These 3 technologies will shape the future of healthcare

Transforming healthcare through technology is no longer the Sisyphean task it once was. Technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) are all helping to drive change, prevent illnesses, and even reshape healthcare IT.

1. Internet of Things

One executive in the mobility industry recently told me that healthcare is a ‘very careful’ market, which traditionally looks at industries such as defence and avionics and follows suit. Yet progress is being made. For the IoT, there are two benefits: assisting diagnosis and making sure treatment is working. With the latter, for example, sensors are now being piloted in intensive care units. In the former, telephone microphones are now being used to develop algorithms which can assess the early stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“AI is a little behind this, but its scope is potentially more wide-ranging. The key here is in terms of the volume of work; and the fact intelligent health assistants get smarter the more work they do. Millions of samples can be analysed in quick time and patterns gleaned from them. Take CATI as a recent example. The system, short for ‘cognitive automation of time lapse images’, can, alongside aneuploidy screening (PGS), improve embryo selection for pregnancy by preventing the misdiagnosis of mosaic embryos…”

2. Artificial Intelligence

AI is a little behind this, but its scope is potentially more wide-ranging. The key here is in terms of the volume of work; and the fact intelligent health assistants get smarter the more work they do. Millions of samples can be analysed in quick time and patterns gleaned from them. Take CATI as a recent example. The system, short for ‘cognitive automation of time lapse images’, can, alongside aneuploidy screening (PGS), improve embryo selection for pregnancy by preventing the misdiagnosis of mosaic embryos.

3. Blockchain

While these are all fascinating and potentially transformative use cases, they may not stop healthcare from being a risk-averse industry simply due to the sensitivity of the data involved. Blockchain, however, could. By using a secure, distributed ledger, the potential is there to secure patient data in an unprecedented way. There are other benefits too; as one industry executive told me, it will help organisations be more efficient with healthcare budgets, allowing a ‘greater focus on illness prevention rather than cure.’

The combination of blockchain, AI and IoT could therefore be an irresistible one. Patient data secured on the blockchain; AI-enabled assistants and automated health checks cutting time and costs; and millions of ‘things’ connecting the dots and finding better, clearer diagnoses. This is the future of healthcare – and it cannot come soon enough.

(c) istockphoto.com / Antiv3D | deepblue4you

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To find out more about the potential of IoT, blockchain and AI, attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo and AI Expo Global 2018 taking place in London’s Olympia on 18-19 April 2018. You can find out more and register for a free pass here. The event will host 12,000 attendees, a free exhibition of 300+ companies, 500+ speakers across 15 conference tracks. The co-located event series will also host events in Amsterdam and Silicon Valley in 2018.

IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo & AI Expo World Series 2018
Global: 18-19 April 2018, Olympia, London
Europe: 1-2 October 2018, RAI, Amsterdam
North America: 28-29 November 2018, Santa Clara, Silicon Valley

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Lunera wants to define the shape of edge computing

The Dallas Fort Worth airport uses the Lunera lights. Image courtesy of DFW.

This week I met a company called Lunera that’s embedding computing in LED light bulbs. Literally. Each LED bulb slots into a traditional enterprise or commercial lighting ballast and contains an ARM Cortex A7 quad-core processor that also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. Each lightbulb-turned-server also runs a variety of applications in Docker containers.

Is this crazy? The pendulum is clearly swinging back to local compute after years of singing the praises of the cloud. And while in reality a hybrid model will emerge that shunts appropriate jobs to the cloud and other jobs to computers located at the so-called edge, the hype for edge computing is hot and heavy at the moment.

For example, Liqid is a startup that makes software that turns clusters of GPU servers into what it calls “composable infrastructure.” The idea is that factories, manufacturing plants and other operations will need intense high-powered computing to handle real-time data analytics or even some video processing. Because the jobs may change over time, the folks at Liqid believe companies will want what is essentially reconfigurable computing, storage and networking to handle changing demands.

It’s not just startups eyeing edge computing as a source of new profits and IT sales. HP Enterprise has invested significant effort into building servers that can handle the physical environments on plant floors and pack more power than the typical IoT gateway. Having visited manufacturing facilities and seen the local server closets that handle everything from general computing to highly-specific industrial controllers, this vision makes a lot of sense.

