Recent years have seen an explosion in the field of health apps, wearable devices and sensors monitoring many aspects of health and fitness. With an ageing population and the rise in multiple chronic conditions, demands on the health and social care system are increasing. Improving prevention and empowering patients to manage their own health can be successful strategies to eventually reduce financial pressures and improve patient outcomes. With some caution and appropriate patient safety checks, sensors and devices connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) can be great tools to deliver enhanced prevention, early diagnosis and the self-management of chronic conditions. But how far can sensors and wearables really take us in delivering such goals?
Organizations that rely heavily on data are increasingly likely to use cloud, fog, and edge computing infrastructures. These architectures allow organizations to take advantage of a variety of computing and data storage resources, including the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Cloud, fog and edge computing may appear similar, but they are different layers of the IIoT. Edge computing for the IIoT allows processing to be performed locally at multiple decision points for the purpose of reducing network traffic. WINSYSTEMS' expertise in industrial embedded computer systems can leverage the power of the IIoT to enable the successful design of high-performing industrial applications.
IoT has enabled users to access control over a multitude of "smart" devices while also unlocking unlimited possibilities for operators in new markets, such as farming, utilities and transportation. A Gartner study claimed that by 2020 there will be around 26 billion IoT connected devices. Imagine the data they collect and the necessary technology required to process it. Until recently, cloud computing was the answer for storing and processing data collections from IoT applications. Analysts at Gartner have also raised the alarm on the inefficiency, from both a technical and economical standpoint, of sending all of the gathered data to a single site for processing.
This drastic reduction in latency alone makes a number of futuristic technologies – such as autonomous vehicles – possible. The advent of cloud computing set off a colossal centralization fever that has caught almost every business that understands the importance of a digital-first business strategy. Even the world's governments and public sector organizations are leveraging the advantages offered by cloud computing. Easy access to data, powerful analytical tools, and improved business agility have enabled organizations to make more "intelligent" and informed decisions than ever before. However, over the next few years, a rival computing architecture approach – decentralization – will witness a sharp uptick in popularity, fueled by edge computing.
The global market for Internet of Things medical devices is expected to exceed $500 billion by 2025, which will likely cause a major paradigm shift in healthcare IT. That's because most computing now happens in on-premises data centers or, increasingly, in the cloud. But analyzing data from a distance poses a number of risks -- including bandwidth congestion, network reliability and latency -- that could negatively affect health outcomes when seconds count. To address these concerns, forward-thinking healthcare organizations are moving to adopt edge computing, in which data is analyzed and acted upon at the point of collection, or on a nearby system situated between the connected device and the cloud (a concept known as "fog computing"). HealthTech asked three experts to discuss the transformative power of edge computing.