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The Internet of Things in the Clinical Segment Report

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Updated: Apr 16th, 2022

Introduction

Technological advances have emerged as the most significant drivers of economic and social growth in the modern world. Innovations in science and technology over the past two decades have stimulated great socioeconomic developments all over the world. One fairly recent development in information and communication technology is the Internet of Things (IoT). This technology essentially allows disparate physical objects to communicate through the internet, share data, and process their data. Per and Lars-Gunnar declare that the IoT is the next major step in the evolution of ICT industries and infrastructures (89). IoT presents an advancement of the traditional internet as connections move to power not only computing devices but also billions of consumer devices. The healthcare industry is one of the sectors that can benefit from using this technology. The CME BioMedical Technology Design Inc. should look into how it can utilize the technology to increase its profitability. This report will present findings of an investigation on the IoT. It will discuss how the technology could affect CME BioMedical Technology Design Inc.

Current Reality of the IoT

The IoT is made up of a wide array of gadgets and everyday items that have the capability to communicate. The communication capabilities are possible because of the short-range mobile transceivers embedded in individual devices. The devices are therefore able to communicate with people and with other devices. The various things in the network can be uniquely identified and they are able to communicate and exchange information with each other without the need for human intervention. Fleisch reveals that while the IoT idea is not new, it has only recently become relevant to the practical world (128). The progress made in hardware development over the last decade has contributed to the feasibility of this technology. The decline of cost, size, and energy consumption of computer components has made it possible to manufacture extremely small and inexpensive low-end computers. On the other hand, the reduction in the cost of internet access and the increase in available bandwidth has made the mass adoption of the tiny-networked computers that make up the IoT possible.

The ICT industry has recognized the potential of the IoT technology. This technology has been hailed as one of the most significant disruptive innovations in recent times. To enhance its effectiveness, efforts have been made to standardize the IoT. Rajkumar and Chatrapathi document that a number of communications standards such as Wi-Fi and ZigBee have been developed to enable interoperability between devices from different vendors (20). This has made it possible for consumers to use devices from different manufacturers together.

There are a number of applications where IoT is currently being used. The first is in buildings where the IoT is being employed to create a smart environment. Various devices, which are capable of sensing the environment, are deployed and programmed to react to user needs. The IoT has also been employed in the transportation sector where sensors are attached to vehicles, allowing different vehicles to communicate and share information. The devices are also used to monitor and control traffic leading to greater efficiency. The technology has also been deployed in disaster management. The IoT is used to alert people of an impending disaster and locate individuals during disaster recovery works.

Future Perspective

While the IoT technology currently covers many application areas, it is projected that this innovation will become even more pervasive in the future. Per and Lars-Gunnar declare that we live in a rapidly evolving networked society (89). They predict a future where everyone and everything will be connected in real time using technologies such as the IoT. The impact of such an environment on human life will be immense. In this future, all the people and things will be connected at any place and any time leading to efficient access to the necessary information.

The current IoT devices are highly visible to people. Plans are underway to make the devices less visible through the concept of ubiquitous computing. Rajkumar and Chatrapathi declare that the objective of ubiquitous computing it “to invisibly embed our technology in our environment and also in day to day life activities” (21). Technological advances are making it easier to construct miniature devices that have sensing, processing, and communication abilities. In future, these hard to perceive devices will the predominant implementation of the IoT.

There are developments towards making the future IoT devices even less reliant on humans for maintenance. One of the major issues currently facing IoT devices is power storage and usage. Most of the devices that make up the IoT require power to operate (Per and Lars-Gunnar 89). However, the devices are often small which makes it hard to fix batteries with high capacity. As such, the small devices have a short battery life necessitating charging or the replacement of the battery. Research is under way to develop devices that are able to harvest energy from the environment. Such devices will be able to operate indefinitely without human intervention.

How the IoT could affect the Company’s Future

IoT technology is changing company processes and consumer interactions, and it would be prudent for CME to consider the effects that this innovation could have on the future of the company. The IoT will deliver many strategic benefits to the company by presenting new opportunities for expanding the business. According to Saint, the cost of both devices and connectivity is down and the reality and value of what can be delivered through IoT devices is clear (72). Hodgson warns that the connected “things” will be a market disrupter and no matter what market one is in; utilization of IoT technologies will be beneficial to a company (55).

Consumers are purchasing sensor devices, which make up the IoT, at a very high rate. Hodgson reports that connected devices will reach between 25 and 50 billion devices by 2020 (54). This represents a market of about $38.5 billion in 2020, up from 13.4 billion in 2015. Of special note is the market share that the healthcare industry will enjoy. Saunders reports that healthcare applications will account for 15% of the global IoT market by the year 2020 (43). The company needs to be well positioned to exploit the huge market opportunity internet connected healthcare devices present.

The IoT could help the company enhance its services in preventive care. Traditionally, medicine has been aimed at curing ailments that afflict the population. However, the past few decades have seen an emphasis on preventive care as opposed to curative care. Rajkumar and Chatrapathi admit that patient monitoring is one of the most important existing use of IoT (22). Monitoring will require the patients to be in constant contact with the company. This will benefit the company by developing and enhancing the relationship with the clients. Fleisch asserts that companies will profit from using IoT by establishing a new channel to maintain contact with consumers (127).

The number of middle aged and old people in the developed world is high and it continues to increase with the years. This means that diseases that typically afflict the aged such as heart conditions and cancer will become even more prevalent. Saunders notes that policy makers in many developed countries are having trouble coming up with sustainable ways of providing decent health care to the aging population in the future (43). The IoT technology provides a feasible solution by enabling the remote monitoring of patients. Investing in IoT will enable the company to provide the remote patient monitoring services. The consumer base of the company will increase as will its revenue from serving the aging population.

