How the pandemic is driving IoT solutions for healthcare
Smart IoT solutions for Healthcare are booming. Source: Adobe Stock
One year has passed, since Covid-19 put the world in its stranglehold. One year since remote working, remote learning and even remote meeting have become “the new normal”. If there is only one good thing about the Pandemic, then the fact that it has pushed IT developments to new heights. A remarkable example: IoT solutions for healthcare.
Remember how we started to have our daily video calls last year in March? Remember all the glitches, the stuttering pictures, the audio lags? How we couldn’t see more than four people on our screen at once? A lot has changed since then. Not only have the sales figures of webcams skyrocketed. Also, the software like MS Teams or Zoom have become much more sophisticated in only a few months’ time. Virtual backgrounds, bigger audiences, easier handling even more security.
Pandemic paves way for new IoT solutions for healthcare
Similar to that, IoT solutions for healthcare are booming as well. There is a lot of demand for remote solutions for patient monitoring but also IoT products that assist in fighting the virus directly or indirectly. Like automated and reliable disinfection solutions or devices that constantly monitor air quality in public buildings, offices or even schools. Fighting a pandemic is a race against time. Fast and easy to implement solutions are mandatory.
Market analysts see a strong increase in demand for connected devices in the healthcare sector. “With over 30 million connected devices by the end of last year, we estimate this number to more than double by 2025”, sais Matt Arnott , Principal Analyst at Transforma Insights in conversation with the 1NCE IoT Native Blog.
Increasing demand for value-based healthcare facilities and adoption of newer technologies across the healthcare industry is driving the market. In addition, the proliferation of smart devices for health monitoring and fitness-related issues is giving rise to increase in adoption of IoT technology in the industry.
Arnott adds: “However, the pandemic has paved the way for more applications that address COVID-19 related issues, that are different to the classic healthcare solutions that we have seen before. This could be applications for symptom detection, such as heat-sensing cameras, or solutions that focus on automated room disinfection or air monitoring”.
IoT is complex. Simple solutions are required
When it comes to IoT product development, many questions must be answered: How to connect the devices at the place of use? How do I integrate them in my overall solution? How to ensure a maximum of simplicity for the customer in terms of installation? How to ensure a maximum of simplicity for my own business case? Device management, billing procedures, etc.
1NCE aims to address all these needs in one simple solution. The 1NCE IoT Lifetime Flat . A 10-year mobile cellular connectivity offer for a fixed pre-paid tariff of 10 Euros. But connectivity is one thing. Easy device integration and management the other.
In exchange with our now more than 3000 customers, we have found that companies often face three major challenges when implementing IoT solutions:
- Device security and authentication, and how to manage secure device authentication across cloud and platform environments to allow automation.
- Data protocol support for low-data IoT protocols like UDP or CoAP isn’t readily available.
- Device integration and management, especially the first setup and configuration of devices, requires additional effort to handle. Customers also lack the required staff with technical knowledge.
(Source: “Automated Device Provisioning to AWS IoT Core Using 1NCE Global SIM”, AWS Blog)
When working with 1NCE, IoT developers get more than just instant worldwide connectivity via 2G, 3G, 4G, NB-IoT or LTE-M in more than 100 countries at no extra cost for setup or roaming.
Adressing the challenges of "plug n' play IoT"
1NCE customers benefit from power tools such as
- A sophisticated Connectivity Management Platform that can also be integrated via REST API directly into the customers’ systems if needed. It allows detailed insights into actual connection statuses, data usage and more.
- A free OpenVPN feature to establish a secure data channel between the 1NCE network and the customers’ own network.
- Data Streamer functionality to retrieve events and data usage from each SIM card in real time
- The 1NCE Connectivity Suite that simplifies IoT device authentication, integration, and operation via the AWS IoT Core. Useful especially for all developers that already work with AWS.
Five actual and ingenious IoT use cases in healthcare
Finsen Tech is a global company that has developed THOR UVC, a high-output UVC disinfection robot, which utilizes unique room mapping technology to deliver a fast and effective germicidal dose of continuous-wave UVC energy killing germs and. For optimal mobile operation, the device needs to be able to communicate independently from any locally available network. But finding the right provider was quite a challenge, as Tristan Williams, Technical Director at Finsen Tech remarks: “Before we knew about 1NCE, we had to purchase local country specific data cards. We had to manage all the different accounts and bills and needed to keep track of the different login data and passwords.”
The Italian company Work In Progress Bio Medical developed a device with a similar, but then again different approach. Their solution: Microdefender, a mobile aerosol spraying room disinfector which effectively kills bacteria, yeasts, fungal spores, and viruses. After each use, it automatically generates a full report ensuring a maximum of efficiency. Development started in late 2019, but only a few month later, in early 2020 it was already in operation all over Italy. Simplicity was key for a fast time-to-market, as Product Specialist Dr. Marco Ravasi says: “For Micro defender, the 1NCE IoT Lifetime Flat is exactly the right connectivity solution to optimally operate at any time.”
Sentinum , based in Nuremberg, Germany, offers IoT solutions for municipalities and businesses. The Febris CO2 sensor is Sentinum’s latest development to create a COVID-safe working environment . Infection rates are significantly higher in enclosed rooms because of air circulation and limited ventilation. While the indoor air sensor does not detect the virus directly, it measures the quality of the air we breathe. The higher the CO2 level, the less fresh the air and less ventilated a room becomes. For complete room monitoring, the device also logs the measured data and sends it regularly to a central platform for further evaluation. Robustness and simplicity are important to Sentinum, who only use 1NCEs eSIMs for this and other devices in their portfolio. Manuel Hart, Managing Director of Sentinum explains: “The 1NCE IoT Lifetime Flat in combination with eSIM technology is perfect for our IoT solutions, both technically and economically.”
Aircare is an Italian project, that monitors and evaluates room environments with up to 15 sensors: whether particulates-, CO2 or VOC concentrations, humidity, temperature, noise, light and even electro smog. Aircare is therefore not just an air measuring device but evaluates the room climate based on air quality, ambient comfort, and electro smog. It can be integrated in Building Management Systems of any company. While it is mainly designed to communicate via Wi-Fi, sometimes a different environment asks for a different approach. That is why Aircar is also NB-IOT ready. “With 1NCE we have found a flexible and perfectly calculable IoT-connectivity, which makes Aircare quickly ready to use even independent of available Wi-Fi, for example in buildings with high security requirements”, explains Aircare Co-Founder, Lorenzo Facello.
Greece-based iotech normally uses LoRaWAN networks, but has broken new ground with its latest project, a monitoring solution for COVID-19 vaccine storage : to seamlessly track the temperature of vaccine refrigerators, iotech uses mobile radio from 1NCE. In this case, setting up an unlicensed network infrastructure would not only cost additional time and money, but also limit cold chain monitoring to the range of this local network. Iotech quickly needed an area-wide solution that allowed for easy and quick setup. "With the 1NCE IoT Lifetime Flat , we were able to integrate connectivity into our solution in a very short time," comments George Stefanidis, co-founder of iotech.