Interview with Next IT’s Founder and CEO Fred Brown

Fred Brown

Fred Brown, Founder and CEO of Next IT, is next in line to answer our series of questions. A professional calf-roper turned serial entrepreneur, he’s sometimes referred to as “the Cowboy CEO.”

With Next IT, he’s focused on revolutionizing technology’s impact on business with vision for personalizing and humanizing user interactions with technology through intelligent virtual assistants.

When Brown is not working, he’s actively involved in organizations serving the northwest educational and scientific communities.

Here are his answers to our questions:

How would you pitch your company? What’s your elevator pitch?

Next IT is the leader in commercial deployments of human-emulated artificial intelligence to improve user experience and drive business growth. Next IT’s platform, Alme, is proven across multiple verticals, including healthcare, travel, insurance and finance.

What sets you apart from competitors?

Our two main differentiators are our technology and our experience. Next IT has a decade of hands-on experience and a refined services offering to serve enterprise customers. In fact, Next IT has more enterprise virtual assistants active than anyone else, and those assistants have been meeting the needs of Fortune 1000 businesses and IT departments for years.

Our latest product, Alme Health Coach, focuses specifically on chronic disease management. The Virtual Health Assistant (VHA) that we developed, called “Sara,” is purpose-built to help patients with chronic diseases like M.S. or diabetes to help track and manage their treatments, with an emphasis on increasing adherence and offering individualized treatment feedback between doctor and patient.

What’s your business model?

Our platform approach allows for full stack A.I. deployments across industries, powering expert domain models that are configured to achieve outcomes defined by the business being served, such as revenue generation and improved customer engagement.

For Healthcare, this means partnering with providers, insurers and even pharmaceutical companies to develop VHAs that address specific needs for their customers and patients.

Can you share some numbers? How many users do you have?

The Alme Platform currently answers over 9 million user questions globally per month for Next IT clients in financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, travel and hi-tech.

Here are a few examples of the influence we’ve had on the market:

  • Alme has helped one client scale their customer engagement from 100,000 customers per month to now engaging over 2 million every month.
  • For another client, Alme helps educate members in order save them an average of $167 in out-of-pocket costs.
  • And for another, Alme contains 80% of customer service needs within the technology and out of the call center.

Where do you see the company going from here?

Next IT has plans to develop many more enterprise assistants that can be deployed virtually anywhere, using our intelligent Alme platform, with functionality that ranges from providing general information to delivering highly personalized service.

Overall, healthcare has become a major focus for us because the market has a massive need for language understanding solutions that can meet the demands of medical environments. The opportunities to improve quality of care while reducing costs through technology have never been more plentiful.

We’ve just begun to scratch the surface in healthcare, and we expect to make a significant impact in the next few years.

Where do you see the mHealth industry going?

Assistive, self-service technologies like Virtual Health Assistants (VHAs) will shape the future of the mHealth industry and the future of patient care. VHA technology is revolutionizing the way care is delivered, actively improving patient adherence to treatment plans. VHAs are transforming healthcare by giving physicians and healthcare professionals the ability to scale to meet rising demand despite the current doctor shortage, improving the common visit to a primary care physician, and ultimately improving patient outcomes.

For patients, VHAs will be the mechanism to get the medical intelligence they need from their physician and provider whenever and wherever they are.

By designing and refining deep-domain virtual assistant technology to encourage behavior change, the mHealth industry has the opportunity to tackle many of the issues in healthcare today, from patient satisfaction to adherence to symptom reporting and more.

How long are we from seeing modern mHealth technologies going mainstream?

Technology has a critical role to play in improving and scaling health services, and culturally we’re ready for a more consistent relationship with artificial intelligence to augment episodic care from our doctors. In fact, 74% of patients prefer VHAs for the hospital discharge process.

Modern mHealth technologies like Virtual Health Assistants embedded in our smart devices can help us remember medications, answer questions about treatment or disease state, and personalize treatment to our needs. Furthermore, they can overcome patient embarrassment in asking certain questions or reluctance to give sensitive information about side effects, finances or sexual difficulties.