GDPR could have connected healthcare providers feeling queasy in 2018

GDPR could have connected healthcare providers feeling queasy in 2018

Analyst firm Berg Insight warns of challenges facing makers of medical devices and apps with the May 2018 introduction of GDPR. 

As 2017 draws to a close, there’s not long to go until the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect. From 25 May 2018 onwards, GDPR will be directly binding and applicable to all data collectors, including makers of IoT devices and providers of the services these devices deliver.

In the healthcare sector, in particular, that could spell trouble, according to a report issued this week from analysts at research firm Berg Insight, Connected Care in Europe. It predicts challenges ahead for companies offering medical devices and apps.

Berg Insight’s analysts are particularly concerned about the kinds of connected healthcare products used for remote patient monitoring in telecare and telehealth applications. “Today, data is increasingly used to help patients, without the need of the patient’s own active involvement,” they explain. “This includes various kinds of health data, as well as user location and movement data, which could be used to identify abnormalities.”

For example, with next-generation telecare systems, if a patient does not leave the house for a few days (or, indeed, does leave the house when they’re not supposed to), or goes to bed at an unusual time, a notification might be sent to relatives or caregivers. Next-generation telehealth systems, meanwhile, will often observe patient’s vital signs and transmit data about their condition to healthcare providers, for use in the remote management of conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

Read more: Time to get moving on GDPR preparation, lawyers warn

Strict set of exemptions

That’s all well and good, but GDPR lays down some very specific rules when it comes personal health data, which it prohibits in all but a very limited set of circumstances.

Exemptions only apply “where the data subject has given consent, where processing  is ‘necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health’, and where it’s needed for research, diagnosis or treatment,” as David Meyer, author of Control Shift: How Technology Affects You and Your Rights, explained in an article for Internet of Business back in July.

That may sound like it clears the way for all clinical IoT, but life isn’t quite so simple, as the GDPR is very strict about purpose limitation,” warns Meyer. It’s also pretty particular in its definition of ‘explicit consent’, too, so a number of specific requirements will need to be in place for a patient’s consent to be deemed valid.

These concerns are echoed at Berg Insight. “While the future is data-driven, end users do care more and more about integrity aspects,” says analyst Anders Frick.

The fact that the regulation, by default, prohibits processing of health data unless this explicit consent is in place, he predicts, “will cause challenges for those telecare and telehealth solution providers that are not proactively working on their preparations. If the solution providers are not prepared for handling processing and storing sensitive data in accordance with GDPR, they could risk heavy fines if not fulfilling the requirements.”

Read more: Why the IoT industry needs to pay attention to ePrivacy Regulation

Hefty penalties

And the work involved looks set to pile up as the number of people using connected care solutions grows: at the end of 2016, the number totalled around 5.9 million across Europe, according to Berg Insight’s estimates. By 2022, it could be as many as 16.5 million people.

But if the compliance workload looks hefty, so do the potential penalties for failing to comply: in the most serious of cases, these could amount to 4 percent of annual turnover or €20 million, whichever sum is the greater. That should be enough to make even the most robust executive team feel a little queasy.

Read more: European Parliament pushes on IoT device security and interoperability

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The GDPR will cause challenges for connected care developers

The GDPR will cause challenges for connected care developers

The GDPR will cause challenges for connected care developers

According to a new research report from the IoT analyst firm Berg Insight, the upcoming implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 will cause challenges for companies in the telecare industry.

Telecare and telehealth apps and devices are potentially generating huge amounts of data that could be used for various purposes. Today, data is increasingly more used to help patients without the need of the patient’s own active involvement. This includes various kinds of health data as well as user location and movement data which could be used to identify abnormalities. If a user does things differently, for example not leaving or going to the bed as usual, a notification can be sent to relatives or care givers.

Legislative authorities in the EU are developing and designing legal frameworks that should be in line with the new data driven world of mobile health. As part of this, the European Commission will in 2018 implement a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that aims to harmonise data protection rules in the EU, ensuring legal certainty for businesses and increasing trust on eHealth services with a consistent high level of protection of individuals. The GDPR aims primarily to give control back to citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international businesses by unifying the regulation within the EU. When the GDPR takes effect, it will replace the data protection directive and it becomes enforceable from May 25 next year after a two-year transition period. It does not require national governments to pass any enabling legislation and will be directly binding and applicable.

chart: connected care systems in use Europe 2016-2022Anders Frick, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight says:
“While the future is data driven, end-users do care more and more about integrity aspects. The GDPR aims to increase privacy for the end-user which is a step in the right direction. The regulation by default actually prohibits processing of health data unless explicit consent has been given. At the same time, this will cause challenges for those telecare and telehealth solution providers that are not proactively working on their preparations.”

“If the solution providers are not enough prepared for handling, processing and storing sensitive data in accordance to GDPR, they could risk heavy fines if not fulfilling the requirements.”

Download report brochure: Connected Care in Europe

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Huawei sets up Connected Factory group to push 5G in manufacturing

Huawei sets up Connected Factory group to push 5G in manufacturing

Huawei special interest group will research potential for next-generation connectivity applications on the factory floor. 

Telecoms equipment giant Huawei, alongside several industry partners, has set up a Wireless Connected Factory Special Interest Group (SIG) to conduct research and promote applications of 5G communication technologies in industrial IoT (IIoT).

The members of the group include ABB, Efort, Bosch, Beckhoff, Hikrobot, Geely, KUKA, and Shenyang Institute of Automation Chinese Academy of Sciences. The first SIG group meeting has been held, with guidance provided by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).

