|By PR Newswire||
|January 27, 2014 12:55 PM EST||
LONDON, Jan. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The current high street model for optometry is bowing under pressure, with more and more practices closing down every year. The emphasis on sales rather than eye care is no good for anyone - opticians are being squeezed out by a business model that doesn't work, and consumers are being sold a false perception of the value of proper eye examinations.
Opticians have become increasingly sales-driven - trying to attract customers with discounts, promotions and low prices. The majority of staff are unqualified sales assistants, and performance is measured by conversion rates. Clinical care has been devalued thanks to free eye test campaigns, and professionals are being pressured into spending shorter and shorter chair time with their patients.
In a bid to survive, many opticians are becoming more clinically specialised - studying for additional qualifications and/or investing in expensive technology in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors. But the cost of all this has to be met somehow, for example by charging more for examinations - and that is counter-intuitive to the current high street model.
Another threat to opticians is the availability of automated eye-testing technology. Steffan Rygaard, Founder and Managing Director of Visiondirect.co.uk, says: "Self-testing equipment and software are continuously being developed. An eye test requires both objective and subjective results, and both are not far off being completed by automation. You can download software to your mobile device and generate a prescription which is good enough to know your reading correction. Automated testing kiosks and booths are already in existence. High street opticians could end up as glorified salespeople."
But there is a major concern about this technology. Many eye diseases and other conditions can only be detected by a qualified optician through a comprehensive eye examination, carrying out vital tests that simply cannot be replicated by a machine. Opticians play a crucial role in primary care and the public depend on them to detect conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macula degeneration. In an increasingly ageing population, these are all becoming more widespread.
In the context of providing the essential healthcare function of early detection, diagnosis, treatment and management, it's clear that compromising the value of opticians is not in the public's best interests. But if opticians are to uphold their profession of looking after the health of people's eyes, then the business model is going to have to change. At the moment it's just not viable; opticians and the institutions representing them have mixed interests.
Consumer power plays a huge part in the current business model. Rygaard says: "The power of the consumer is far stronger than any governing force in the UK marketplace. Margins will be eroded from all angles. Contact lenses, and in fact all eye wear, will become cheaper and cheaper. The consumer wants to pay the lowest price and search engines, comparison sites and forums will catalyse this forward. Competition will mean that companies will continuously try to buy products from the lowest sources."
But if this is allowed to continue, the situation will become completely unsustainable. Could separating the clinical and commercial aspects of optometry be the answer? This would allow high standards of patient care to continue in a clinical setting - off the high street - and retailers to compete separately on prices and sales.
Rygaard certainly believes that there is a need for change: "I don't see how the future high street optician can compete without majorly evolving. The optician needs to be much more specialised. The future means that testing and screening becomes clinical and less high street. The product will be a fight for margins and slimming down your cost base. On a time scale, I predict it is likely to change within 10 years."
By separating the clinical and retail practices, the future of optometry could be much brighter for everyone. Rygaard says: "I believe the opticians and their services should to be protected to the extent that they are valued by the public, and profitable enough as standalone service providers without the need for retail/commercial sales to enter the equation. This is a win/win situation for the public and the professionals."
Written by Parag Patel for Visiondirect.co.uk
Media Contact: Gareth Woods, Visiondirect.co.uk, 0044-(0)8447454545, [email protected]
News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Nov. 25, 2015 05:45 AM EST Reads: 375
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessi...
Nov. 25, 2015 05:45 AM EST Reads: 287
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 674
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 25, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 283
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
Nov. 25, 2015 12:30 AM EST Reads: 416
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
Nov. 25, 2015 12:30 AM EST Reads: 410
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
Nov. 25, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 159
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNu...
Nov. 24, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 259
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 24, 2015 08:00 PM EST Reads: 342
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Nov. 24, 2015 07:30 PM EST Reads: 345
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Nov. 24, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 319
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Nov. 24, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 369
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company Logz.io. In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
Nov. 24, 2015 03:45 PM EST
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Nov. 24, 2015 03:30 PM EST Reads: 461
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Nov. 24, 2015 03:30 PM EST Reads: 144