As the winner of the Israel-China Innovation Award; nominated as winner of the 2017 top Marketing Executive; nominated as one of the finalists at the 2018 IoT/WT Innovation World Cup; and finally, chosen by your peers as one of the global IoT influencers for 2018, Gary Sagiv, thank you very much for taking part in this interview.
A personal question first if I may, according to the rumor mill, you always wear cufflinks, a very “old” tradition and have over 100 pairs. Why?
In fact, I have one hundred and twelve pairs of cufflinks that I have been collecting for over 20 years. When I first started out in the world of business, a wealthy and successful businessman gave me 2 tips; the first was “clothes maketh the man,” and the second was, even if one day I will be successful, people have to remember me by something. My choices were, first, my accent (there are not too many ex-South African’s in our circles), and the second my cufflinks. Before you ask, my favorite pairs are my R2D2 and 3CPO (yes, I am a fan)!
How would you define your position as Chief Commercial Officer and EVP?
Integrating traditional business models, taking ownership of the customer interface with our product portfolio, executing and appraising cross-functional decisions that will enable Health Watch to realize its overall business goals through market adoption, and bridging the gap between diverse global business ecosystems, defines my position as the Chief Commercial Officer CCO of the company. It also involves the responsibility for delivering strategic guidance and leadership in identifying the precise channels and commercial path of growth and profitability, alignment between departments as well as the management of the corporate strategic planning process and ensure strategies are translated to actionable initiatives. It centers on all the activities relating to sales, product development, commercial assets management, worldwide business development strategy, competitive intelligence strategies, marketing communications, product marketing, developing and management of key global partnerships, branding, PR and customer service to drive business growth and market share. It also demands that I take a comprehensive international analysis of market prospects and projections and manage the appraisal and prioritization of geographic, market verticals and clinical market segments. The commercial team also synchronizes all the product management activities and commercialization plans amongst our global partners while actively trying to broaden our product portfolio and reach our sales targets.
What is your business approach and why are you considered “unorthodox” by your peers?
My personal go-to-market approach differs from the traditional sales models of static sales and single vertical integration to one of concentrated and resolute business agility. Moreover, I oversee the company’s revenue growth and responsible for all commercial market adoption of the Master Caution® and the other products that we will be bringing to market in the coming years. I must have my “ears to the ground” in order, not only to listen but to comprehend market vacillations and fluctuations. In that I am further responsible for bringing novel and personalized wearable and “dressable” medical technology not only to the traditional medical setting but to the contemporary but heterogeneous citizenry of Generations X, Y, Z and the Millennials. I am a firm believer in the use of econometric models to test for market elasticity in the estimation of market demands to understand the multifarious trends of consumption of these new generational groups. The empirical analysis allows me to forecast future consumption based on co-integration analysis of econometrics giving Health Watch an advantage in the multifaceted and complex marketplace. Social media will play a very important role in the decision-making process of the millennials and we need to adapt to that.
I am highly millennial-focused and attentive to the changing lifestyle concept paradigm shift. In fact, many consider me a cultural chameleon as I can move silently between all the facets of modern medical device industry, from IoT to AI, from “smart” to “digital.” For me, it’s a very Zen experience as the Master Caution® is the platform of the future. I am a total futurist (even though I am “relatively” old compared to many of my peers), but nevertheless, I am comfortable to be a walking oxymoron – in that I have the privilege of learning from past mistakes while making new ones in the present. I just hope that I don’t make the same mistake twice!
In which markets do you and Health Watch play a role?
I manage the end-to-end customer interface which incorporates and coordinates the many different sales channels offered by the company. This duality includes both the traditional B2B (business-to-business) hospital, wellness and rehabilitation clinics model, as well as the B2C (business-to-consumer) model of social media, e-commerce, big data, cloud programing, Google, the Internet, data analytics, search engines and so much more. E-Commerce in all its manifestations is transforming the way we do business today and we need to leverage new technologies in order to retain our competitive edge. The largest growing area today, is outside both these spheres and is the IoT market, albeit it is in it’s very early stage.
