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Digi International extends customer IoT deployments as new advanced tier Technology Partner in the AWS Partner Network

By News Aggregator

By Zenobia Hegde

Digi International®, a global provider of Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity products and services, announced it has been named an Advanced tier Technology Partner in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) and has achieved AWS IoT Competency status.

Digi will offer proven products integrated with AWS IoT edge services such as AWS IoT and AWS Greengrass. This integration enables customers to easily and securely connect edge devices with cloud applications through AWS IoT.

Digi ConnectCore® 6 Now AWS Greengrass and AWS IoT verified

Digi delivers AWS Greengrass and AWS IoT implementations as part of its Linux software platform support. With AWS Greengrass technology, connected devices can run AWS Lambda functions locally, keep device data in sync, and communicate with other devices securely – even when not connected to the Internet.

This integration enables local edge intelligence with quick responses to local events, allows for operation despite intermittent network connections, and cost-optimises IoT cloud communication.

Compatible products include:

Digi ConnectCore 6UL: The industry’s smallest Linux based SOM built on NXP i.MX6UL processors with pre-certified dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, including SBCs with cellular connectivity options, and TrustFence security.
Digi ConnectCore 6: Industrial Linux SOM/SBC platforms with scalable NXP i.MX6 multicore performance, pre-certified Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi integration, cellular connectivity options, Gigabit Ethernet, and multi-display/camera capabilities.

AWS IoT enabled next-generation Digi XBee® Cellular smart modems

Integrated AWS IoT support for the next-generation Digi XBee Cellular LTE Cat 1 modem will be available in Q1 2018, followed by support for the Digi XBee Cellular LTE-M and Digi XBee Cellular NB-IoT smart modems.

“Smart IoT endpoints provide edge computing capabilities allowing for the creation and delivery of secure, local device-level intelligence,” said senior director Product Management, Embedded Systems at Digi International, Mike Rohrmoser. “The combination of Digi’s connected product expertise and the AWS secure edge and cloud services instantly enable customers to confidently build and deploy new solutions across various segments including but not limited to: industrial, transportation, medical and smart energy.”

Digi will be exhibiting at the Quad at the ARIA in booth 209 at AWS re:Invent 2017 in Las Vegas from November 27 to December 1, providing attendees with a hands-on experience in learning about Digi’s AWS IoT technology-enabled connected embedded products.

Digi will also co-host the AWS re:Invent session “Leaves to Lawns: AWS Greengrass at the Edge and Beyond” on November 28, 2017 from 3:15 to 4:15 PM at the MGM, Level 1, Grand Ballroom 119.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow

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‘Unclonable’ security ICs with ChipDNA technology launched to protect IoT customers

By Zenobia Hegde

Designers can now proactively and inexpensively protect their intellectual property (IP) and products with a solution that is claimed to be immune to invasive physical attacks.

So says Munich-based Maxim Integrated Products, Inc which has launched the DS28E38 DeepCover® secure authenticator. “Security can be complicated,” says Don Loomis, vice president of Maxim’s Micros, Security & Software Business Unit, “but avoiding it is costly.”

It’s a fair start point when assessing security in the Internet of Things, says Jeremy Cowan. “If you’re doing something valuable you should secure it. And with medical equipment it can be pretty heavy stakes,” Loomis adds.

Cyberattacks continue making headlines and iInternet of Things (IoT) devices have been a point of vulnerability — cybercrime damages are projected to cost the world US$6 trillion annually by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

Yet, design security remains an afterthought, with many engineers believing that implementing security is expensive, difficult, and time-consuming, while others are leaving it up to software to protect their systems. Additionally, when secure ICs are used, some are compromised by sophisticated, direct, silicon-level attacks that are commonly launched in an attempt to obtain cryptographic keys and secured data from these integrated circuits (ICs).

The DS28E38 features Maxim’s ChipDNA physical unclonable function (PUF) technology, which the company claims makes it “immune to invasive attacks” because the ChipDNA-based root cryptographic key does not exist in memory or any other static state. Instead, Maxim’s PUF circuit relies on the naturally occurring random analogue characteristics of fundamental MOSFET (Metal-Oxide Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor) semiconductor devices to produce cryptographic keys.

When needed, the circuit generates the key that is unique to the device, and which instantly disappears when it is no longer in use. If the DS28E38 were to come under an invasive physical attack, the attack would cause the sensitive electrical characteristics of the circuit to change, further impeding the breach.

