Archives for December 2018

December 18, 2018 - No Comments!

IoT Market in 2019

The position of IoT strengthens year by year. It won’t stop growing in 2019. ITPro predicts that the number of devices will grow up to 3.6 billion (link). Basing on our experience and signals from the market, we would like to present 5 forecasts for the development of the IoT market in 2019. Let's start!

5g networks will change the approach to connectivity

So far, most IoT devices have used Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology to connect with the world. This especially applies to the devices designed for individual customers - new washing machines, refrigerators, ovens and lighting used these protocols.

However, what was enough for home solutions did not always suit the needs of professionals. Industry 4.0 devices was either based on a cellular network (interestingly very often 2G), or it used new communication standards (such as LoRaWAN described earlier). Each of these solutions has its drawbacks though - the 2G network consumes too much energy, which is important especially in the battery-powered devices (eg intelligent road signs, sensors in the oil fields). LoRaWAN requires the preparation of your own access point with internet connection.

The 5G network solves both problems. It introduces new, energy-saving standards that will be available everywhere where is the 5G network coverage. More information on the impact of new standards on the development of IoT can be found in this Forbes article.

IoT Healthcare market will increase significantly

As we wrote in our recent article, the health services market will be more and more willing to reach for IoT solutions. We already use glucose meters and insulin pumps equipped with Bluetooth. More and more often, distance cardiac care is also being discussed. For example, the Polish company Telemedical Innovations is preparing a special device designed to perform an ECG in home. (http://telemedicalinnovations.com/?page_id=45).

Market predicts that the need for such solutions will double between 2017 and 2018. The development of RTLS (Real-time locating systems) systems, which can be installed in hospitals and other medical facilities, is also extremely important. This approach will improve the logistics and management of the trade of medicines and other medical equipment, which can bring significant savings.

Smartcars will go to the road

Recently, Waymo (a company belonging to Alphabet - a group of companies originating from Google) has started tests of autonomous taxis. Other companies - such as Uber or Lyft are testing their autonomous vehicles all the time. It is expected that the industry of autonomous vehicles will develop very fast, and 2019 may be the year when many projects mature and start commercial activity. It is also extremely important in this aspect to introduce intelligent infrastructure to cities that could communicate with autonomous vehicles. An example? Street lights that communicate their current state to vehicles. You can read more about Smart Cities here.

Edge Computing is becoming more and more important

Cloud Computing has been a popular buzzword, which means processing data in the cloud (remote servers). This trend is still strengthening, and many companies in this sector have achieved success. However, cloud computing requires high bandwidths of computer networks, but data transfer is expensive. In addition, there are growing concerns about the security of data stored in the cloud. For this reason, the opposite trend is emerging - Edge Computing. According to this idea, some basic calculations can be performed inside the data collector, and only telemetry data should be sent to the cloud. For example, a camera that does not send a full 1080p image to the cloud, but only information what objects were detected.

Microsoft invests heavily in this technology with its partners. In our company, we also prepare and test technologies in this field. As we wrote in an earlier article - the less information we send to the network, the better for the safety of our devices, and this allows us to move smoothly to the next topic ...

IoT security will become necessity

As we have already mentioned - IoT devices are difficult to maintain security. That is why it is so important to think about this aspect at the design stage. New devices are becoming safer, companies and supervisors are introducing security procedures adapted to this type of devices more often.

Therefore, we believe that in 2019, encryption of connections with all IoT devices and the Edge Computing trend already described will become the standard. At Summer Agency we are prepared for the upcoming changes, which is why all our projects are built with security in mind and encryption of sensitive information.

 

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December 4, 2018 - No Comments!

The future of IoT in the Healthcare Market

By dreaming about the vision of the connected medical sensors world you can get the impression that it will flood the market and make our lives easier in a blink of an eye. The road to success in the field of medicine is never simple though. Let me discuss few problems the Healthcare IoT market is facing and give some examples of real applications where technology is changing the lives of patients and doctors.

