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Jul 15

Internet of Things (IoT) are you ready?

IOT 4 (1 of 1)

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) will be here sooner or later and will have a disruptive impact in Healthcare. In April 2015 Forbes reported that there will be a $117 billion market for Internet of Things in healthcare by 2020 as estimated by marketreasearch.com. Wikipedia define the IoT as the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items which are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.

 

3 Sensor Applications making a difference now

  • Fall Detection – Assistance for elderly or disabled people living independent.
  • Medical Fridges – Control of conditions inside freezers storing vaccines, medicines and organic elements.
  • Patients Surveillance – Monitoring of conditions of patients inside hospitals and in old people’s home.

3 things you will need to address to make the most of this opportunity

  • Big Data plan – Watson Internet of Things on Bluemix is probably the best example which creates a platform for collecting, storing and analysing device and sensor data.
  • Device management – this has moved from adding one device at a time to an electronic medical record, to being able to handle different platforms, different devices in an ever increasing number.
  • Fail fast mentality – collecting data for the sake of collecting data can become a drain on resources very quickly. You have to work out quickly if the data is usable and useful and if not fix it or move on to something different.

The most exciting part of the IoT for me is its application in developing countries. It has the potential to maximise the use of scarce resources over a greater geographical region. This of course means that sensors developed have to be easy to use; rugged for harsh environments; re-chargeable battery with a small hand crank; affordable; data storage in device; and can transmit data via bluetooth/cellular networks.

This can be seen in action, INSPIRE is a portable pediatric device using patented technology to automate the counting of respiratory rate, to assist in the early diagnosis of pneumonia in children in developing countries.

The big question for IoT is, is western society ready to move beyond the Orwellian definition of “big brother is watching”. Let´s hope we have smart politicians and responsible users to make it the disruptive solution that is needed in healthcare. That is my hope for the future.

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