Your product, the Master Caution®, what is so special about It and why the buzz?
Besides being the only FDA and CE approved wearable, hospital grade, IoT and AI-based 12 lead ECG medical device, it acts as a platform for future sensor innovations (that have not yet to be developed). In lay terms, one is wearing a shirt with textile ECG leads (no wires of any kind), that can be uploaded to any physician, hospital, loved one and one’s self at a click of a button. Why a wearable shirt, one can ask when there are many other straps, patches, and watches around today; the answer is simple, as I believe that people respond viscerally to a product that is daring yet familiar and will utilize it to save their lives. I had a Groundhog Day moment last month when Apple announced that they are coming out with “another” 1 lead ECG strap. So, now we have the 167th one lead ECG gadget on the market. This is not the future that I am looking for as there is no innovation nor message for the community. There is a plethora of so-called 1 and 3 lead ECG’s on the market today, but they are gadgets and not medical devices. One must not lose this fact in all the “information overload” environment that we live in! Is this the best approach, I don’t know, but my attitude is summed up as such by the acronym MAYA “most advanced yet acceptable” idea – I can not canvas everyone and take their opinions into account.
How has your experience assisted you in your present position?
With a rich history of successful product commercialization in all the major global markets and a successful launch strategist with a passion for early stage and innovative disruptive technology, my assignment is to bring to fruition our 2025 vision of a “no strings attached” lifestyle as an improvement of the quality of life for those with cardiovascular and other acute medical conditions. In our case, by leveraging our IP and technology as well as being the only FDA approved 12 lead ECG wearable device on the market, we are able to offer a myriad of opportunities and solutions to commercial partners where together we will be able to offer a wearable and “dressable” solution to the global community.
Your marketing prowess has impressed many in the field, especially your new company website and your oratory ability, explain, please.
I am definitely not a “run of the mill” person and I strive to be highly innovative and ground-breaking in my visions. Obviously, I am surrounded by similar people who understand my “madness” and try to translate it into something tangible. In many cases, they cannot as I have often pushed the envelope too far. Unfortunately, in the digital age, with so much information in the blogosphere, you must find ways to stand out and make sure your point gets across. That is what we did with the website (which has been a great success) and obviously, I use techniques that I learnt as a child in my speech, drama and oral communication classes, to make my lectures bearable to the listeners! Over the years, I have tried to be “unforgettable” and many of my adverts and publications are still talked about today – as I often try to be provocative. Being provocative is not a curse word, it means that the person is thinking “outside the box,” is innovative, is pioneering, is original in thought and is, in a positive sense, a revolutionary thought process.
The future of the digital and IoT medicine environment, how do you see it?
Talking to you today, and looking in the near future, the next three years, I see 4 major trends where IoT and digital healthcare will play roles:
Millennial Healthcare: With a “drive-through” mentality with a need for fast and efficient service, the Millennials will change the way that healthcare is done. There will be a need for fully digitized data and personalized health monitoring with an integration of health ‘signals’ back to clinicians in real time. They have a distrust to the physician-centric paradigm and will use their buying power to disrupt it by elevating the role of social media. Dr. Google will play a larger role and we will see the utilization of IBM Watson even more.
New modes of care: Aging at home as much as possible with self-care will be emphasized and here both IoT and the Master Caution® platform will play a vital role. This will lead to an improved patient access to care where technology that is easy to use but is part of a total medical ecosystem, will be of vital importance.
Cyber-Physicians and Coordinated patient home care plan: Direct interaction and communication across all mediums with clinical and care team using all 3 main screens based on a one pane of glass platform. This will lead to a more effective and efficient care management environment with less measuring but more personal interactions via media.
Unobtrusive healthcare 24/7/365: Remote Monitoring of a patient’s health state by utilizing IoT technology coupled with the Master Caution® platform and other digital and BT technologies.
In short, there is much excitement for the future and I am very lucky to be riding this wave.