Internet of Things devices in healthcare:

  • devices that collect patient data in the hospital and automatically send them to the database without the need for a doctor to check each time;
  • connected to the network thermometers, glucometers, etc., examining the patient's condition at home;
  • devices for athletes to track progress during training;
  • technologies that monitor our diet and provide advice;

Cybersecurity takes on special significance

Privacy is the key and medical devices process data that are very sensitive. We do not always want to share information about our diseases with the whole world. Meanwhile, as we wrote in the previous article (link) taking care of security in the IoT segment is not easy. There are proven news about the possibility of attacking such important devices as a heart pacemaker. Most medical implants also do not have the ability to be updated remotely - the installation of a new software version can even be associated with the next operation.

That is why, apart from the precautions that we have already signaled, we should think about additional penetration tests ("good" hackers try to break into the device and thus reveal security gaps), the obligation to encrypt the transmission or introduce security certificates. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has already taken steps to introduce IoT device security audits. Other regulators are likely to follow this policy.

High costs

Designing a medical device is expensive and requires compliance with many restrictive standards during the certification process. For this reason, not many design companies undertake to create devices of this type. The price of components, in particular sensors and power systems is also a problem.

However, the situation is improving from year to year. In addition to large medical companies, there are more and more startups on the market that may exacerbate competition (including price one). In addition, more and more design studios are beginning to deal with this topic. At Summer Agency we already have an experience in designing and implementing medical devices. If you have a startup in this segment - drop us a line to discuss ideas 🙂

No communication standards

As the IoT Healthcare market is relatively young, it has not yet developed communication standards that are as widespread as those related to websites. Imagine that you can only browse a company's website using a specific browser. Now it is unthinkable, but even a dozen or so years ago the standards regarding HTML and CSS were inconsistent and the same page could work differently depending on the application used to view it. This situation fortunately changed.

Meanwhile, the communication of medical devices still does not apply universal standard - glucose meters of one company only work with its test strips and transmit data only to its mobile app. The standards for the exchange of medical data are secret and each manufacturer develops their own. It can be said that this is due to the aforementioned concern for security - but the example of the website proves that open, universal and at the same time safe standards can be built.

A collaborative approach has tangible benefits - it can for example provide data to machine learning systems which, by collecting data from various sources, will allow better prediction of treatment results or more accurately diagnose diseases. The key is also the exchange of data between physicians of various specialties, so that they can choose better treatment with a comprehensive picture of the patient (eg having a list of medicines currently being taken).

Real applications

Despite the problems, IoT technologies are being used today in medicine. One of the interesting applications is taken from logistics: tracking and locating resources in the hospital. In the end, a medical facility, despite its special purpose, may also have problems similar to those found in other companies.

For example, one of the hospitals in New York has introduced a monitoring system that shows which beds are currently occupied. System provides location and data of patients. Remote allocation of patients to beds reduced queues in the hospital and reduced waiting time for help.

Another example where resource management is extremely important is a hospital pharmacy, in which drugs must be under strict control. In addition to the concern for ownership, there may be a mistake in the dose of the medication to be dispensed, which may end tragically. These problems are solved by systems based on RFID tags and sensors. There are already intelligent medicine bottles that allow you to locate the package and even remind the patient to take the right dose.

At Summer Agency we have experience in creating record keeping and tracking systems. The RTLS (link) system we have described earlier can be used to monitor the position and operation of (for example) medical devices.

Of course, there is more solutions to improve the care of patients with cardiac problems. Systems appear that allow you to register an ECG signal (ECG) in the patient's home and then send it to the cloud for analysis. Intelligent algorithms will automatically detect abnormalities and notify the doctor. The Polish company Telemedical Innovations (link) is working on such a system. It allows you to make an ECG at home and does not require knowledge about the placement of electrodes, thanks to a specially adapted device.

Future

Over 100M IoT medical devices are working today, and this number will grow to 120M by 2020 according to Statist (link). No wonder that companies are constantly investing in this prospective market.

The development is mainly in the field of new sensors and miniaturization of already present devices. One example is the Google’s project, which involves the creation of an intelligent contact lens that measures blood sugar levels.

 

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