Connected Medical Devices: Control and Prevent

Smart Industry sat down with Igor Tovberg, Director of Product Marketing at Altair Semiconductor, a Sony Group Company, to talk about how connected medical devices could help combat and avoid pandemics such as Covid-19.

Are wearables a better way to monitor trends during a pandemic?
Activity and heart-rate sensing are becoming a baseline feature in every fitness band and smart watch, with data being continuously sensed and uploaded into the cloud. This data could be useful in predicting a spreading epidemic. Indeed, a recently published study by Scripps Research Translational Institute in The Lancet Digital Health analyzed such data and found that resting heart rate and sleep-duration data collected from wearable devices could help inform timely and accurate models of population-level influenza trends. Sensing and analyzing more physiological factors would improve the speed and accuracy in the discovery of epidemics.

IoT has an important role to play in containing outbreaks like Covid-19.
Igor Tovberg, Director of Product Marketing at Altair Semiconductor


Would wearables help change healthcare habits in patients?
Isolation is one of the preventive actions being taken to stop the virus spread, as exposure to an infected carrier could prove fatal for people with a weakened immune system. Now, more than ever, health stats relating to virus symptoms can be sent to health-care providers with out patients having to visit their clinic and risking exposure. Are smart cellular IoT wristbands a good way to ensure quarantine compliance? The general population can wear smart wristbands as a health monitor. With an emphasis on the small size and long battery life, cellular IoT offers reliable connectivity for smart wristbands, with autonomy from paired smartphones. Recently, the Hong Kong government has deployed smart wristbands to monitor city residents quarantined inside their homes.

Can wearables help save time?
Enterprises, airports, and cities would surely benefit from monitoring devices for citizens, and health-care facilities would benefit from the ability to monitor remote patients. Timely discovery of out-breaks could prevent many new dangerous viruses in the future.

How is your company contributing to this development?
For personal, medical, or environmental monitoring, Altair’s ALT1250 ultra-low-power, compact, secure, and highly integrated cellular IoT chipset enables slimmer devices with long battery life, which can remain continuously connected – reliably connecting people in ways previously unobtainable. All without the need for a smartphone or home Wi-Fi network.

How do you see IoT’s role in future pandemic prevention?
According to Bill Gates, in any crisis, leaders have two equally important responsibilities: solving the immediate problem and keeping it from happening again. It’s clear that IoT technology, and specifically medical devices, have an important role to play in the containment and treatment of outbreaks like Covid-19. I genuinely believe that IoT can be fully harnessed to control and potentially prevent the next global pandemic.

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