By Prerna Lal, Faculty, International Management Institute, New Delhi.
Advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT) has impacted every facet of our life. Application of IoT extends from building smart homes, smart cities, wearable devices to connected cars and connected health. Organizations and enterprises in every sector are utilizing the benefits of IoT; to stay connected- be it education, manufacturing, automobiles, or healthcare. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data and also communicate with one another. With this comes a challenge to provide a networking platform to billions of devices that are becoming a part of IoT every day so that they can stay connected and communicate. This has resulted in the evolution of “Device Mesh”, which is forecasted to be one of the top strategic technology trends of 2016 by Gartner in its study on identifying the technologies that will impact organization until 2020.
Gartner defines Device Mesh as “an expanding set of endpoints people use to access applications and information or interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses. The Device Mesh includes mobile devices, wearables, consumer and home electronic devices, automotive devices and environmental devices — such as sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT) ”.
The ubiquity of computing and in recent year’s ubiquity of computing thru smartphones, tablets and other hand-held communication devices has resulted in the need and demand for on-demand connectivity and accessibility. Consumers and users of such computing devices expect a seamless user experience –across networks, across platforms and across geographies. Instantaneous connection and response is a given and expected by all users. This is the underlying fundamental pillar of Device Mesh. All these devices are connected or linked back to vast back-end networks and Data Center hubs. While some facilitate separate interactions between one another and often blur the lines between reality and technology. This is due to the fact some of these items connected to the Grid or thru the Device Mesh are not what can be deemed as technology. And yet automobiles, factories, LEED or energy-efficient buildings could be synched or connected to wearables and other mobile or smart apps.
Device Mesh is beneficial to all organizations across sectors and the healthcare is no exception. In healthcare Device Mesh is commonly called as Medical Mesh and is helpful in strengthening digital healthcare services and systems. This assists doctors and resident nurses in tracking the medical condition and progress of patients as they have real- time and critical access to their electronic health records.
The most significant application of Device Mesh in healthcare is in implementing preventive care where Devices Mesh is used to collect health data of patient through wearable devices that are either adhered to the body, ingested, or surgically implanted. These wearable devices incorporate three components namely sensors, displays and computing architecture. These are very useful in remote monitoring of health as preventive measures can be taken as soon as gathered or monitored data signals professional attention. These devices are capable of collecting data regarding heart rate variability, steps, blood pressure, respiratory rate, body temperature, fall detection, etc. These devices don’t work in silos but are connected and can communicate with each other in real- time. This Device Mesh can help doctors in creating a complete picture of health conditions so informed decisions on issues can be taken as quickly as possible.
Advancement in technology and introduction of Device Mesh has opened new avenues in healthcare ensuring safety and care of senior citizens as well as patients with chronic diseases. Further, it has also improved the quality of patient care. Though technology can never replace the experience of doctors and significance of one-to-one interaction, but data collected through healthcare devices and real- time access of data adds value in terms of providing critical health information for quick responses to emergency or dire situations. Healthcare organizations can use this opportunity and apply Device Mesh for engaging their patients and ensuring personal care at lower cost.