Australian researchers partner with Huawei for smart healthcare

medical wearables griffith university and huawei

Researchers at Griffith University in Australia are collaborating with Huawei and Tonwo Health Clinic Technology to develop wearable devices that will help patients manage chronic conditions. 

Much of the talk surrounding IoT technology revolves around the benefits of responding to real-time data. But sensors and wearables can have an impact on a slow and steady basis, too.

This is particularly the case in the world of connected healthcare. Joint research undertaken by Griffith University, Huawei and Tonwo Health Clinic Technology has proven the benefits of wearable devices for the remote management of chronic conditions. The devices are to become available to medical professionals in Australia in February.

Read more: WaterGroup, Reekoh partner on water saving platform in Australia

Empowering patients with chronic conditions

The result of the research is five health wearables ready for mass production, covering everything from blood glucose levels to body fat and blood pressure.

All are designed to help patients better manage their long-term health conditions. These include hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

In terms of connectivity, the devices rely on narrowband (NB-IoT) chips provided by Huawei Technology, which send live data to an application platform. Patients will have access to all of their information and can make adjustments accordingly. GPs will also be able to monitor progress remotely.

Associate Professor Jing Sun, from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland, will be evaluating the data as part of a pilot program on Australia’s Gold Coast in the New Year.

“Both patients and doctors can view not only historical data to make a disease diagnosis, but also manage the potential risks for other health conditions,” she said.

There is also huge scope for savings compared with traditional healthcare on a national scale. “The potential for wearable devices as part of the Australian healthcare system, when used as a self-care management for family and health-based monitoring, is projected to save billions in dollars for the healthcare system,” she said.

Read more: Tesla Powerpack begins work on powering South Australia

NB-IoT “highly suitable” for medical use cases

“Our NB-IoT real-time medical devices are first in the world and are ready for mass production now,” says John Zeng, president of Tonwo Health Clinic Technology.

“Following our research, we have five devices ready for launch: Blood pressure Monitor table, Blood pressure on arm, Handheld Pulse oximeter, Blood Glucose Meter, Body fat scale. The network in Australia will be provided by operators to support the communication between the devices and NB-IoT.”

NB-IoT devices are typically inexpensive to run, suitable for indoor coverage and rely on batteries for power. Because they generate relatively low amounts of data traffic, they can run for months or even years at a time.

Xichu Zhao, CEO of Huawei Australia, said that “The application of NB-IoT is very wide and is particularly suitable for medical and healthcare services. With our innovative IoT technology, Huawei is helping different partners on their road to success and achieving our role as the largest IoT incubator in Australia.

“The potential of NB-IoT in the healthcare industry is unlimited and we are expecting more exciting business models to come in the near future.”

Read more: GDPR could have connected healthcare providers feeling queasy in 2018

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Australian smart buildings company Quantify raises $5M in capital

Quantify Technologies, a publicly traded IoT company that develops smart/intelligent building applications and solutions has raised $ 5M in new capital.

The company trades on the Australian stock exchange under the ticker QFY and raised the funds by issuing 83M new shares to new and existing investors at 6 cents a share. Quantify will use the funding proceeds for the testing of an integrated Amazon Alexa/Q Device product they are developing.

“These funds will also allow us to accelerate development of further enhancements and integrations of technologies such as Amazon Alexa to further redefine the IoT industry standard and to make our solution the platform of choice,” Mark Lapins, head of Quantify Technologies.

The Q Device by Quantify can be used to control multiple IoT-based in-home devices. The core solution can be deployed at the time of a building’s construction or retro-fitted later.

Rolling out IoT solutions across an enterprise is considered a tough ask, especially when organizations have heterogeneous system operating upon different standards. This is where Quantify makes a difference by eliminating the needs to install dedicated gateway devices or communications hubs. It offers a core control and reporting API for the purpose.


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Australian Smart Buildings company Quantify raises $5M in venture funding

Quantify Technologies, an IoT company that develops smart/intelligent building applications and solutions raised $ 5M in venture capital. It was raised by placing 83M shares to new and existing investors at 6 cents a share. Quantify will use the funding proceeds for the testing of an integrated Amazon Alexa/Q Device product developed by Quantify.

“These funds will also allow us to accelerate development of further enhancements and integrations of technologies such as Amazon Alexa to further redefine the IoT industry standard and to make our solution the platform of choice,” Mark Lapins, head of Quantify Technologies.

The Q Device by Quantify can be used to control multiple IoT-based in-home devices. The core solution can be deployed at the time of a building’s construction or retro-fitted later.

