Samsung debuts wearable tech for health and safety

Samsung debuts wearable workplace tech for health and safety

Samsung has launched several B2B solutions at Mobile World Congress Americas targeting health and safety to protect people at work and at home.

Samsung has unveiled a range of applications that take advantage of its existing hardware, in partnership with lone worker tech company SoloProtect, senior living specialist Reemo, health and safety wearables firm Ability Wearables and virtual reality (VR) headset maker Virzoom.

Eric McCarty, Samsung’s vice president of B2B mobile product marketing, pointed out the importance of partners using Samsung hardware to develop industry-specific solutions that seek to protect employees in hazardous environments as well as vulnerable consumer groups.

“We’re seeing an incredible uptick in innovation through collaboration with our partners,” he said. “As a result, we are seeing more mobile solutions emerge that are tailored to meet specific business needs – such as senior care facilities or lone worker scenarios.”

Read more: New spray-on nanomesh wearables could bolster health monitoring

Collaboration breeds innovation

In particular, Samsung and its partners unveiled three solutions that aim to improve the safety of workers and enhance senior care.

The SoloProtect system integrates with Samsung’s Gear S3 smartwatch. It can be used by individuals that work alone and make regular visits to new locations, such as estate agents, utility inspectors or healthcare workers.

For those in high-risk fields, SoloProtect provides monitoring and communication via an Emergency Dispatch Center (EDC). Status checks can be activated by a lone worker to provide their employers with GPS information, and they can initiate a ‘red alert’  to instantly contact the EDC for emergency assistance.

Safety and reliability are priorities for all employers, says SoloProtect CEO John Broady, “but historically, it has been difficult to manage safety for individual employees operating outside the traditional office setting.”

“By equipping workers with a high-quality Samsung smartwatch integrated with SoloProtect, we can help businesses increase the safety of those operating alone in the field, and provide them with the ability to concentrate on their task at hand with greater peace of mind.”

For Ability Wearables, the focus is the threat of fatigue. Many industries rely on employees working long shifts in physically demanding environments. In conjunction with Samsung Gear Fit2 and Gear S3, Ability Wearables track biometric and GPS data for real-time health intelligence. This can empower employers, help them reduce operational risk and keep employee fatigue to a minimum.

Reemo’s solution, meanwhile, relies on the same Samsung hardware, but instead offers around-the-clock health tracking. This can be used to keep patients and seniors connected to their caregivers, with an all-in-one dashboard showing trends and real-time activity.

John Valiton, CEO of Reemo, said: “Samsung’s enablement of the Reemo platform through its wearable devices has made technology truly accessible to seniors by providing mobility, safety, awareness and connectivity to create independence in the aging experience.”

Read more: Samsung launches data monetization service for IoT device manufacturers

VR for fitness centers

Samsung also featured its partnership with Virzoom at Mobile World Congress Americas. The VR Fitness platform can be provided to fitness centers keen to fuse VR with traditional workouts. Gym cyclists riding a fitness bike fitted with a Virzoom module can wear Samsung Gear VR for a more immersive workout.

Users move through the virtual world at a speed proportionate to their pedaling, playing games as they go.

Read more: Harlequins expands use of wearables to improve player performance

Wearables on the rise

According to a report released last week by research company Berg Insight, the wearables market is currently experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22 percent.

Shipments of connected wearables hit 96.5 million last year, up from 75.1 million devices in 2015. Total sales of smart watches, smart glasses, fitness trackers, safety devices and connected clothing are forecast to reach 262.5 million units in 2021.

In particular, sales of smart watches are expected to pick up considerably as customer awareness rises and products from brands such as Samsung and Apple continue to adopt features found in popular fitness trackers. Berg Insight estimates that 2017 smart watch shipments will reach 35 million units, a 66 percent increase on 2016 shipments.

“Technology advancements, increased consumer awareness and wide availability of devices in different price segments will help the smartwatch category to reach mass market appeal and surpass activity trackers as the largest device category within wearable technology by 2019”, said Adam Palmborg, Berg Insight’s IoT analyst.

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Vulnerabilities in syringe infusion pumps could harm patients

Vulnerabilities in wireless syringe infusion pumps could harm patients

More medical devices – this time, syringe infusion pumps – have been found to contain vulnerabilities that hackers could use to compromise the safe treatment of patients. 

Eight recently discovered vulnerabilities in several widely used syringe infusion pumps could enable hackers to change the dose of medication that a patient receives, according to an advisory notice from ICS-CERT (Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team), part of the US Department of Homeland Security.

The flaws were found in the software used on the Medfusion 4000 Wireless Syringe Infusion Pump from Smith Medical. More specifically, it is present in versions 1.1, 1.5 and 1.6 of the software.

These devices are used to deliver small doses of medication in acute care settings. The vulnerabilities, meanwhile, were discovered by independent security researcher Scott Gayou.

“Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities may allow a remote attacker to gain unauthorized access and impact the intended operation of the pump. Despite the segmented design, it may be possible for an attacker to compromise the communications module and the therapeutic module of the pump,” says the advisory.

