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MONITORING In media monitoring, as in medicine, a quick fix is not a cure by Simen Frostad, Bridge Technologies A man is rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack. The priorities of the medical team that treats him are clear: keep the patient alive, contain the damage to the heart as far as possible, stabilise the situation until the patient is out of danger. They work under the pressure of these immediate priorities, and with little or no information about the patient’s medical history to date. Assuming the patient survives the acute phase of treatment, a heart attack should be the occasion for a radical re-assessment of his health and way of living, with some very different priorities and the broad aim of preventing a re-occurrence. This re-assessment may involve a variety of personnel and their skill sets, and the analysis of a wide range of information about the patient, which may include his diet, exercise levels, occupational and personal stress factors, congenital dispositions, and so on. Imagine if the medical team could wind back the clock and play back through the patient’s life, as if he had been fitted since his childhood with sensors to record key indicators such as stress hormone and cholesterol levels, pulse rate and blood pressure. The doctors would be able to see these correlated against physical exercise routines, diet patterns, and events in the patient’s 58 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 107 NOVEMBER 2015 personal and professional life. The ability to see this data replayed would allow the medical team to observe and discuss with the patient any spikes, trends and patterns that could help pinpoint factors to manage for a healthier regime. Many of these patterns would be otherwise unknowable by the medical team, and might be have been ignored or unnoticed by the patient. It would be possible to show for example, a massive surge in stress occurring around the last Thursday of the month, four times a year; and the patient might as a result realise that presenting his division’s quarterly sales figures had been taking an unacceptable toll on his health. A sideways career move would then be a good idea as part of the preventive approach for the future. Unfortunately, such a playback-and-analysis facility doesn’t exist in medicine. But it does now exist in the world of digital media monitoring; and there is a pressing need for it because the conventional approach to monitoring puts engineering staff in a similar position to the emergency medical team. When an acute problem occurs, all attention is focused on fixing it as an urgent priority. Beyond tracking down the immediate point of failure, there is no time to consider and analyse what caused it, and what could be done to prevent further occurrences and improve the health of the ‘patient’ in the longer term.