Rolling out IoT solutions across an enterprise is considered a tough ask, especially when organizations have heterogeneous system operating upon different standards. This is where Quantify makes a difference by eliminating the needs to install dedicated gateway devices or communications hubs. It offers a core control and reporting API for the purpose.


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Australian government’s CEFC invests AUS$10m on IoT network provider Thinxtra

Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is to invest AU$ 10m in IoT network builder Thinxtra in exchange for 15 percent equity.

The Australian government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is to invest AU$ 10m in IoT network builder Thinxtra in exchange for 15 percent equity.

CEFC is a Green Bank that was established to ensure investment would be driven into the clean energy sector. Its investment in Thinxtra is part of a AU$ 20m Series B round, valuing the company at about AU$ 66m.

Sydney-based Thinxtra last year obtained the licence to roll out French network company Sigfox’s low-powered, wide area network (LPWAN) technology across Australia and New Zealand, with an ambitious aim of covering 95 percent of both countries’ populations by the end of 2017. The LPWAN technology runs independently from telco IoT networks in Australia and New Zealand, but taps into these networks for data backhaul.

It is this technology that was an attraction to CEFC, as it consumes less energy than many alternative methods in connecting devices to the internet.

Smart city potential

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “Australia is a vast country with a scattered population. A large amount of energy is expended in physically monitoring millions of pallets, waste containers, gas canisters, farm gates, livestock and more. By providing a low-cost solution for tracking and monitoring these assets, we can save a huge amount of emissions.

“Our finance for Thinxtra will help build essential support technology which is set to play a key role in transitioning the Australian economy to net zero emissions by the second half of the century.

“We’re talking about the potential to operate smarter cities, more energy efficient and liveable buildings, better monitoring of environmental assets, better health monitoring and more sustainable agricultural practices,” he said.

A growing presence down under

Thinxtra’s presence in Australia and New Zealand has been ramping up over the last year. In May, the company announced a joint venture with Tasmania-based telco Tasmanet to build a dedicated IoT network that would cover 95 percent of the island state’s population before the end of 2017.

In the same week, Thinxtra said it would be providing the connectivity for a new IoT-based security product from ATF Services, a company that specialises in protecting construction sites from theft and vandalism, with products including temporary fencing and video surveillance.

Last month, Australian smart water meter company WaterGroup announced it had signed a five-year IoT connectivity partnership with Thinxtra.

WaterGroup said the partnership could lower the costs of implementing water conservation measures for organizations in both the private and public sectors.

Read more: Silver Spring Networks to expand smart light platform across London

Not as forward-looking

The investment from CEFC suggests that it believes in Thinxtra’s decision to back Sigfox. However, Clive Longbottom, analyst at IT advisory company Quocirca believes that the investment may not be as forward looking as the Australian government may think.

“The world of LPWAN is changing: Sigfox was a first mover in the space, but is soon to be left behind in the overall functionality stakes,” he said.

“It is cheaper than other approaches, such as LoRa and NB-IoT/LTE-M, but there are reasons for this;  Sigfox is one-way only: it can only upload data from the device. Therefore, if Thinxtra wants to build a fully intelligent IoT network, it will have to find other means of sending signals to actuators and other devices – which could result in an overly heterogeneous platform with different control systems,” he added.

He concluded that while it was good to see that there was a lot of work and investment going into IoT, governments should be taking a much longer-term view on the technologies they back.

Read more: Vodafone and Spark both announce IoT networks for New Zealand

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Tesla starts Australian “tiny house” tour to show off energy products

tesla-tiny-house-solar-energy

Tesla’s fully renewable ‘tiny house’ has started its tour of Australia, aiming “to educate the public on how to generate, store, and use renewable energy for their home.”

The tiny house is fitted with Tesla’s solar panels and a Powerwall, the company’s energy storage solution. A Model X will tow the house on its tour of Australia, starting in Melbourne before heading to multiple locations in Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide.

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Inside the house, customers can run their home through a mobile design studio, to see how much energy their home could generate, store, and save. Tesla is hoping to sell the full solution to customers, as adding the Powerwall can potentially take customers off the electrical grid.

Tesla already has a major investment in Australia, in the form of a lithium-ion battery. Elon Musk agreed to build the largest lithium-ion plant – three times larger than the current record holder – for South Australia in under 100 days.

The solar panel and Powerwall solution would also help Australians that are struggling to receive solid power from the grid, by using energy taken from solar panels during the day and, if necessary, using and storing energy from the grid at off peak times.

Australia is the ninth largest country by solar capacity, but environmentalists believe the country could be much higher if it invested more into solar solutions.

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