How IoT has the Potential to Improve Healthcare

IoT medical devicesThe Internet of Things has applications that range all the way from automated manufacturing, to controlling the temperature of residential air conditioners. One particular area where IoT is hugely beneficial, is in the medical equipment industry.With IoT devices expected to reach 25 billion by 2020, it’s almost guaranteed that a large number of these sensors will be embedded in medical equipment. What benefits are connected sensors bringing to the medical industry, and are there still concerns to be addressed?

How IoT is Improving Healthcare

According to Digi-Key Electronics, a worldwide distributor of key IoT sensors and technologies, the benefits can be found in a number of areas.

  • Dynamically collecting patient data from remote sensors can aid in preventative care by detecting early warning signs of health problems.
  • These same sensors could be used in long term care situations, and especially in post-operative care.
  • The type of signals that sensors can detect are almost endless. Blood oxygen levels, pulse, insulin levels, blood pressure, temperature, and even chemical balances are just a few examples.
  • IoT medication pumps are effective at adequately dosing medications, without the risks of overdose or missed doses that are present when medications are administered manually.
  • With properly designed sensors and monitoring tools, patient input can be kept to a minimum. This means that there is less room for error, but also little learning required by the patient. This offers convenience which is especially beneficial for the elderly and disabled.

(http://www.digikey.com/en/articles/techzone/2014/jul/the-role-of-sensors-in-iot-medical-and-healthcare-applications)

Challenges for IoT Medical Device Manufacturers

Although there are millions of IoT medical devices in use today, there are numerous opportunities for improvement. Before these high tech devices can truly become the standard for in-patient and out-patient care, these opportunities should be met, and all concerns should be alleviated.

  • There is no worldwide standard for wireless connectivity for IoT connected medical devices. The FDA has put forth some strong recommendations, including wireless protocols to use, and what to consider when it comes to interference and data loss. However, robust global standards are necessary for widespread adoption and implementation.
  • Security is still a major concern for IoT devices. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the most popular IoT medical pumps in the United States were vulnerable to hacking, and could even be controlled from a remote source. (http://www.zdnet.com/article/hackers-can-control-medical-pumps-to-administer-fatal-doses/)

Benefits to Non-Reporting Equipment

Although patients will always be the priority in medicine, there are other ways that IoT will help to improve the healthcare system. IoT will benefit even the devices that aren’t required to collect data. Electronic sensors can be built in to critical equipment and can be used to collect usage statistics, and even track and schedule maintenance. With all of the data coming to a central location, it could increase the efficiency of hospitals and clinics, which in turn could reduce operating costs. The obvious knock on effect is that patients would receive better care, from equipment that is maintained to a higher standard. (http://www.msidata.com/internet-of-things-for-the-medical-equipment-industry)

Connected Devices Simply Make Sense

There is perhaps no other industry that could benefit as much from IoT as healthcare. Connected medical devices will free up much needed resources in clinics, reduce the stress and cost for those undergoing care, and will improve the service in hospitals and other health care facilities. Medical IoT recruiting can help to assure that development continues and that good security is in place for medical IoT.

If equipment designers and manufacturers can overcome key security and standards challenges, there is little doubt that IoT devices will be the norm within the next decade, and will be on the leading edge of innovation among the wider Internet of Things. Medical IoT recruiting will be an absolute necessity if we are to keep the IoT area of medicine moving forward.

The Internet of Things and the Right to Record

Right to RecordToday there are over 5 billion connected devices in the world that make up the Internet of Things (IoT). Research firms like IDC and Gartner predict that within five years’ time, this number will skyrocket to 25 billion. Although we often think of the ways these IoT devices can make our lives easier, make our homes smarter, improve manufacturing, and even revolutionize healthcare, there are some uses for IoT that aren’t as straightforward.

One of these, is how IoT has changed our ability to record the world around us, and immediately share what we capture. Combined with social media, this ‘right to record’ has brought into question when it is appropriate or not appropriate to record. More importantly, is it legal?

