This is the first of a long series of posts that will be written by ACTIVAGE’s experts and invited personalities on the exciting topic of the Internet of Things for Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA-IoT). ACTIVAGE is a multi-centric Large Scale Pilot Project which aims to build the first interoperable and open AHA-IoT Ecosystem which enables the deployment and operation of Active & Healthy Ageing IoT-based solutions and services in Europe. You can read more about ACTIVAGE in this website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
This blog is not intended to talk about project activities and findings but rather be a professional forum for presenting and discussing the many issues that arise from the project. Some of them are fascinating opportunities and experiences, new requirements, conditions and demands that will emerge as soon as IoT technologies are moved to produce direct impact on the life of senior citizens in Europe and become a driving actor in the Silver Economy.
Everything is still to be done in IoT for Healthcare and AHA! The challenge is huge: as public demand grows every day, the governments and the civil society need to become aware of AHA-IoT, trustworthiness shall be built upon socio-economic and technological ecosystems, different levels of personal data safety and security and new national and European directives on data and Information security shall arise to define the new compliance framework, and so on.
So far, IoT technologies have grown and matured around domains related to industrial production and process management. Moreover, several domains have been identified as “vertical” sectors of value production where IoT might contribute to the global efficiency and quality of production and products. The paradigmatic example is Industrial IoT, but also IoT for agriculture and food production, IoT for smart cities, IoT for smart and autonomous vehicles, and so on. The new kid on the block is IoT for Healthcare. Initially, Healthcare-IoT focused on optimizing clinical process management (i.e. production of healthcare) within the boundaries of the hospital institution in an attempt to “imitate” more ripe sectors. For example, patient location and tracking throughout hospital areas for the improvement of clinical safety, for tracing clinical pathways and process workflows management; location of medical devices and technological assets for maintenance, logistics and service management. All these new ways of generating real time process data and analytics will produce highly positive impact on cost contention, health outcomes, resource use optimization, and reduction of healthcare variability. Healthcare-IoT has a tremendous field for evolution in the future as soon as it embraces and supports the connected health paradigm, far beyond the limits of healthcare institutions in an individual-patient centric dynamics.
AHA-IoT has some elements that are common to all other “verticals”, but it also has specific characteristics that make it different. AHA-IoT is all about provision of social care services to persons in a time-geography continuum. While smart cities are meant to provide digital services of many different natures to citizens taken collectively, like for example, traffic and travel information, transport, environmental, city services, and more, AHA-IoT is focused on services to persons taken individually. AHA-IoT services shall respond to individual needs one-by-one. The second main characteristic of AHA-IoT is Continuity of Care, which is core to the AHA concept: it takes place across all mentioned domains. Indeed, persons live in houses, in neighborhoods, in cities, in rural areas, in the country yard, on mountains and in valleys. Persons use means of transport, cars, hospitals, nursing homes, shopping centers, airports, theaters, open spaces, streets, and many other resources. More than a new “vertical”, AHA-IoT has a cross-domain dimension and it might take advantage and benefit from IoT infrastructures and services deployed in cities, smart vehicles, rural and farming environments, factories and work places and so forth.
In this emerging scenario, persons are the most extraordinary producers of individual’s data: production and consumption of personal data across domains will become the front-line of concern, data privacy, security, authentication, access consent, ownership, storage management, and many other issues that indeed will be constrained by national and European regulations. Moreover, AHA services will be enriched with data and services from other producers as well, which in turn, will rise issues like interoperability, service discovery, service publication and subscriptions, service consumption, connectivity, internetworking and more. In summary, AHA-IoT will change the landscape of IoT technologies with new requirements for platform interoperability, new enlarged architecture to take care of cross-domain interoperability, distributed processing from edge to cloud, data analytics, data warehousing, implementation frameworks, design and deployment tools and market places.
All the above issues will be addressed by ACTIVAGE. Not only internally but in collaboration with other European initiatives like the IoT LSP cluster, AIOTE and EIP on AHA just to mention some. It is our intention with this blog to open a new outreach channel for discussion and sharing with the IoT community and AHA stakeholders on all these open issues but not limited to them, while traveling the exciting roadmap of constructing the AHA-IoT for Europe.
@Sergio Guillén 2017