How Will the IoT (Internet of Things)  Change Assisted Living?

How Will the IoT (Internet of Things) Change Assisted Living?

As each generation advances in knowledge and use of the internet and “smart” devices, our homes are becoming more and more loaded with information to collect. That is no different for those in Assisted Living Facilities. One might be surprised by the increase in level of care supplied by those facilities that are making effective use of the IoT in today’s technology-rich market. The possibilities seem almost endless, but here is a rundown of a few of the changes that will make the care of our elderly loved ones more efficient through the use of smart devices and “smart environments”.

A smart room
The cutting edge technologies available today are able to gather information and data about the resident in the room and revert that data immediately, into active, real-time responses.

Sensors can be fitted throughout a facility, to capture information that is sent to relevant parties such as the resident’s nominated healthcare provider, nurses or aged care workers internally. Residents would have the choice of wearing smartwatches that can allow the facility’s staff to know the location and well-being of its residents at any time, so they can respond to queries and requests.

This technology allows interested loved ones or staff in the facility the ability to go into a portal to see what their loved one is doing, with secure permissions, of course. They can know whether or not mom is in her room and available for a call, or if she’s having physical therapy and the call should wait. They can monitor changes in eating habits, sleep patterns, and so much more, all with the help of the Internet of Things.

More personal with more information
Through the implementation of these technologies, nurses and other care workers would be able to respond to residents not just in person, but also via voice or video. Furthermore, they could be more proactive in their care. Because of all the biometric information the sensors in the room and wearable devices can capture, the system would be able to alert staff ahead of time if there’s a possibility of something happening, rather than staff waiting to react to an incident.

Another advantage of this interconnectivity is that staff would be able to see a screen for the resident they are talking to, containing information specific to that person’s needs and preferences. So it wouldn’t matter who was on duty or how familiar they may or may not be with the residents, each staff member would be able to access notes to assist in providing personalized care for every resident.

Better management of independence
There’s no denying that one of the most challenging aspects of deciding whether or not to enter assisted living is the feeling of losing one’s independence. No one wants to make a parent feel that way and very few individuals see past this potential risk when considering the subject for themselves.

This is an area that has seen great improvements in the assisted living industry already. Thanks to better monitoring systems, improved communication and advanced technology, residents are given greater freedom to live independently until or unless the need arises to give them more support. Many people might not think the IoT is critical to the care of our elderly loved ones, but as you can see, there are many benefits available with these interactive devices that share information.

If you are an Assisted Living Facility that would like to discuss ways to create and manage network systems that will bring these technologies to your residents and their carers, please contact NCN Technology for a free consultation.

What Is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

What Is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

The internet landscape is growing at an exponential rate. It’s no longer just about computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones – the Internet of Things (IoT). It almost seems like there’s a new device coming out every day! Washing machines, robotic vacuum cleaners, door locks, toys and even toasters are labeled “smart” because they are internet connected. This was a future we were promised in science fiction stories not that long ago, but now it’s turning up everywhere we look, and consumers are itching to own a piece of that promise.  As a result, we now have a new umbrella term added to our vocabulary, the “Internet of Things.”

The Internet of Things (IoT), in its most basic form, is everyday devices that are able to be connected to each other and the internet. These everyday objects, such as smart watches, CCTV cameras or even traffic lights, are able to communicate with each other and to the applications that allow you to configure them. Just as you can use an app on your phone to setup your wifi-enabled air conditioner, a wearable device can alert health care professionals when a patient is in need of critical attention.

Not all devices are created equally when it comes to security.

Automating our life at home and at work naturally reduces human labour and as we move more and more towards smart cars, smart homes and wearable devices, we gather more and more objects that are considered part of IoT.

This has both pros and cons, some of which may seem fairly obvious to many.  As with anything relating to the internet, users are wise to do their best to understand the risks involved with using the technologies they bring into their lives. With understanding, they are better-equipped to implement security measures that protect their private information and thus make using these convenient devices work to their advantage.

Anything connected to the internet is vulnerable to cyber attacks. This is particularly true of IoT devices for one very simple reason. Not all IoT devices have security settings that can be easily configured. Because of this, plug-and-play type devices should be carefully researched before they are connected to the internet.

As exciting new gadgets make our homes smarter, they’re also making them more vulnerable.

With the rush of the IoT craze in the consumer market, many manufacturers are working to get their products to market as quickly as possible, thus security can be overlooked at the point of design and release to the public. However, you have probably paid close attention to your PC passwords and are running an antivirus software plus being careful when browsing online. Now think about this. Hackers know that the general population operates the same way, therefore they have moved to hacking routers instead of computer systems.

This is where the home router plays a very important role. The router is essentially the entry point of the internet into your home  or business. While not all connected devices can be protected by themselves, the router has the ability to provide protection at the entry point. Although today’s typical router does provide some additional security (i.e., password protection, firewalls, and the ability to configure them to only allow certain devices on your network), they do not come with installed security software. This makes it possible for malware to sneak through. With the popularity of IoT devices, and the high vulnerabilities they carry, attackers are already focusing on ways to exploit them.  So it’s certainly an area to consider when implementing security measures within your home and workplace.

When it comes to the Internet of Things, there are so many benefits that could improve the way we work and make our home lives easier. But keep in mind that whatever is connected to the internet is available to anyone who knows how to take it. Therefore, it’s wise to do your research before you connect a product to the internet, learn how to configure any security settings and consider how much access a device really needs to your personal information.

We live in an exciting time for technology. There’s no reason to shy away from taking full advantage of efficiency, we just need to do so with some considered security measures.