“With Maxim’s ChipDNA PUF technology, the DS28E38 secure authenticator is highly effective and resistant against physical or black-box reverse engineering attacks,” says Michael Strizich, president of MicroNet Solutions Inc. “Even in a worst-case insider attack, the PUF-generated data is likely to remain protected due to the security features implemented by Maxim.”

In addition to the protection benefits, ChipDNA technology simplifies or eliminates the need for complicated secure IC key management as the key can be used directly for cryptographic operations. The ChipDNA circuit has also demonstrated high reliability over process, voltage, temperature, and ageing.

Additionally, to address cryptographic quality, PUF output evaluation to the NIST-based randomness test suite has been successful with pass results. Using the DS28E38, engineers can, from the start, build into their designs a hacking defence. The IC is said to be low-cost and simple to integrate into a customer’s design via Maxim’s single-contact 1-Wire® interface, combined with a low-complexity fixed-function command set including cryptographic operations.

“Designing in hardware-based security early on doesn’t require a lot of effort, resources, or time,” says Scott Jones, managing director of Embedded Security at Maxim Integrated. “With the ChipDNA technology-based DS28E38, designers can easily fortify their products with the highest level of protection. […]

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‘Unclonable’ security ICs with ChipDNA technology launched to protect IoT customers

By News Aggregator

By Zenobia Hegde

Designers can now proactively and inexpensively protect their intellectual property (IP) and products with a solution that is claimed to be immune to invasive physical attacks.

So says Munich-based Maxim Integrated Products, Inc which has launched the DS28E38 DeepCover® secure authenticator. “Security can be complicated,” says Don Loomis, vice president of Maxim’s Micros, Security & Software Business Unit, “but avoiding it is costly.”

It’s a fair start point when assessing security in the Internet of Things, says Jeremy Cowan. “If you’re doing something valuable you should secure it. And with medical equipment it can be pretty heavy stakes,” Loomis adds.

Cyberattacks continue making headlines and iInternet of Things (IoT) devices have been a point of vulnerability — cybercrime damages are projected to cost the world US$6 trillion annually by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

Yet, design security remains an afterthought, with many engineers believing that implementing security is expensive, difficult, and time-consuming, while others are leaving it up to software to protect their systems. Additionally, when secure ICs are used, some are compromised by sophisticated, direct, silicon-level attacks that are commonly launched in an attempt to obtain cryptographic keys and secured data from these integrated circuits (ICs).

The DS28E38 features Maxim’s ChipDNA physical unclonable function (PUF) technology, which the company claims makes it “immune to invasive attacks” because the ChipDNA-based root cryptographic key does not exist in memory or any other static state. Instead, Maxim’s PUF circuit relies on the naturally occurring random analogue characteristics of fundamental MOSFET (Metal-Oxide Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor) semiconductor devices to produce cryptographic keys.

When needed, the circuit generates the key that is unique to the device, and which instantly disappears when it is no longer in use. If the DS28E38 were to come under an invasive physical attack, the attack would cause the sensitive electrical characteristics of the circuit to change, further impeding the breach.

“With Maxim’s ChipDNA PUF technology, the DS28E38 secure authenticator is highly effective and resistant against physical or black-box reverse engineering attacks,” says Michael Strizich, president of MicroNet Solutions Inc. “Even in a worst-case insider attack, the PUF-generated data is likely to remain protected due to the security features implemented by Maxim.”

In addition to the protection benefits, ChipDNA technology simplifies or eliminates the need for complicated secure IC key management as the key can be used directly for cryptographic operations. The ChipDNA circuit has also demonstrated high reliability over process, voltage, temperature, and ageing.

Additionally, to address cryptographic quality, PUF output evaluation to the NIST-based randomness test suite has been successful with pass results. Using the DS28E38, engineers can, from the start, build into their designs a hacking defence. The IC is said to be low-cost and simple to integrate into a customer’s design via Maxim’s single-contact 1-Wire® interface, combined with a low-complexity fixed-function command set including cryptographic operations.

“Designing in hardware-based security early on doesn’t require a lot of effort, resources, or time,” says Scott Jones, managing director of Embedded Security at Maxim Integrated. “With the ChipDNA technology-based DS28E38, designers can easily fortify their products with the highest level of protection. […]

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ProLabs launches a high-performance NBase-T copper compatible transceiver

By News Aggregator

By Zenobia Hegde

The provider of compatible optical networking infrastructure, ProLabs, has introduced its latest development to the world of transceivers with its new high-speed SFP- NBase-T transceiver.