Read more: Security researchers uncover vulnerabilities in cardiac pacemakers

Updates on their way

It’s worth stressing that no known attacks have been carried out at this stage. According to the advisory, such an attack would require “an attacker with high skill”.

The flaws include the use of hard-coded credentials; passwords stored in the configuration file; improper access control; and improper certificate validation.

The advisory suggests that that healthcare facilities using these devices should conduct a risk assessment to determine whether they should disconnect the pumps from their network until a fix is available.

In a statement, the devices’ manufacturer Smiths Medical said that the possibility of this exploit taking place in a clinical setting is “highly unlikely”, as it requires a complex and an unlikely series of conditions. It is planning to release Version 1.6.1 for the Medfusion 4000 Wireless Syringe Infusion Pump in January 2018.

Read more: “Scary” number of healthcare IT execs put faith in inadequate IoT security

Patients at risk?

Gordon Morrison, director of government relations at security software company McAfee, told Internet of Business that despite the massive potential of the IoT in healthcare, a large number of medical devices are vulnerable to hacking – putting both hospital networks and patients themselves at risk.

“It is essential to ensure these devices are not introduced at the expense of the safety of the patient and their data,” said Morrison.

Achieving this will be a two-fold process, he added: “Ensuring that the devices are built securely by design and with the necessary security controls in place; [and putting in place] a security policy for connected devices in hospitals, to ensure that they can’t access sensitive data and are regularly patched against newly-discovered vulnerabilities.”

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TNS: In the IOT, an ATM does far more than dispense cash

TNS: In the IoT, the ATM is more than just a cash machine

ATMs: There’s more of them around these days, they’re smarter than ever, and they’re not just machines, but smart connected devices in the IOT, as George Zirkel, head of global payments strategy at comms specialist TNS, tells Internet of Business.

This summer, the automatic teller machine – or ATM – celebrated its 50th birthday in style. To commemorate the anniversary of the opening of the world’s first cash-dispensing machine at its branch in Enfield, North London on 27 June 1967, Barclays Bank installed a gold ATM at the site, along with a commemorative plaque and a red carpet for users.

The brainchild of a Scottish inventor, John Shepherd-Barron, the ATM has transformed the way that bank account holders access their cash.

Today, there are an estimated three million cash machines across the globe. The world’s most northerly machine, according to Barclays, can be found at Longyearbyen, a small coal-mining town on Spitsbergen Island in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. The most southerly machine, meanwhile, is located at the McMurdo Station, a US Antarctic research centre at the South Pole.

Read more: Vocalink: Direct bank-to-bank mobile payments poised to rise

Not just machines

Over the intervening half-century, ATMs haven’t just increased in population, but also in sophistication, to deliver a wide range of services beyond dispensing cash. And these days, they’re not just owned and operated by banks, either, but by a wide range of independent ATM providers, and are popping up in airports, shopping malls and convenience stores, among other places.

George Zirkel of TNS

George Zirkel of TNS

Most importantly, they’re not just machines, says George Zirkel, head of global payment strategy at Transaction Network Services (TNS): “These connected devices are smart, intelligent ‘things’ in the Internet of Things,” he says.

TNS provides the secure communications for many of those off-premise ATMs that we now find in new locations and that often provide a more convenient place to withdraw cash than from the ‘hole in the wall’ at a local bank branch. Zirkel, for example, is a frequent user of the ATM found in the lobby at TNS headquarters in Reston, Virginia.

“These are very sensitive devices that collect important customer data, so the companies that own and operate them need to know they’re secure, have not been tampered with and are always on, so when a customer walks up to them, they’re ready to provide the required services,” he says.

So TNS provides the routers that go into these ATMs, as well as the necessary communications infrastructure to link them to back-end payments networks and the management consoles used by their owner/operators. “We provide that all-important link either through cellular communications, in the form of a SIM card that connects into our network, or via direct connectivity, in the form of an SSL connection or even a leased line, where high capacity is needed,” he says.

Read more: Bank of America, FitPay partner to speed up wearable payments

Data-rich services

And more and more ATMs do need that high capacity, he adds, as they increasingly provide a wider range of more sophisticated, more data-rich services: cheque and cash deposits, for example, or loan applications. In the case of off-premise ATMs, he adds, independent providers are increasingly looking to generate more revenues from each machine, by offering new services such as mobile and gift card top-ups and person-to-person (P2P) transfers between multiple accounts.

“As these devices increase in their sophistication, it’s connectivity that is allowing providers to put them out into new and interesting locations – and more locations, too,” says Zirkel.

A great deal of engineering effort at TNS goes into making wider activation of ATMs possible, he says, but the company is also looking to expand features and functions, so that they can support other devices that might be loosely classed as constituents in a wider ‘Internet of Payments.’ These include parking meters, for example, and smart vending machines.

Says Zirkel: “This is a very exciting time for us as we explore the ways that our products might apply to new use cases – but the fundamental premise remains the same: helping organizations to roll out devices that handle sensitive payment data and need to be highly reliable and highly secure. And the end goal, too, is the same: helping consumers make payments seamlessly in the most convenient ways and most convenient locations for them.”

George Zirkel of TNS will be speaking at our Internet of Banking and Payments event, to be held at Canary Wharf in London on 21-23 November 2017.

