Is IoT more important than mHealth for Africa?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a catchy phrase compared to Machine to Machine (M2M). Whatever it’s called, its impact in Africa seems as though its rising.
A report by Reuters says that Africa is “fast of blocks (sic)” for IoT. It said that by the end of 2014, developing countries would have 52% of M2M connections, and it’s set to increase to nearly 60% by 2020.
Africa had some 7 million mobile connections in June 2014. There could be 57 million by 2020. This is the most used route for people in Africa to access the Internet. Most IoT initiatives in Africa are vehicle tracking, mobile payments and smart cities. Other growth services include smart meters and
using SIM cards to electronic point of sale (ePOS) terminals in remote areas so merchants can accept credit and debit card payments.
With this surge in devices, Africa’s healthcare has a growing opportunity to expand its IoT projects. It could include initiatives like monitoring patients vital signs remotely, managing supply chains for drug and medical suppliers, managing vaccination supplies as part of vaccination and immunisation information systems, more SMS reminders for patients and carers, and collecting data from medical devices for analysis and action.
Stepping up IoT in Africa’s healthcare needs a structure to decide on priorities and investment. A white paper by Freescale Semiconductor is one place to start. It’s important that healthcare isn’t left behind in what looks like a bit of an IoT rush into the future.
- 1,035 views
- March 15, 2015
- Tom Jones
Marc Goodman offers us his cyber-threat dark side
If you’re not sure of the scale and change of cyber-threats, there’s a book for you. Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everybody is Vulnerable and What we can do about it, by Marc Goodman, describes how corporate ICT defences are attacked on a rising scale and often breached. He draws from his database of hundreds of breaches to show the risks and how cyber criminals can steal identities, empty online bank-accounts and crash servers.
Some of the ways seem bizarre, such as accessing baby cam monitors and pacemakers, analysing people’s social media activity to find the best times to break in, and using algorithms for ransomware that locks users out until they pay a release fee. As technology expands, the threats do to. 3D printers can produce AK-47s, terrorists can download Ebola recipes and drug cartels are building drones.
Sophisticated security boundaries become a new challenge and can have new inherent limitations. An example is using biometrics instead of passwords which is probably more secure, but once they’re breached, probably by cyber-theft, users and organisations can’t change them quickly and easily.
Marc Goodman sees a future where ICT can detect cyber-invasions promptly and take remedial action to lock them out. It doesn’t seem as though this is imminent. To reach this goal, he proposes widespread collaboration between public and private sectors on ideas and initiatives to try to jump ahead of the cyber-criminals. The underlying theme is constant vigilance and investment and solutions that are at least as imaginative as the cyber-criminals.
Marc Goodman’s experience is extensive. He’s worked in law enforcement as a policeman on the streets, been a senior adviser to Interpol, a futurist with the FBI and trained police forces in many countries. He’s the founder of the Future Crimes Institute and the Chair for Policy, Law, and Ethics at Silicon Valley’s Singularity University.
His book’s published by Bantam Press, part of Transworld Publishers. The price is about US$28 or £20. You may find it cheaper if you search the web securely.
- 418 views
- February 26, 2015
- Tom Jones
Does Big Data need IoT to succeed?
The promise of Big Data and analytics in health care tends to rise when there’s an epidemic. Now, it seems that Big Data’s not big enough to stand on its own feet. It needs the help of the Internet of Things (IoT). Together, they’re the Industrial Internet. This is what a report from GE and Accenture seems to show. It’s based on a survey across several sectors.
The survey shows an increasing urgency for organizations to use Big Data analytics to advance their strategies. The belief is that Big Data analytics can change industries’ competitive landscape over the next year, so companies are investing in it. The security, information silos and systems integration challenges seem outweighed by the operational, strategic and competitive advantages. The main findings are:93% say that new market entrants leverage Big Data as a critical differentiation strategy 89% say that companies that don’t adopt a Big Data strategy in the next year risk losing market share and momentum 85% say that their companies have Big Data in their top three priorities 84% say that Big Data can transform their companies’ competitive landscape over the next year 65% focus on monitoring assets to identify operating issues 60% expect Big Data to improve their profitability 31% of healthcare organizations say they’re significantly ahead in analytics About 51% of healthcare organizations are investing between 10% and 20% of their technology budgets on Big Data 49% say they’re planning Big Data initiatives for new business opportunities for extra revenue streams with their Big Data strategy, while 60%expect to increase their profitability by using the information to improve their resource management.
That’s the main exciting Big Data possibilities, so now for the constraints:36% say system barriers between departments prevent data collection and correlation 29% say it’s difficult to consolidate disparate data and use the resulting data repository 44% say security and cyber-crime is an issue.
A balanced solution is:Use experts to assess risks and consequences and understand the vulnerabilities, then invest in effective security Break down the barriers to data integration Acquire and develop Big Data and analytics talent Develop new business models Actively manage regulatory risk Leverage mobile technology to deliver analytic insights.
These form a nucleus of a Big Data strategy for healthcare organisations in Africa. The challenge is fitting into constrained budgets that aren’t enough for all the eHealth possibilities, but this is the nature of eHealth leadership.
- 344 views
- November 13, 2014
- Tom Jones
The mHealth super app
Bill Gates remarked that “software is a great combination between artistry and engineering.”According to Natalie Hodge and Brandi Harless of Personal Medicine Plus, good mHealth apps are about combinations too, though for them it’s mHealth and Internet of Things (IoT), intersecting to produce the super app. They wrote about it recently in mHealthNews.
eHNA’s had numerous posts about mHealth and a number on the IoT. This is the first time they’re together. It’s a novel idea, that if we connect all the apps that tell a patient how they are doing or what they should do next, we might end up with a health promoting, or healthcare, platform, or both. It would help people stay healthy and allow them, in some cases, to take their health into their own hands and bypass the conventional healthcare system. It’s the approach Google Fit is following too.
Hodge and Harless suggest that winning super apps have six attributes:Use multiple proven technologies in mHealth in tandem Leverage proven engagement strategies Leverage application programming interfaces Use connected health devices Automate interpretation of data with actionable and immediate instructions for behavior change Build on evidence-based prevention principles.
The themes match well with important eHealth topics, such as interoperability, analytics and sound stakeholder engagement. They also raise questions about risks of cybercrime and the complexity of conducting impact assessments.
The list is different to those eHNA reported in eHNA’s piece on a new recipe for successful mHealth apps. Perhaps their combination would be good too.
eHNA will watch for reviews of projects that show how the concept develops. We look forward to more posts on fortuitous combinations, particularly about new ways of using eHealth to improve health and healthcare.
- 349 views
- July 07, 2014
- Sean Broomhead
Rome Business School eHealth Masters
Better managers for a better world
Cyber-security: themes for Africa's eHealth
Cyber-crime is on the increase, and Africa’s health sector is not immune to the growing and changing threats.
African eHealth Forum 2016 Report
Successful eHealth connects us with our information in ways that transform what we expect from our health...
African eHealth Forum 2015 Report
Acfee hosts the annual African eHealth Forum. It’s where Acfee’s Advisory Board, its industry partners...