Ideal for bi-directional communication over copper cable, the NBase-T transceiver module is a high-performance integrated duplex data link, with the ability to support 2.5G transfer speeds at cable lengths of up to 100M using Cat5e cabling and 5G using Cat 6 Cabling.

“More than 90% of structured cabling installed between 2003-2014 (approximately 70 billion meters) has been CAT5/6, with current technologies’ throughput on these cable types limited to 1Gbps. This will be a bottleneck to delivering bandwidth available from end points such as 802.11ac that have the capability to deliver greater than 1.3 Gbps with Wave 1 and greater than 2.3 Gbps with emerging Wave 2 products,” said Tony Lefebvre, VP Products & Marketing at ProLabs.

“Rather than incur the time and expense of replacing existing plant with CAT6A/7 or fiber, the NBase-T transceiver solution from ProLabs enables customers to use existing SFP+ port on their network equipment and connect over existing CAT5/6, delivering 2.5/5Gbps throughput. With the NBASE-T transceiver solution, customers can greatly increase their time-to-service and defer costly re-cabling.”

With the advent of 802.11ac with Wave 2 Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) products delivering greater than 2.3 Gbps, customers need to address the backhaul connectivity which in the case of CAT5/6 is limited to 1Gbps with current technologies. When replacing existing previous generation AP’s, the NBASE-T transceiver enables customers to keep their CAT5/6 infrastructure intact while delivering the throughput required by the newly added 802.11ac AP.

HD CCTV and high-performance computing also benefit from NBase-T’s greater throughput, allowing these and other bandwidth hungry applications to run at a higher rate over existing infrastructure, not only improving end user quality of experience but deferring costly cabling infrastructure replacement programs.

The IEEE-802.3bz/NBase-T transceiver is SFF-8431 and SF-8432 MSA compliant with low power consumption and EMI emissions. It also features MDI/MDIX crossover with unshielded and shielded cable support, multiple loopback modes for testing and troubleshooting, built-in cable monitoring and link diagnostic features, and robust die cast housing.

For more information on the NBase-T and other ProLabs products, please visit the website.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow

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Renesas Electronics Europe successfully held its first European R-Car consortium forum

By Zenobia Hegde

Renesas Electronics Europe, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, announced that it successfully held its first European R-Car Consortium (RCC) Forum. The Forum, held on November 9, 2017 in Düsseldorf, attracted a large audience of participants from over 35 automotive OEM and Tier 1 and connected car specialised IT providers.

The R-Car Family is Renesas’ family of innovative and high-performance systems-on-chip (SoC) for automotive applications. The R-Car Consortium (RCC) comprises over 220 partners around the world who work with Renesas’ R-Car in the development of their own products. The RCC is sparking innovation by making available to car OEMs & Tiers1s a large database of system solutions from a broad range of technology partners.

RCC Forum is a regular event organised by Renesas and enabling fruitful exchanges and networking between technology partners and Renesas R-Car customers. More than 30 of these technology partners participated at the first European RCC Forum, which focused on the future of connected car, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving.

“We’re delighted with the success of the first European R-Car Consortium Forum,” said Guenther Elsner, vice president Automotive Solution Business Unit, Renesas Electronics Europe. “It looks like it will become a must-attend event in the automotive world like the equivalent forums in Japan. We’re proud to be working with such innovative partners to shape the future of mobility together.”

During the event, Shinichi Yoshioka, senior vice president, Automotive Solution Business Unit, Renesas Electronics Corporation, has presented the Renesas autonomy™ Platform for ADAS and automated driving, and stressed the valuable roles of technology partners to build open, innovative and trusted solutions that shorten and secure development cycles and their contribution to the Renesas autonomy fleet.

As highlight of the event, Renesas exposed for the first time in Europe its connected car demonstrator based on solutions by Renesas and partners that are part of the Renesas autonomy Platform. The Renesas autonomy Platform covers end-to-end solutions for autonomous driving.

The connected car includes an emotion engine, which is an artificial sensibility and intelligence technology pioneered by cocoro SB Corp., a SoftBank Group company. The engine enables cars with the sensibility to read the driver’s emotions and optimally respond to the driver’s needs based on their emotional state.