However, Lunera is taking this idea out of manufacturing and bringing it to the enterprise. This is where the local computing story falls apart for me. On one hand, the vision of having computing embedded in everyday objects that can run applications locally makes sense. On the other hand, taking the computing that used to be an IT asset and putting it into something that facilities managers used to run puts unfamiliar equipment in the hands of an overburdened IT staff.

It effectively turns a facilities asset into an IT asset, which is actively happening anyhow as IoT invades building systems. So, the recognition of this feels prescient, but perhaps too early. Competitors building lighting “platforms” are designing apps that are designed to go to work with dashboards that building managers or even line managers can use.

These Lunera bulbs have another IT function. Because of the radios in each bulb, it offers a compelling platform for asset tracking and location-based services indoors. There are others doing this without putting a server inside a light bulb. Instead, companies like Mist use existing Wi-Fi access points to create virtual beacons and mesh Wi-Fi. Once again, we’re seeing a traditional IT asset embedded into a facilities asset.

Light bulbs, light switches and other building systems have an innate advantage when it comes to becoming servers or access points. They are everywhere. They have power. And they are mapped out in building plans that can be useful when trying to manage them as computing assets.

So as edge computing becomes a reality does our notion of what a server should look like change along with it? If it does, will we have to go through the inevitable lock-in that computing went through back in the 90s when it became a platform for huge swaths of business value? Or does the shape of computing stay the same? Literally. With ruggedized boxes sitting closer to the action in offices and on plant floors?

I don’t know the answer, but I’m watching startups like Lunera and Liqid to see what the future of edge computing actually looks like.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Every Connection Matters – Shape Tomorrow and Help Close Digital Divides

We are currently living a special moment in time, a sort of paradox.

Today, almost half of the world’s population already has Internet access. This figure is much higher than anything we could have anticipated 10 years ago, an achievement we should be happily celebrating.

But a recent report by the Internet Society, Paths To Our Digital Future, shows there are no guarantees when it comes to the Internet’s future.  To achieve a digital future where people come first will require new thinking, new approaches, and new tools for this rapidly changing world around us.

And with this we find ourselves facing an even greater challenge. This is no longer the Internet of 10% of the world’s population. It is the Internet of 50% of the people around the world; in some countries, Internet penetration is now close to 100%.

The Internet has become essential, and the opportunity gap between those who are connected and those who are not grows each day. We cannot afford to remain indifferent to this Internet revolution.

If we don’t connect the remaining 50%, this gap could have long-term consequences for the opportunities that present themselves later in life.

After the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, discussions on the digital divide have become more concrete and have gained greater visibility. We are no longer talking just about connecting people, but about how we use the Internet and ICTs to achieve development goals in education, health care, employment, gender equality, and other areas.

If we do not make further progress in Internet development, we will not make progress in bringing benefits such as universal education and access to health care services. We will not make progress towards achieving the SDGs, which will affect the ability for people to improve their quality of life. In the end, it’s all about people and people should be at the heart of our work.

Next week, the Internet Society will be participating at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC). Government, private sector, and civil society representatives from around the world will meet for this significant international conference organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This is where critical work must happen. Policy and decision makers will meet from around the world to make decisions about the future of things like Internet access.

It is critical that the world send a clear message that we need a digital future where humanity is at the hear of the Internet. And for that to happen will require new thinking, new approaches, and new tools for this rapidly changing world around us.

An example of this can be seen in something known in the Internet world as “Community Networking.” Community Networks are typically built so some of the words hardest-to-reach places can connect. Many of them are, in a way, “homemade.” In fact, one of their most exciting commonalities is they can be built by anyone, regardless of technical background

Community Networks are a clear example of what we need more of. We need world leaders to stand behind them and support policies that can make them happen. Especially when we participate along with governments that can help scale activities and make changes to old policies – changes that innovate to enable infrastructure development.

Countries that don’t design and implement concrete strategies for Internet development and Internet-based development may not be able to fully achieve their sustainable development goals, seriously compromising their future.

This is a great opportunity for governments, an opportunity that should not be wasted. An opportunity for sharing experiences, for setting aggressive goals – the time for modest goals is long gone – and for making sure that legal, regulatory and political frameworks will be catalysts and enablers of development, not obstacles hindering its progress.

It’s time to move forward. Together we can tell policies and decision makers it’s time to #ShapeTomorrow and give the world the tools it needs to achieve the SDGs.

Let’s take action for a connected world.