The Legalities of Recording in Public

Smartphones, tablets, and even connected eyewear are all part of IoT, and they’re all capable of recording pictures and video. The most obvious example to look at is the phenomenon of members of the public recording law enforcement officers, performing their duties.

  • There are a number of states that have an ‘all parties consent’ law, requiring that subjects be made aware of video, image, or audio capture that is taking place.
  • There is a clause, however. There should also be a reasonable expectation of privacy on behalf of the subjects. This means, with interpretation, that filming in public places, without consent, would be acceptable and legal.
  • Illinois and Massachusetts have ‘all parties consent’ laws, however they don’t allow for the provision regarding the expectation of privacy. In 2010, Tiawanda Moore was arrested for attempting to record law enforcement personnel with a cell phone. She was later acquitted of all charges (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-08-25/news/ct-met-eavesdropping-trial-0825-20110825_1_eavesdropping-law-police-officers-law-enforcement).
  • It is not legal to record on private property, to make commercial gain from recorded material of another person’s likeness, or to use recordings to commit libel.

The Right to Record is a Two Way Street

Tech Republic, a leading trade publication for IT professionals, recently ran an opinion piece on how IoT and smart devices can cause controversy when it comes to the right to record. (http://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-right-to-record-is-not-a-question-of-technology-but-rather-power-and-policy/).

The article not only discussed the recording of law enforcement by private citizens, but also how it can be beneficial for law enforcement officers to constantly record their daily duties. Doing so would add a layer of transparency, and would serve to protect the interests of officers and their relevant governments, as well as the general public. This recording would be in addition to the already present police vehicle dash cams, and the surveillance cameras in most urban centers.

The questions then, are not as much about recordings been made in the first place, but rather about how they are used. Two key questions are;

  • Should law enforcement agencies have the right to publish footage or images of suspects before they have been convicted of crimes?
  • Should individuals have the right to publish police activity when footage or an image doesn’t portray an event or incident within its full context?

The Internet of Things is hugely dependent on constant information, easy accessibility to information, and the almost instant distribution of that information. IoT has changed the way that people expect services to work. Almost one third of those surveyed by the American Red Cross in 2012 would expect law enforcement or emergency assistance if they posted a request for help on a public social media website. Would those who are embracing social media be happy to post controversial images or videos of law enforcement agents in the line of duty? What if they were the ones being featured on a law enforcement social media account?

As more connected devices are able to easily record and share the world around us, lines will become blurred when it comes to rights. The ‘right to record’ could be considered a civil liberty under the right to free speech, so does the government share that same right? As IoT devices become more commonplace, and the internet of everything becomes a part of daily life, these questions will be answered, laws will be tested, and new precedents will be set.

20 million more IoT devices will be installed, carried, or worn by people at all levels of society, by 2020. Users and creators of IoT technologies will need to keep a close eye on ‘the right to record’, and how it impacts the industry and public perception of these devices in the years to come.

Sight Machine Suggest Manufacturing Automation is a Future We Need to Embrace

Image of IoT machinery - Sight MachineSight Machine executives believe that the internet of things is the future of things. With it, companies will have the power to analyze data more effectively and it could change the face of the business world. The company currently uses cloud computing combined with machine learning and analytics to determine security threats.

When you look at their company, you quickly discover their vision is different. They are committed to showing companies how to use machines to embrace the future. They teach about machine learning and give insight into the early versions of the internet of things and explain the progression that is being made towards advancements. Their goal, is to help companies create their products more effectively and then take their products and make them better.

How does that happen? The answer is simple. The internet of things allows a company to gain more insight into the process. With the data they compile, the can boost quality levels. In many cases, automating areas to run more effectively and even examine the parts of a machine and closely monitor them for repairs as needed or modifications.