In a dedicated exhibition space, Renesas highlighted R-car technologies for integrated cockpit and ADAS, and more than 30 partners displayed R-car-based demo solutions.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow

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Renesas Electronics Europe successfully held its first European R-Car consortium forum

By News Aggregator

By Zenobia Hegde

Renesas Electronics Europe, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, announced that it successfully held its first European R-Car Consortium (RCC) Forum. The Forum, held on November 9, 2017 in Düsseldorf, attracted a large audience of participants from over 35 automotive OEM and Tier 1 and connected car specialised IT providers.

The R-Car Family is Renesas’ family of innovative and high-performance systems-on-chip (SoC) for automotive applications. The R-Car Consortium (RCC) comprises over 220 partners around the world who work with Renesas’ R-Car in the development of their own products. The RCC is sparking innovation by making available to car OEMs & Tiers1s a large database of system solutions from a broad range of technology partners.

RCC Forum is a regular event organised by Renesas and enabling fruitful exchanges and networking between technology partners and Renesas R-Car customers. More than 30 of these technology partners participated at the first European RCC Forum, which focused on the future of connected car, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving.

“We’re delighted with the success of the first European R-Car Consortium Forum,” said Guenther Elsner, vice president Automotive Solution Business Unit, Renesas Electronics Europe. “It looks like it will become a must-attend event in the automotive world like the equivalent forums in Japan. We’re proud to be working with such innovative partners to shape the future of mobility together.”

During the event, Shinichi Yoshioka, senior vice president, Automotive Solution Business Unit, Renesas Electronics Corporation, has presented the Renesas autonomy™ Platform for ADAS and automated driving, and stressed the valuable roles of technology partners to build open, innovative and trusted solutions that shorten and secure development cycles and their contribution to the Renesas autonomy fleet.

As highlight of the event, Renesas exposed for the first time in Europe its connected car demonstrator based on solutions by Renesas and partners that are part of the Renesas autonomy Platform. The Renesas autonomy Platform covers end-to-end solutions for autonomous driving.

The connected car includes an emotion engine, which is an artificial sensibility and intelligence technology pioneered by cocoro SB Corp., a SoftBank Group company. The engine enables cars with the sensibility to read the driver’s emotions and optimally respond to the driver’s needs based on their emotional state.

In a dedicated exhibition space, Renesas highlighted R-car technologies for integrated cockpit and ADAS, and more than 30 partners displayed R-car-based demo solutions.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow

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Huawei rotating CEO Ken Hu: Building intelligent networks and reshaping the world with mobile

By Zenobia Hegde

The 8th Global Mobile Broadband Forum kicked off in London yesterday, gathering over 1,400 leaders from mobile telecom operators, vertical industries, standards organisations, and industrial alliances around the world. Ken Hu, the deputy chairman and rotating CEO at Huawei, outlined a world where all things are connected, presenting telecom operators with nearly limitless growth potential.

Today, there are 20 million shipping containers in the world, and 300 million LED streetlamps. There will be 1.8 billion water metres by 2025, and every year, 100 million new bicycles roll off the factory floor. “Each of these is a potential new subscriber,” said Hu. “But to support a future where all things are connected, telecom operators need to strengthen network performance and management. Future networks need to be application-centric, data-driven – and eventually, intelligent.”

“We have to believe that everything can be connected and will be connected,” he continued. “These opportunities are real. But to seize them, we need a new model.”

Hu calls this new model the “scale-out and scale-up approach.” First, he recommends that telcos scale out to provide more connections. This will generate revenue, and pave the way for scaling up. Next, they can work with partners to develop value-added services based on the specific needs of industrial applications.

To support these valued-added services, Hu stressed the importance of strengthening networks and making them smarter. “Telcos can start by accelerating deployment of 4.5G and NB-IoT to boost network performance and pave the way for 5G. Then they need to take a look at O&M.”

On average, network equipment O&M costs roughly three to four times the cost of the equipment itself. Furthermore, 70% of major network faults are the result of simple human error. “This is not sustainable,” said Hu. “But big data analytics and artificial intelligence have given us the tools we need to build smarter networks.”

“When facing structural problems, we need architectural innovation,” Hu explained. “With operational data, we can feed ‘digital brains’ of sorts that control and manage networks more intelligently. From O&M to service provisioning, we want to build networks that are automated, self-optimising, and self-healing. Full autonomy is what we’re aiming for. This will drive an exponential increase in efficiency and resource allocation across the board.”

