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Accenture is pleased to support the New Amsterdam City Swim in the fight against ALS

Accenture is proud to be a friend of the New Amsterdam City Swim along with title sponsor, Dove Men + Care and Partner, The ALS Association.


Accenture’s sponsorship of the New Amsterdam City Swim (NACS) in New York is a direct result of our Dutch colleagues’ successful involvement in the Amsterdam City Swim held in the Netherlands. The passion our Dutch colleagues’ feel toward funding research for ALS patients is understandably strong, they can put a familiar name and face to the disease.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes patients to lose motor control and eventually leads to complete paralysis. This debilitating disease renders patients unable to perform the simplest tasks without help, and eventually makes communication of their needs impossible.

Today, new wearable technologies have the potential to enable patients with diseases such as ALS to regain some control and independence and improve their quality of life. In collaboration with a best-in-class team of innovators, Accenture has worked with partners to explore how we might be able to help design a better future for ALS patients.



Using Wearable Technology to Transform the Quality of Life for ALS Patients

In August 2014 Accenture and Philips announced a proof of concept app to show how ALS patients could gain greater control of their lives through brain, voice and eye commands. The software connects Emotiv Insight Brainware to a wearable display that allows wearers to command Philips Hue lighting, SmartTV and Lifeline products.

How It Works
When a wearable display and the Emotiv Insight Brainware, which scans EEG brainwaves, are connected to a tablet, users can issue brain commands to control Philips products including Philips Lifeline Medical Alert Service, Philips SmartTV (with TP Vision), and Philips Hue personal wireless lighting. The tablet also allows control of these products using eye and voice commands. In both cases, a person could communicate preconfigured messages, request medical assistance, and control TVs and lights. Accenture and Philips developed the software that enables the integration and interaction between these multiple technologies.

The proof of concept application demonstrates how existing technology could be used to transform the quality of life for ALS patients. When patients lose muscle control and eye tracking ability, they can still potentially operate the Philips suite of connected products in their home environment through brain commands. The Emotiv technology uses sensors to tune in to electric signals produced by the wearer’s brain to detect, in real-time, their thoughts, feelings and expressions. The wearable display provides visual feedback that allows the wearer to navigate through the application menu.

The Accenture Technology Labs in San Jose, California collaborated with the Philips Digital Accelerator Lab in the Netherlands to create the software to interact with the Emotiv Insight Brainware and the wearable display. Fjord, a design consultancy owned by Accenture Interactive, designed the display’s user interface.

“Empowering people with Lou Gehrig’s disease to live fuller lives is at the heart of the ALS Association’s mission,” said Ineke Zaal, spokesperson for Stichting ALS in The Netherlands. “We are tremendously excited about the potential for this proof of concept to give people with ALS greater independence and quality of life as we continue to actively search for a cure.”

For more information on the proof of concept application for controlling Philips connected technologies with brain commands, visit

“This proof of concept shows the potential of wearable technology in a powerful new way —helping people with serious diseases and mobility issues take back some control of their lives through digital innovation”

Chief Technology Officer, Accenture

Garmt is experiencing ALS – so you don’t have to!

If the world is to ever find a cure for ALS, then maybe it began the day Amsterdam’s Garmt van Soest learned he had the neurodegenerative disease. Garmt, an enterprise architect and application strategy senior manager with Accenture, was told in August 2013 he had ALS. “It was a pretty bad diagnosis to get, but I wasn’t going to take it lying down,” Garmt said. While ALS may have slowed Garmt’s speech and motor functions, it has had the opposite effect on his mind, mission and ability to rally friends, colleagues and Accenture leadership toward a cure for ALS. In fact, his work toward a cure is now his work for Accenture.

Garmt’s book “ALS DAN TOCH” (“EVEN WITH ALS”), published in September 2015, chronicles his personal fight against the disease in a humorous and inspiring collection of observations and blog posts.  The book, originally available only in Danish is now available in English, as an exclusive gift for the New Amsterdam City Swim participants.

Follow Garmt van Soest’s Blog, “Garmt is experiencing ALS – so you don’t have to!”

Accenture Colleagues Join Garmt van Soest in Finding and Funding a Cure for ALS
It wasn’t long before Garmt made an impactful decision on how he would combat the fatal disease. As a matter of course, taking action in cooperation with his friends and colleagues in the Netherlands was a manifestation of Accenture on its best day.

Considering the reputation for scope and complexity of client engagements Accenture takes on, finding a solution to accelerate a cure for ALS seemed achievable to Garmt. He and Netherlands leadership quickly shifted into project mode. This wasn’t just Garmt’s disease to battle alone; they were all thinking big in their quest for a cure.

Garmt and his colleagues, including two other ALS patients with backgrounds in entrepreneurship and two biotechnology industry experts, targeted the global investment/venture capital community to fund drug development that can generate up to US$15 billion in returns. They collaborated on a strategy for an ALS investment fund, built a business case and operating model and wrote their “elevator” pitch.

Fighting ALS on Multiple Fronts
As a result of his own ALS diagnosis, Garmt has added himself to the Project MinE initiative. Project MinE is studying the cause of ALS at the genetic level by mapping and analyzing the entire DNA structure of 15,000 ALS patients—the largest genetic research project in the world today. Project MinE is an initiative of two Dutch ALS patients in collaboration with the Dutch ALS center and ALS foundation.

On another front, Accenture volunteers are working with world renowned ALS researcher Dr. Leonard van den Berg on an initiative to reduce the duration of clinical trials and thereby get ALS medicine faster to market by connecting patients, ALS centers and biotechnology and research firms. 

Responding to Garmt’s call for help, Ronald Krabben, client technology executive – Technology, took on the role of leading development of a cloud-based digital platform and marketing initiative, connecting all the dots in terms of accelerating ALS research, funding and mobilization toward finding a cure. The project launched with the help of US$106,000 in seed money from Accenture.

“My official Accenture role is now spending the rest of my life kicking ALS in the b****, Accenture is helping me any way they can. It’s really quite impressive and extraordinary.”

Author, “Even with ALS”


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About ALS
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease is a very serious and debilitating neurodegenerative disease affecting the nerves and muscles. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time.

Join The Fight
For more information on this disease please visit the ALS Association and to help support the fight against this disease donate to the New Amsterdam City Swim (NACS) all NACS donations go 100% to Project MinE, a large-scale research initiative devoted to finding the genetic cause of ALS.

Accenture Would Like to Thank Our Swimmers and Volunteers
Alexander Aboud
Alexandra Solomon
Alice Thompson
Anissa Senouci-Bereksi
Christopher Noury
Dave Gerson
Harika Thambireddy
Indra Persad
Jessica Ahmed
Joe Weaver
Kevin Moriarty
Kevin Rettig
Larry Thomas
Lee Saffer
Maria Vissas
Mark Laczynski
Marlen Pescador
Mette Nolte
Muthamizh Selvan
Nimitt Desai
Rayna Palsule
Rebecca Cooper
Sandra Nelson
Snigdho K. Ray
Stacey Skole
Tyson Sow
Veena Sathya