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Iridium partners with Magnitude Space to explore IoT satellites opportunity

Iridium partners with Magnitude Space to use satellites in IoT

Small satellites could be key to low-power, high-latency IoT service alternatives, says Iridium. 

Mobile satellite comms company Iridium Communications has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IoT connectivity company Magnitude Space, in a bid to expand opportunities for space-based IoT connectivity and the development of reliable, low-power global area network (LPGAN) technologies.

Magnitude Space, headquartered in Amsterdam, is planning to build a network of 18 to 24 small satellites, that will deliver LPGAN connectivity to remote areas of the world. The company claims that its technology will be a cost-effective, reliable option for companies in need of very low-power, low-cost, monitoring and tracking options, requiring longer battery life and infrequent non-real-time messaging.

Orders of Magnitude

Ernst Peter Hovinga, CEO of Magnitude Space, said that his company feels Iridium is its “ideal” partner. “They set the standard for low earth satellite network operations, and support a vast distribution and technology partner ecosystem for satellite IoT customers,” he explained.

“Since Iridium primarily serves the requirements of customers with fully global, low latency needs, and we plan to meet the needs of companies requiring low-power monitoring services, we are truly complementary in our respective approaches.”

Hovinga added that his company intends to launch commercially  in the second quarter of 2018. “Our partnership has the potential to bring two networks together, addressing the total IoT connectivity proposition present in the market today. We look forward to continuing the conversation and learning from a leader in the mobile satellite space.”

Read more: Vancouver-based IoT firm Helios raises $ 4 million to launch first satellite

Multiple partnerships

This partnership is the latest of several relationships that Iridium has been cultivating within the IoT industry, specifically around low-power satellites.

“Lower power initiatives are a key aspect of Iridium’s IoT business strategy,” said Tim Last, vice president and general manager, Iridium IoT line of business. “Magnitude Space has a solid business proposition with a collaborative approach, which is ideal for this exploratory phase of our relationship.  The industry needs both medium-to-high power satellite-based IoT solutions, as well as LPGAN offerings, and we can now discuss ways to best leverage both our network, and their offerings to expand our portfolio of premium IoT solutions.”

Read more: Sky and Space Global hits new nano-satellites milestone

M2M Satellites

In other satellite-focused IoT news, Globalstar has announced its newest M2M/IoT satellite device, the SmartOne Solar.

SmartOne Solar is powered with solar-rechargeable batteries which can deliver over eight years of serviceable life. The device will operate continuously for many months, while reporting twice a day without the need for exposure to sunlight.

It is part of a line-up of satellite-based data products designed to meet the M2M needs of businesses in industries such as oil and gas, transportation and logistics, mining, forestry, utilities and commercial maritime with critical data monitoring and remote asset management needs.

“There is an exponential growth in M2M markets worldwide fueled by demand for affordable, reliable IoT data solutions that help businesses monitor, manage and automate collection of data from remote assets. SmartOne Solar is part of a line of products designed to help our customers affordably streamline remote M2M and IoT operations over our modern and fast satellite network,” said Jay Monroe, chairman and CEO of Globalstar.

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Bank of America, FitPay partner to speed up wearable payments

Bank of America, FitPay partner to speed up wearable payments

Bank of America and contactless payment platform provider FitPay have agreed to extend wearables payment services to the bank’s customers.

The collaboration between Bank of America and FitPay will enable the bank’s credit and debit cardholders to make contactless payments directly from wearable devices at NFC-enabled point of sale (POS) locations and more than 9,000 Bank of America ATMs.

Under the agreement, Bank of America will participate in FitPay’s Digital Wallet Program, which enables manufacturers of Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable devices to add contactless payment capabilities to their product.

The FitPay platform uses tokenization, a payment security technology that replaces cardholders’ account information with a unique digital identifier (a ‘token’) on the device, to transact highly secure contactless payments.

Read more: FitPay brings prepaid functionality to IoT and wearable devices

Meeting requirements

The collaboration includes ensuring that all devices meet the bank’s technical usage, security, branding and consumer experience requirements. Product announcements from device manufacturers are expected later this year and during 2018.

“As digital payments evolve, our goal is to give Bank of America customers access to payment options that are easy to use and highly secure,” said Mark Monaco, head of enterprise payments at Bank of America. “Working with FitPay will allow our customers to use a range of new contactless payment devices to improve the payment experience, provide a high level of security, and fit seamlessly into any lifestyle.”

Michael Orlando, COO of parent company NXT-ID and president of FitPay, said that broad adoption of digital payments requires fundamentally changing the payment experience and making new methods widely available. “Our work with device manufacturers and Bank of America is driving both of these goals,” he said.

Manufacturers of 15 IoT and wearable devices currently integrate with the company’s payment platform, including the Garmin Vivoactive 3 smartwatch.

The wearables market grew 18 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to a recent IDC report, with Xiaomi and Apple taking first and second place, respectively, in terms of market share, and nudging one-time market leader Fitbit into third place. Next came Samsung, followed by Garmin.

Read more: Mastercard: “Every connected device will be a commerce device.”

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