Huawei has made exciting progress in this area, Hu noted. “We are developing predictive maintenance systems for network sites. With operational data and A.I., we can predict up to 50% of network faults, helping our customers reduce network failure rates by 20%.”

Huawei predicts that there will be 100 billion connections around the world by 2025. Beyond intelligence, Hu touched on the need to boost network performance. “To support a massive number of connections between things, our networks need much greater capacity and lower, more reliable latency. Most importantly, behind the scenes they need intelligent systems driving performance. Networks are more complicated than ever before, with greater demand for agility. Traditional approaches to network management won’t be able to keep up.”

Hu continued, “All industries are now adopting digital technology and artificial intelligence. Not just manufacturing and […]

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Huawei rotating CEO Ken Hu: Building intelligent networks and reshaping the world with mobile

By News Aggregator

By Zenobia Hegde

The 8th Global Mobile Broadband Forum kicked off in London yesterday, gathering over 1,400 leaders from mobile telecom operators, vertical industries, standards organisations, and industrial alliances around the world. Ken Hu, the deputy chairman and rotating CEO at Huawei, outlined a world where all things are connected, presenting telecom operators with nearly limitless growth potential.

Today, there are 20 million shipping containers in the world, and 300 million LED streetlamps. There will be 1.8 billion water metres by 2025, and every year, 100 million new bicycles roll off the factory floor. “Each of these is a potential new subscriber,” said Hu. “But to support a future where all things are connected, telecom operators need to strengthen network performance and management. Future networks need to be application-centric, data-driven – and eventually, intelligent.”

“We have to believe that everything can be connected and will be connected,” he continued. “These opportunities are real. But to seize them, we need a new model.”

Hu calls this new model the “scale-out and scale-up approach.” First, he recommends that telcos scale out to provide more connections. This will generate revenue, and pave the way for scaling up. Next, they can work with partners to develop value-added services based on the specific needs of industrial applications.

To support these valued-added services, Hu stressed the importance of strengthening networks and making them smarter. “Telcos can start by accelerating deployment of 4.5G and NB-IoT to boost network performance and pave the way for 5G. Then they need to take a look at O&M.”

On average, network equipment O&M costs roughly three to four times the cost of the equipment itself. Furthermore, 70% of major network faults are the result of simple human error. “This is not sustainable,” said Hu. “But big data analytics and artificial intelligence have given us the tools we need to build smarter networks.”

“When facing structural problems, we need architectural innovation,” Hu explained. “With operational data, we can feed ‘digital brains’ of sorts that control and manage networks more intelligently. From O&M to service provisioning, we want to build networks that are automated, self-optimising, and self-healing. Full autonomy is what we’re aiming for. This will drive an exponential increase in efficiency and resource allocation across the board.”

Huawei has made exciting progress in this area, Hu noted. “We are developing predictive maintenance systems for network sites. With operational data and A.I., we can predict up to 50% of network faults, helping our customers reduce network failure rates by 20%.”

Huawei predicts that there will be 100 billion connections around the world by 2025. Beyond intelligence, Hu touched on the need to boost network performance. “To support a massive number of connections between things, our networks need much greater capacity and lower, more reliable latency. Most importantly, behind the scenes they need intelligent systems driving performance. Networks are more complicated than ever before, with greater demand for agility. Traditional approaches to network management won’t be able to keep up.”

Hu continued, “All industries are now adopting digital technology and artificial intelligence. Not just manufacturing and […]

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How IoT will disrupt healthcare

By Zenobia Hegde

There are hundreds of proposals for the IoT in the health services. Half of them could be terrible. If only we knew which half! I’m not sure about other countries but whenever I hear about ‘disruptive technology’ and the British National Health Service (NHS), I always feel nervous.

We’ve already wasted £11 billion (€12.31 billion) and rising on a ‘fit for purpose’ programme for IT that wasn’t fit for anything. It would be a brave NHS purchaser that would sign off on any more ‘disruption’. Surely, if they are going to sell the idea, they need a new catchphrase, says Nick Booth, freelance IT and communications writer.

For now, in this sector at least, IoT needs to be a bit less brash and ambitious. We don’t want to see any more flash IT salesmen flaunting their wealth. Acqueon claims its IoT could save the NHS £500 million (€559.72 million) a year. Well, OK, prove it, by taking your payment as a commission on the savings you create.

The savings they are so confident about will come from solving the problem of medication noncompliance – that situation where patients don’t keep taking the pills. This will get worse as our population ages. IoT connected pill boxes don’t miss their doses.