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Get into shape as you game with Cykill

If you’re having trouble finding time to work out because you’d rather play video games, then this is the solution you’ve been waiting for. The Cykill modifies a normal exercise bike into a device that won’t let you power on your Xbox unless you’re pedaling sufficiently fast enough.

Making this even more motivating, is that if you stop pedaling fast enough, it immediately cuts power, ruining any in-progress game, and potentially even damaging your hard drive!

To implement this hack, Instructables user “Fuzzy-Wobble” used an Arduino Uno to intercept the bike’s normal control signals. From this data, as well as settings on a custom control panel, it decides whether or not to activate switchable plug that provides power to the Xbox.

If you’d like to build your own forced-fitness setup, be sure to check out the project’s write-up here. Gaming not your thing? Perhaps it’s Netflix binge-watching getting in the way of your healthy lifestyle instead…

Arduino Blog

5 IoT Trends Taking Shape in 2017

5 IoT Trends Taking Shape in 2017

The Internet of Things is arguably the biggest trend in tech today. However, within the realm of the IoT itself, there are additional trends taking shape that have the potential to influence how things are connected going forward, and how our world will become even more connected as time goes on. Many of these trends have been building for some time, but as we move through 2017, are starting to gain some steam. While there are undoubtedly many changes and developments on the horizon, the following are the trends dominating the world of the IoT right now.

1. Increased Adoption

We’ve all heard the statistics about the potential for more than 50 billion connected devices within the next five years. But what does that really look like?

Smart devices have been on the market for several years now; the first Nest connected thermostats were introduced in 2011, for instance. However, consumer adoption of these devices is now taking place at extraordinary rates. As connected devices have become easier to use, with the average person able to not only install but configure their gadgets, they have become more popular, especially given the drop in prices. Devices like the Amazon Echo are now common in many homes, along with connected refrigerators, stoves, and other appliances. Surveys indicate that within the next 18 months, more than 70 percent of homes will have connected thermostats, while 60 percent will have a smart security system. Customers are more willing than ever before to pay more for a smart appliance or tool, and thus adoption of the IoT is only going to continue to increase

2. Growing Security Concerns

With more people adding connected devices to their homes, concerns about the security of the IoT are also on the rise. We’ve already seen large scale IoT-related attacks, and hackers are looking for ways to leverage connected devices into a means to steal valuable data. Thus far, most IoT devices have been limited in their security capabilities, but that is changing. Look for developers to renew their focus on securing devices, and for concepts like Blockchain to become a more powerful force in protecting privacy and preventing large scale data breaches and attacks.

3. Increased Focus on Interoperability

Currently, there is no common standard in terms of connectivity for the IoT, something that causes a great deal of consternation among engineers and developers. Although Wi-Fi is by far the most common means of connectivity, Bluetooth, ZigBee, and others are also common — and they aren’t going anywhere. Many might argue for creating a standard (with Wi-Fi the most common choice), but the trend is moving more in the direction of interoperability, with connections managed via software. Expect to see a great deal more discussion about connectivity standards, with a major shift toward interoperability rather than a single standard.

4. Increased Focus on Software, Not Hardware

Currently, software is taking precedence in IoT development over hardware development. Many developers are using existing hardware tools, including single-board computers with a 16-bit processor that can be fitted with connectivity. In short, developers aren’t so much concerned with how to connect things to the internet, but are more concerned about the software and giving things the power to actually perform the tasks they are designed for.

5. Artificial Intelligence Is Becoming More Powerful

Much of the success of a connected device relies on the software’s ability to analyze all the data that it collects, determine what is meaningful, and make decisions based on those conclusions. The IoT is making artificial intelligence and machine learning faster and more accurate, by connecting more devices faster than ever, and by creating even more data to reveal more patterns and create more context. We are already seeing advancements in this area on devices like the Amazon Echo, which “learns” your patterns and preferences over time to make more relevant suggestions and add more value to your experience.
As the IoT continues to become a dominant force in our lives, undoubtedly more trends will begin to take shape — and these points will simply be a matter of course for IoT developers. There’s no arguing that we are living in an exciting time for technological development, though, and that the things happening now will have a lasting impact on generations to come.


Cher Zavala is a content coordinator who assists in contributing quality articles on various topics including technology trends and the newest business innovations. Cher has built up many strong relationships over the years within the blogging community and loves sharing her useful tips with others.

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