The result is an effective use of machines and the ability to improve the manufacturing process. Sight Machine has discovered in most cases, manufacturing plants are behind in technology. They aren’t using computing, networking and other essential technology to improve their output and to boost their profits.

With their revolutionary approach, they are able to help simplify the process. They use a silo approach that collects the data, distributes it and then discards it when it is no longer needed. They can then integrate the data and input the information into analytical tools. With the information they can improve the quality of outputted products and reduce the operating costs for a company. All it takes is adding in some numerically controlled manufacturing machines designed with business intelligence and analytics in mind.

This is the future of business and Sight Machine is definitely helping companies embrace the Internet of Things. With technology doing more than ever before, real time data can be sent to connected machines. When a problem arises, the company can inspect it and reduce the cost of flaws. Imagine having a distribution line where jars of pickles are produced. If something becomes clogged, an alert goes out to maintenance and each of the production departments in seconds. The machine stops and there isn’t damage and loss caused by the malfunction. While the alert allows the production machine to be repaired quickly and restored in a shorter period of time.

The internet of things is the future. Companies who are looking to embrace it will want to work with businesses like Sight Machine and discover how they can take things to the next level. After all, the chances of a company being around in a decade is slim if they aren’t embracing technology in their day to day operations.

The History of IoT

Internet of things vector illustration flat design IoTThe internet isn’t that old, so far as the world wide web. In 1974, the TCIP/IP structure that we know today had it’s birth. It was not until ten years later that the first domain name system or DNS was introduced. The first website actually came online in 1991. The internet that he had proposed just a scant two years earlier came crashing into our mainstream world. It was a technological awakening that had been a long time coming.

In no time the internet took over. By 1995, multiple websites and systems came online. Entertainment by means of bulletin board systems began to be seen. All of it came from the imaginings of others that had taken place decades earlier.

The term “internet of things” or “IoT” is also not a new one. It’s frequently used and has been so for years, but in a survey it was revealed that even those who work in it every day are not at all conversant with the history of the IoT. That history or at least the ideology goes back a great deal further than most people know.

The first look at the internet of things arguably came from Nicola Tesla in 1926 when he commented in Collier’s “When wireless”* is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole………and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.” It was a comment that got him laughed at in some circles, but one which was remarkably accurate considering the state of computing at that time.

In 1998, Google incorporated and too, in 1998, inTouch a project that was developed at MIT was put into play by Scott Brave and Professor Hiroshi Ishii who announced “….We then present inTouch, which applies Synchronized Distributed Physical Objects to create a “tangible telephone” for long distance haptic communication.”

In 1998, the real IoT was touched by Mark Weiser, who developed a water fountain that was amazing and delightful to everyone who saw it. It rose and fell respectively according to the pricing trends and the volume of stock on the NYSE.

1999 saw the term Internet of Things spoken by Kevin Ashton who was the then executive director for the Auto-ID Center. “I could be wrong, but I’m fairly sure the phrase “Internet of Things” started life as the title of a presentation I made at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999. Linking the new idea of RFID in P&G’s supply chain to the then-red-hot topic of the Internet was more than just a good way to get executive attention.

Business Week in 1999 was the scene of the next big announcement about the term Internet of Things. 1999 – Neil Gross, speaking to Business Week commented, “In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin. It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations. This skin is already being stitched together. It consists of millions of embedded electronic measuring devices: thermostats, pressure gauges, pollution detectors, cameras, microphones, glucose sensors, EKG’s, electroencephalographs. These will probe and monitor cities and endangered species, the atmosphere, our ships, highways and fleets of trucks, our conversations, our bodies–even our dreams.”

IoT has continued to grow and to evolve and projections are bright for this new methodology for using the internet. The future of IoT is now –with devices coming online every day. The world is reliant upon connected cars, connected medical devices and even connected homes.

Companies today are scrambling to get their own IoT systems online and moving, and new recruits are being brought in every day to head up IoT systems in companies from small to large.

How does your company use IoT? Where are you going with it?