Failing to take medication correctly leads to 200,000 premature deaths in Europe a year. Partly it’s because the old are bamboozled with complicated drug taking regimes. This polypharmacy involves a smorgasboard of pills which have to be taken in varying intervals.

A smart pill box knows when they’ve not been opened and sends automated reminders to the patient. If these messages go answered and the pill box still not opened, the device snitches on you to the clinician who then phones you directly.

Robots are getting old now too. The first robot assistant, the Arthrobot, made its debut in an operating theatre in 1984. Since then, robots have performed surgery on everything in degrees of complexity ranging from eyes and knees to neurosurgery.

Imperial College London created the PROBOT, which first performed prostate surgery at Guy’s & St Thomas’s Hospital in 1992. The robots are starting to take on human characteristics.

They’re starting to leave pieces of equipment in the patients, just like their human counterparts. This is all documented in Adverse Events in Robotic Surgery: A Retrospective Study of 14 Years of FDA Data. The authors from University of Illinois, Michigan Institute of Technology and Rush Medical Center compiled the report from MAUDE data (as in Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience).

In a study of 1.74 million robotic surgical procedures – mostly urological or gynaecological – the data recorded 8,061 device malfunctions, 1,391 patient injuries and 144 patient deaths. Adverse incidents included electrical arcing, sparking or charring of instruments and the falling of broken or burnt pieces into the patient’s body. Such incidents were said to have contributed to 119 injuries and one patient death.

“Clearly, operations utilising robotics are not without their risk, says Greg McEwen, partner at insurance law specialist BLM. As he points out, incidents relating to broken or left behind instruments […]

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How IoT will disrupt healthcare

By News Aggregator

By Zenobia Hegde

There are hundreds of proposals for the IoT in the health services. Half of them could be terrible. If only we knew which half! I’m not sure about other countries but whenever I hear about ‘disruptive technology’ and the British National Health Service (NHS), I always feel nervous.

We’ve already wasted £11 billion (€12.31 billion) and rising on a ‘fit for purpose’ programme for IT that wasn’t fit for anything. It would be a brave NHS purchaser that would sign off on any more ‘disruption’. Surely, if they are going to sell the idea, they need a new catchphrase, says Nick Booth, freelance IT and communications writer.

For now, in this sector at least, IoT needs to be a bit less brash and ambitious. We don’t want to see any more flash IT salesmen flaunting their wealth. Acqueon claims its IoT could save the NHS £500 million (€559.72 million) a year. Well, OK, prove it, by taking your payment as a commission on the savings you create.

The savings they are so confident about will come from solving the problem of medication noncompliance – that situation where patients don’t keep taking the pills. This will get worse as our population ages. IoT connected pill boxes don’t miss their doses.

Failing to take medication correctly leads to 200,000 premature deaths in Europe a year. Partly it’s because the old are bamboozled with complicated drug taking regimes. This polypharmacy involves a smorgasboard of pills which have to be taken in varying intervals.

A smart pill box knows when they’ve not been opened and sends automated reminders to the patient. If these messages go answered and the pill box still not opened, the device snitches on you to the clinician who then phones you directly.

Robots are getting old now too. The first robot assistant, the Arthrobot, made its debut in an operating theatre in 1984. Since then, robots have performed surgery on everything in degrees of complexity ranging from eyes and knees to neurosurgery.

Imperial College London created the PROBOT, which first performed prostate surgery at Guy’s & St Thomas’s Hospital in 1992. The robots are starting to take on human characteristics.

They’re starting to leave pieces of equipment in the patients, just like their human counterparts. This is all documented in Adverse Events in Robotic Surgery: A Retrospective Study of 14 Years of FDA Data. The authors from University of Illinois, Michigan Institute of Technology and Rush Medical Center compiled the report from MAUDE data (as in Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience).

In a study of 1.74 million robotic surgical procedures – mostly urological or gynaecological – the data recorded 8,061 device malfunctions, 1,391 patient injuries and 144 patient deaths. Adverse incidents included electrical arcing, sparking or charring of instruments and the falling of broken or burnt pieces into the patient’s body. Such incidents were said to have contributed to 119 injuries and one patient death.

“Clearly, operations utilising robotics are not without their risk, says Greg McEwen, partner at insurance law specialist BLM. As he points out, incidents relating to broken or left behind instruments […]

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