According to Huawei, flexible manufacturing based on smart machines will help redefine future production lines, with next-generation machines featuring plug-and-play technology. These are growing increasingly flexible in terms of their range of functions and can be adjusted to suit different types of production.

Such machines need dynamic, high-performance communications networks, the company says, and wireless technologies can help to reduce network construction and maintenance costs, while also boosting the productivity and safety of workers.

Read more: IIoT adoption increases, but projects still early-stage, says Bsquare

5G’s potential in manufacturing

The manufacturing industry holds significant potential for IoT applications. According to analysis conducted by Huawei Wireless X Labs, connections in this sector worldwide will reach 12.5 billion by 2020, with factory networks accounting for $ 50 billion of the potential market.

At the start of 2017, X Labs targeted wireless robotics as one of its main focuses in its research into wireless use cases. Since then, X Labs and its partners have decided upon the Wireless Connected Factory SIG’s four research priorities: cloud-based programmable logic controllers (PLC); wireless industrial cameras; wireless controlled automated guided vehicles (AGV); and industrial wearables.

“Huawei hopes that SIGs such as those set up by X Labs can discover and inspire many more 5G use cases and promote 5G technologies’ application in future smart manufacturing,” said Ying Weimin, president of Huawei Wireless R&D. “Such efforts will contribute to the rise of connected factories. Huawei will work diligently alongside its partners to stimulate further growth and innovation.”

Read more: Huawei IoT strategy fuses platform, connections, ecosystem

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Upstream Security secures $9 million to advance cloud-based connected car security

Upstream Security has secured $ 9 million in series A funding to advance its cloud-based cybersecurity platform for connected cars and self-driving vehicles, after securing $ 2 million in a seed funding round in June.

According to the company, the fresh amount will be utilised for expanding its R&D programme, strengthening research teams in the engineering and security divisions and opening marketing and sales offices in the US and Europe.

The funding was led by CRV (Charles River Ventures) and included expanded investments from Glilot Capital Partners and Maniv Mobility.

Izhar Armony, general partner at CRV, said: “Connected and semi-autonomous cars are already a reality, so it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ these self-driving technologies will be deployed at scale. Upstream’s engineers were the first to solve how to protect connected cars and autonomous vehicles using the cloud, crucial for near-term and future deployment of automotive cybersecurity at the fleet level.

"We believe in Upstream’s groundbreaking approach to secure connected and autonomous vehicles and in the abilities of cybersecurity veterans, Yoav Levy and Yonatan Appel, to build a rapidly growing business in this hot, emerging space.”

Talking about the increasing security threats in the connected car industry, Upstream CEO and cofounder Levy commented: “Security solutions for the car are undergoing rapid advances at an unprecedented rate. We’re using emerging technologies like AI and machine learning to carry out an evolutionary leap in cybersecurity for passenger and commercial vehicles.”

It’s not the only money going into this space of late. Earlier this month, Canada-based connected vehicle startup Mojio secured $ 30 million in Series B funding, which will be utilised by the company to expedite its connected-vehicle solution and for global expansion.

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Ericsson forecasts 20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

Ericsson forecasts 20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

Ericsson forecasts 20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report suggests that the number of connected IoT devices should increase at a CAGR of 19 percent up to 2023. More than 20 massive IoT cellular networks have been commercially deployed across several regions.

20 billion connected IoT devices by 2023

By 2023, over 30 billion connected devices1 are forecast, of which around 20 billion will be related to the IoT. Connected IoT devices include connected cars, machines, meters, sensors, point-of-sale terminals, consumer electronics2 and wearables. Between 2017 and 2023, connected IoT devices are expected to increase at a CAGR of 19 percent, driven by new use cases and affordability.

Short-range and wide-area segments

In the figure below, IoT is divided into short-range and wide-area segments. The short-range segment largely consists of devices connected by unlicensed radio technologies, with a typical range of up to 100 meters, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee. This category also includes devices connected over fixed-line local area networks and powerline technologies.

Ericsson Mobility Report chart: connected devices 2015-2023

The wide-area segment consists of devices using cellular connections, as well as unlicensed low-power technologies, such as Sigfox and LoRa.

1.8 billion IoT devices with cellular connections by 2023

At the end of 2017, there will be around 0.5 billion IoT devices with cellular connections. This number is projected to reach 1.8 billion in 2023, or around 75 percent of the wide-area category.

Presently, the dominant technology in the wide-area segment is GSM/GPRS. However, by 2023, IoT cellular connectivity will mainly be provided by LTE and 5G. The majority of these connections will be over LTE networks, while 5G technology will continue to support an increase in IoT applications, especially those requiring critical communications. 5G will also provide mechanisms for rapid and cost-effective introduction and provisioning of new IoT services.

Based on technologies like Cat-M1 and NB-IoT3, a growing number of cellular IoT networks are being deployed, with more than 20 networks now commercially launched across several regions.4

1 In our forecast, a connected device is a physical object that has a processor, enabling communication over a network interface
Note: Traditional landline phones are included for legacy reasons
2 Including: Smart TVs, digital media boxes, Blu-Ray players, gaming consoles, audio/video (AV) receivers, etc.
3 Cat-M1 supports a wide range of IoT applications, including content-rich ones, and NB-IoT is streamlined for ultra-low throughput applications. Both of these technologies are deployed on LTE networks
4 GSA (October 2017)

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