Aged Care and the “Internet of Caring Things”

As sensor-driven technology at home starts to deliver a better quality of life for elderly, it will redefine our idea of modern aged care. IBM master inventor, Susann Keohane, made the observation in an interview with The Australian, where she spoke about how The Internet of Things (IoT) will one day evolve into “Internet of Caring Things” (IoCT).

IoT is when connected devices, vehicles and buildings collect and exchange data to later make informed decisions. IoT has been a key topic in the IT industry in recent years, particularly about the benefits it could bring to industries such as health and aged care.

IoCT refers to a network of Internet-connected devices in the home used to proactively monitor the health of an elderly resident. The data collected by the devices is sent to and stored in the Cloud, where it is then analysed to help medical professionals provide optimum care and better inform family members.

Monitoring of an elderly resident is the most common implementation of the technology. However, Keohane said it will need to do more to empowers users and provide them with greater autonomy within the comfort of their homes.

“If you can keep someone in their homes that little bit longer, that translates to huge wealth preservation,” she said. “You are going to see a lot more integrated care in the future, and caring for the elderly won’t be an isolated piece of the whole healthcare conversation.”

Patterns within the data

IBM has already started a pilot project around the technology in Bolzano, Italy, a city where almost a quarter of the population is over the age of 65. After looking through the patterns of daily activity, IBM’s system identified the elderly residents that needed to move higher up the list for allocated visits.

While the pilot has already demonstrated how the technology can benefit the community, Keohane said adoption will play a key role in determining the future of potential services. But with data being collected through ambient sensors in the home, concerns about privacy has the potential to act as an inhibitor.

The emphasis for IBM’s pilot project is finding patterns, so the system is not collecting sensitive data such as health or biometric readings. Even so, Keohane recommends careful consideration when deciding how the data collected will be governed in the future as the ecosystem evolves.

“The clients we are working for are assisted living providers, so in that case the data collected belongs to them and they use it to allocate the right resources,” Keohane said. “As smart homes and smart appliances become more prevalent, there are important questions that will need to be answered around ethics and governance, and every country may come up with its own model.”

Preparing for the future

In order to support emerged technologies such as IoT and wearables, aged and healthcare facilities need fast and reliable technology infrastructure. BTAS Connect can bring fast fibre-powered WAN and Internet powered to your village, while BTAS Network is end-to-end network management for peace of mind.

Symmetric connectivity of BTAS Connect means uploads are equally fast as downloads, so you’ll be able to add high quality content to the Cloud within minutes. High speed broadband also means you do not need to worry about the reliability of your file transfers or the availability of the Internet.

BTAS Network is designed to not only manage your network, but also secure it. Our Network Operations Centre (NOC) will proactively monitor your network, ensuring you remained focused on running your village and not distracted by the running of technology.

Contact us today to find out how BTAS Connect and BTAS Network can enable your business.