Technical Knowhow the company should acquire/develop

An important technical knowhow that the company should acquire when embracing IoT is security. IoT devices may be prone to security flaws, which is of great concern considering the private nature of the data that these devices communicate. Peppet reveals that if security is not given significant attention, intruders could use simple tools to capture data from a wide array of devices (133). The inherent vulnerabilities of IoT devices arise since consumer-goods makers, rather than computer firms, often manufacture these products. CME would therefore have to acquire or develop technical knowhow in data-security issues. Placing sufficient priority on security concerns would ensure that the IoT devices provided to consumers by the company do not suffer from the vulnerabilities inherent in regular IoT devices.

The company will need to develop the technical knowhow in utilizing cloud computing and analyzing big data. When dealing with the IoT technology, cloud computing is preferred over using company servers since the capacity of the cloud to store and process data is virtually unlimited. It is also more economical to store and process the data from the devices remotely instead of using company on-site computing and database resources. Big Data refers to the ability to identify significant trends or emerging patterns, which can only be detected by rapidly scanning millions of unstructured data items from a wide array of diverse sources. The company’s IT personnel will need to gain proficiency in managing the resources on the cloud. These professionals will also need to understand how to analyze the Big Data and derive useful information from it.

The company will have to acquire proficiency in formulating privacy policies to be applied to the internet of things. The IoT will present privacy issues due to the collection and retention of personal consumer information. While there has been a quick and massive growth in the market for IoT devices, a Federal privacy policy is yet to be introduced. Peppet declares that the law is apparently unprepared for the privacy issues introduced by IoT (135). The company will have to develop the technical capability to develop robust privacy policies and procedures to address the privacy related risks that consumers might face. Peppet warns that when a company collects and stores large amounts of data from its clients, there is an increased risk that the data will be used in ways that the client has not consented to (89). To avoid this privacy risk, the company should engage in data minimization, which involves collecting only the necessary fields of data and discarding the rest.

What the Clinical Segment should focus on

If the company chose to invest in IoT, there are some different healthcare oriented areas where the clinical segment could focus on. The most promising segment is that of wearable sensors. Saunders asserts that 80% of the health care application’s share of the global internet-of-things market will be from services rather than products (43). With this in consideration, the clinical segment should consider focusing on service provision. Wearable sensors fit the criterion of healthcare applications that can be used to provide services to customers.

The company will benefit from investing in the development of new wearable devices. Peppet indicates that there has been a proliferation of wearable sensors over the past two years (100). Sales of these devices have been in the tens of millions and the consumption rate is increasing even as companies develop devices for more fitness and medical applications.

Consumers are attracted to wearable devices as they promise to improve health outcomes. Some wearable devices are designed to influence the behavior of users in order to promote health. Boxer notes that those with chronic conditions can use the IoT devices to get real-time feedback on the impact that their lifestyle is having on their health (9). By providing consumers with wearable sensors, the company will help increase the ability to better diagnose diseases. Wearable sensors will allow patients to communicate more efficiently with their physicians. This will lead to positive health outcomes as health issues will be detected at the earliest instance and action to manage the medical condition implemented. The sensors will also be used to develop unique treatment plans for individuals. The effects of the treatment regimens will be monitored for effectiveness and adjustments recommended based on data analysis.

The efficiency of the healthcare industry can be greatly increased by wearable sensors. These devices can enable hospitals to electronically monitor and connect patients, staff, and medical equipment, reducing the inefficiencies currently faced by many hospitals. In addition to this, the devices will increase access to health care goods to a larger segment of the population. While access to health care services has historically been tied to the availability of health care goods at a particular location, IoT technologies can overcome these barriers to access. Monitoring of a person’s health can be done in real-time by checking key clinical indicators. The indicators can be reported to the healthcare center and the necessary feedback provided to the individual.

Conclusion

This report set out to investigate and present findings on the Internet of Things to the company’s CEO. It began by noting that the IOT is the most significant technological innovation of recent times. The technology is developing rapidly as more connected sensor-based consumer devices are invented and released into the market. The IoT presents a good economic opportunity that the company can exploit to increase its revenue. At the same time, this technology promises to deliver important health goods to consumers and increase the speed with which medical services can be provided to patients. The report has shown how IoT will lead to increased efficiency and improved patient results. From the findings, it would appear that the IoT would have a significant and transformative impact on CME.

References

Boxer, Mark. “The internet of healthy things.” Managed Healthcare Executive 25.3 (2015): 9-9. Web.

Fleisch, Elgar. “What is the internet of things? An economic perspective.” Economics, Management, and Financial markets 5.2 (2010): 125-157. Print.

Hodgson, Karyn. “The Internet of Security Things.” Security Distributing & Marketing 45.9(2015): 54-72. Print.

Peppet, Scott. “Regulating the Internet of Things: First Steps Toward Managing Discrimination, Privacy, Security, and Consent.” Texas Law Review 93.1 (2014): 85-178. Print.

Per, Andersson and Mattsson, Lars-Gunnar. “Service innovations enabled by the internet of things.” IMP Journal 9.1 (2015): 85-106. Print.

Rajkumar, Newlin and Charles Chatrapathi. “Internet of Things: A vision, technical issues, applications and security.” International Journal of Computer Science 2.8 (2014): 20-27. Web.

Saint, Amanda. “Where next for the Internet of Things?” Engineering & Technology 10.1 (2015): 72-75. Web.

Saunders, Andrew. “The internet of everything.” Management Today 5.1 (2014): 40-43. Web.

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