sustainability for our business as well as the countries in which our business operates. That means many of our mental models related to women in the workplace must not only change but it is essential that men play a role in that process.” said Ralph de Charbert, Chief Diversity Officer at Brown-Forman.

“This report reminds us that, while the past few years have resulted in positive change for the representation of women at all levels, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Equipped with this data, we can better understand the extent of the challenges for gender diversity in Asia, track progress over time, and be a bigger part of the solution.” said Keerthana Mohan, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Google.

The table below shows the average representation of women (%) at different levels — on a regional basis as well as the best and worst performing geographies:

Total Workforce %
& ranking

Junior Levels %
& ranking

Middle Levels %
& ranking

Senior Levels %
& ranking

REGIONAL AVERAGE

47.5%

56.3%

39.0%

24.3%

Mainland China

56.7 (2)

64.9 (1)

49.6 (2)

35.6 (1)

Hong Kong

50.9 (3)

57.5 (5)

45.7 (3)

29.4 (3)

India

26.6 (6)

30.3 (6)

16.4 (6)

10.6 (6)

Japan

42.6 (5)

59.2 (3)

28.4 (5)

11.0 (5)

Malaysia

58.1 (1)

63.0 (2)

50.3 (1)

34.0 (2)

Singapore

48.2 (4)

58.5 (4)

40.6 (4)

23.7 (4)

Dedicated to progressing discussion on gender issues and boarder topics of diversity & inclusion (D&I) in the workplace, Community Business will hold its bi-annual regional Diversity & Inclusion in Asia Conference on 11 & 12 November 2014 in Hong Kong. This Conference, since its debut in 2005, has become the primary forum for discussion on D&I issues as they relate to Asia — with an established reputation for bringing together the most inspirational and informed speakers on the subject and pushing the boundaries of discussion. For the first time, Community Business offers a programme of sessions and activities on Day 1 of the Conference around the gender topics. This Day 1 programme is designed specifically for those looking to leverage the competitive advantage that female talent brings to leadership and organisational success in Asia. For more information, http://programme.communitybusiness.org/diasiaconf2014/.