Technology accelerator, mLab Southern Africa, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are joining forces to stimulate more open innovation and development within the mHealth and Wellness sector.

mLab is a non-profit company focussing on skills development, product development and enterprise development within the technology innovation economy across the mobile, internet of things, data sciences and digital design verticals.

“The wearable medical device market, while relatively new, created over $3 billion in market value last year at a compound annual growth rate of 17.8% in the next four years,” said CEO at mLab Southern Africa, Derrick Kotze.

“This is just one of the opportunities in mHealth and wellness, which also includes data and analytical tools; virtual reality; robotics; apps; fashion and more. It offers local innovators and start-ups a gap to become market leaders in a new economic sector. Our vision with this partnership is to accelerate South Africa’s participation in this rare window of economic opportunity,” continued Kotze.

The partnership will include a number of mHealth and wellness programmes to help facilitate knowledge transfer, ideation, development and commercialisation by local experts, students, start-ups and larger industry partners.

This will include the launch of the first Demola, an international organisation that facilitates co-creation projects between university students and companies, locally and internationally.

The first Demola season will kick off in Cape Town in July 2016 and will have a dedicated mHealth and Wellness stream bringing together  local and international industry, SME’s and multidisciplinary students to develop solutions for real mHealth and Wellness challenges.

“Best practice from open innovation models, which have been applied in Living Labs in South Africa over the last eight years, indicated that the Demola open Innovation model is a unique contribution. Demola applies an exciting open innovation model where multidisciplinary teams co-create novel products which can stimulate the National System of Innovation in South Africa,” said Chief Researcher at CSIR Meraka Institute, Prof Marlien Herselman.

The Demola network stretches across 11 countries and 14 locations linking together over 50 Universities and 600 Company Partners.

“Wearable technology is expected to reach $ 31.27 billion by 2020 and South Africa is uniquely positioned to not only benefit from this disruptive technology, but also to contribute relevant and innovative local products,” said Principal Researcher at CSIR Meraka Institute, Dr Adele Botha.

“The mLab and the CSIR partnership to unlock the local mHealth and Wellness open innovation economy is premised on the assumption that innovation is only as strong as the ecosystem in which it is created,” continued Dr Botha.

“As such the collaboration with mLab, Higher Education, Industry and other stakeholders endeavour to stimulate a resilient South African mHealth and Wellness Innovation Ecosystem to ultimately benefit the people of South Africa,” concluded Dr Botha.

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