The “Internet of things” (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. It’s a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work.
The internet of things (IoT) is the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. In 2013 the Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defined the IoT as “the infrastructure of the information society.” The IoT allows objects to be sensed and/or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit.
In simple words, in IoT, devices gather and share information directly with each other and the cloud, making it possible to collect, record and analyze new data streams faster and more accurately. That suggests all sorts of interesting possibilities across a range of industries: cars that sense wear and tear and self-schedule maintenance or trains that dynamically calculate and report projected arrival times to waiting passengers.
However, nowhere does the IoT offer greater promise than in the field of healthcare, where its principles are already being applied to improve access to care, increase the quality of care and most importantly reduce the cost of care. As the technology for collecting, analyzing and transmitting data in the IoT continues to mature, we’ll see more and more exciting new IoT-driven healthcare applications and systems emerge.
IoT-related healthcare systems today are based on the essential definition of the IoT as a network of devices that connect directly with each other to capture and share vital data through a secure service layer (SSL) that connects to a central command and control server in the cloud. The IoT plays a significant role in a broad range of healthcare applications, from managing chronic diseases at one end of the spectrum to preventing disease at the other.
Internet-connected devices have been introduced to patients in various forms. Whether data comes from foetal monitors, electrocardiograms, temperature monitors or blood glucose levels, tracking health information is vital for some patients. Many of these measures require follow-up interaction with a healthcare professional. This creates an opening for smarter devices to deliver more valuable data, lessening the need for direct patient-physician interaction.
India too seems to be all geared-up for IoT with the long-predicted IoT revolution in healthcare already underway. And, the currently available technologies/devices are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, as new use cases continue to emerge to address the urgent need for affordable, accessible care. The government has released 20 smart cities list and Vizag and Kochi are already close to launching something soon. Government launched The Centre of Excellence for IoT (IoT COE) recently for “Internet of Things” partnered along with Nasscom. There are currently enormous interactions happening over various startups in India and various meet-ups such as IoT NCR, IOT BLR, etc. helping people learn IoT. There are almost 266 startups in South zone (Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai), and an immense number of IoT startups in Delhi NCR region and in Mumbai and Pune zone.
Thus, it will not be wrong to imagine well-designed apps becoming a common facet of patient-centered care, allowing people to monitor themselves on a daily basis and note any questions or concerns to forward on to their healthcare provider. Self-monitoring is also meant to create an aspect of control for the user, and could even help to provide a deeper understanding of one’s own illness – as some people tend to get overwhelmed or confused in the clinical environment of a doctor’s surgery or hospital.
It is predicted that by the end of the decade, the data-rich personalized analysis of health by IoT will become the norm. Individuals will be provided with tailor-made strategies to combat illness and social technologies will enable us to manage our own health. From the data generated, we will learn how to improve our wellbeing and be motivated to take control. And as the consumer takes more control in this digital-first world, the business model of the health industry will need to revolutionize, to take into account the fact that any company can now become a healthcare provider – as long as their technology is meaningful to the customer. In addition, traditional businesses will need to collaborate with smaller companies, many of which may never have been involved in the health industry before. Alliances that are able to combine the most advanced medical technology with clinical informatics and secure cloud-based platforms will triumph.