In the UK alone the number of people aged over 65 is expected to climb from around 10 million to 19 million by 2050. This is already creating a huge demand on our care services and driving the need for technology to help take up the strain.
The NHS is investigating ways to deploy M2M in healthcare with a challenge from government to find £20bn worth of efficiency savings by 2015; M2M is viewed as one way that this can be achieved.
From cloud-based services, through to increasingly higher bandwidths available on the mobile network, advances in wireless M2M and IoT technologies are coming to the forefront and will help an ageing population live their lives with a degree of independence for longer. M2M provides many benefits for care providers too, enabling them to focus on higher priority patients and reducing the pressure on surgery waiting times.
M2M devices are already available and will continue to be developed around this application to monitor people and their environments. The devices perform the following main tasks: Health and wellbeing, safety and security - monitoring and initiating action. The devices enable real time monitoring of a person's location and other environmental factors.
One or more sensors may be used to detect movement (or lack of), blood pressure, heart rate and many other factors which can then be transmitted via the mobile network to a cloud-based system responsible for monitoring the data and initiating a set of actions. E.g. an email or automated call could be made to remind a user to take their medication, a nurse could be prompted to call the patient, or a visit made by a specialist care worker.
Devices may be installed in and around a house to monitor room temperatures and detect movement. By doing so it is possible to build a profile of a person's typical day to day life from the time they get up to how long they sleep and how much exercise they are taking.
As a fast growing emerging market, using M2M within healthcare will see many interesting and ingenious IoT devices developed. Siretta products are well positioned to suit these applications with numerous interfaces available to product developers.