The world really is becoming more and more connected at a pretty frantic rate these days. The internet of things has already changed the face of many different industries, and with smart home technology being developed all the time we’re about to see a considerable shift in the way people think of home appliances and electronics. Like everything else, medicine is going to be a part of this incredible shift. Here’s a few ways that medical equipment will be changing over the next years.
Most of the manual functions that we’ve seen in various medical devices in the past – buttons, switches and dials, for instance, are quickly being chased out by various kinds of software. Why is this? The main reason is that software-defined equipment will require less maintenance, and will enable routine checks and updates to occur with minimal delays or outlay. Important updates, for instance, can be managed remotely to alter the functionality of a device, and add new features to it.
With the growth of the internet of things, it will become progressively easier to make more and more systems autonomous, mainly by incorporating various self-learning and remote monitoring capabilities. After bringing autonomy into as many different subsystems as possible, medical devices will be able to monitor their own state, and perform autonomous maintenance if they encounter any major problems, removing the need for technicians to step in and deal with it. Obviously, the scope of this feature is going to be somewhat limited by what the device actually is. The engineering behind the top medical scales for 2017 will stay mostly as is, but more sophisticated autonomy is still an exciting prospect on the near horizon!
Enabled Remote Control
The one thing that’s got everyone raving about the emerging niche of the internet of things is the introduction of remote control. While monitoring remains one-way, the introduction of remote control will create a new, bilateral flow of information, and in turn recommended actions between device and manufacturer. When all the kinks are ironed out, this will enable equipment manufacturers to act faster if and when one of their products develops an issue while in use, deploying software in order to clear any major bugs. This is going to lead to a massive shift in the way products are designed, and move emphasis from user feedback to performance metrics.
For a long time now, product designers have been driven by improving the efficiency and performance of products in a mainly aesthetic way. Today, we’re able to take this further through the various capabilities which have been opened up by the internet of things, and artificial intelligence. While the internet of things has made it easier to generate the right data from various systems, AI can be applied to make more sense of the data, and stimulate actionable insights. When industry leaders incorporate these kinds of capabilities in the design process, we’ll see a whole new world of intelligent medical equipment hitting the market. With greater efficiency derived from both of these technologies, production uptime will go through the roof!