The value that the IoT adds to individuals lives in the fields of telehealth, accessibility and PERs is soon to reach a new level as the IoT evolves in 2017. As adoption increases and devices scale up, real differences to the quality of care and level of personalisation will begin to emerge.
There is little doubt that the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly changing the business landscape with a estimated 50 billion IoT sensors by 2020 and more than 200 billion “Things” online by 2030*. Projections and trends abound in the market about what will take off and what needs still to be done in order for “Things” (pun intended) to achieve this projected level of growth.
Identified below are the primary IoT implications affecting the accessibility, telehealth and PERs markets for 2017 and beyond.
Whether the source is Gartner, Cisco or GE, without doubt the issue of security emerges as a critical one. As applications, devices and platforms emerge, the requirement for security in all areas is becoming increasingly important. Investment in security is needed not just from information attacks and physical tampering , but also in being able to encrypt data and evolve with emerging threats such as impersonating another “thing”. It is only a matter of time before hackers begin to access all internet connected devices . In the areas of health, accessibility and PERS there is an even greater need for security where the liability and the personal risks are much higher and therefore company exposure greater.
Investment is primarily needed in design, delivery and talent. Companies need to future proof apps and devices as much as possible building in the flexibility to update, adapt and evolve as threats do and technologies change. Communicating these safety measures and reassuring consumers will be as important as the measures themselves. Particularly, in the area of telemedicine, based on feedback from a health industry survey done by Silicon Valley Bank*.
Event Stream Processing and IoT Anyalytics
According to the Gartner report* large volumes of data generated at very high rates will require real time processing and analysis as the IoT develops. There are already numerous devices that create tens of thousands of events per second. The growth in the IoT in telehealth will need real time processing in order diagnose, treat and manage conditions. As the industry evolves, distributed stream computing platforms (DSCPs) which utilise parallel data streams of high rate data are being developed. Traditional analytical algorithms will not suffice if the volume of data generated is to be truly utilised. Valuable insights into consumer behaviour, products services, health conditions and trends are significant benefits of these large volumes of data that the IoT devices provide. Utilising that is all dependant upon superior analytics tools.
IoT- Device management.
The way devices are managed will require innovation in hardware and software that can handle location, context and various operating states, as well as the usual data and and analytics requirements. It’s predicted that in the future wearables and devices will be able to create data structures that are able to flex and learn based on unique inbound data requirements. This is particularly important in the telehealth and accessibilities markets where safety and health are the primary benefits of the devices and variability in day to day conditions will require individualised and often changing care.
Consolidation of infrastructure elements into a single platform will be increasingly seen in the market. According to Gartner * this will occur in three main areas:
- Low level device control and operations.
- The afore mentioned data gathering, storage, management and analytical processing.
- App development including event driven logic, programming, visualization, anyaltics and adaptors which in turn feed into larger enterprise systems.
In the PERS, Accessibility and Telehealth markets this type of platform will be fundamental as ecosystems vary and jostle for market supremacy. Companies want to be able to produce devices and apps in a platform that can adapt to suit a variety of ecosystems and that can also be updated as standards, legislation and ecosystems grow and change.
Numerous IoT ecosystems and standards will emerge in the key areas of smart homes, smart cities, telehealth and accessibility. IoT business models will be based around the ability of devices to communicate with each other and feed into various application programming interfaces (APIs). Companies creating products that service these industries may have to develop apps and devices that have many variants or the flexibility to support and feed into multiple ecosystems and meet numerous standards.
Gartner* predicts that low power networks will be standard in the future. Up until 2025 low power, short-range networks will be dominant. However, commercial and technical compromises and considerations will mean that many networks will co-exist. In terms of low power, wide range networks, standard cellular networks do not deliver on cost or the technical features that many IoT devices need. Requirements such as long battery life, relatively low bandwidth, dense connectivity and operating and hardware cost efficiencies are all important in developing devices and apps for the IoT. Gartner* suggests that it will be narrowband IoT that will dominate in the wide range network space. Indeed, at the time of writing Vodaphone is in the midst of trialling such a network with a Victorian utility provider*.
This has implications for companies when selecting hardware and when you add in that in regional and rural areas where telehealth is going to be particularly important functionality, effectiveness, battery power and other features will need to be weigh up against network coverage in selecting hardware components.
Artificial Intelligence is often categorised in isolation to the IoT. However, AI will play a vital part in the effectiveness of IoT devices moving forward. AI will assist devices in being able to perform the analytics, diagnostics and their real time requirements. AI tools such as cognitive software, intelligent software and chatbots are already beginning to interact with devices providing real time processing and feedback*. The potential benefits of AI utilisation in the accessibility and telehealth markets are significant and could make a real difference to people’s quality of life.
Hardware and operating systems
Processors and operating systems will continue to adapt and grow and complex technical skills will be needed to understand the varied requirements. Considerations such as hardware and software costs, adaptability, security and encryption are just some of the factors that will need to taken into account with processors. In terms of operating systems, there are already a number of operating systems in existence and these will continue to be developed to service the many unique IoT requirements that traditional systems just can’t deliver on. It is predicted that no one operating system will dominate and there will once gain need to be a level of adaptability in all systems in order to be able to feed into larger networks of devices.
The future is certainly an exciting one for the telehealth, accessibility and the PERS markets. Investment in the right networks, hardware, talent and software will ensure a long term, adaptive business model and a quality product. Flexibility, protection and superior analytical tools will ensure customers receive a level of personalised care previously unseen and there is nothing more rewarding than that.