IoT medication-compliance devices set to skyrocket in number by 2022

8 Dec 2017

Image: Yuriy Golub/Shutterstock

This week in IoT, connected medical dispensers are set to experience a 15-fold increase, while connected cars get set for centre stage.

Apple is at the centre of a major security issue with its internet of things (IoT) software HomeKit, which was found to have a zero-day vulnerability that would allow hackers to control everything from smart locks to garage doors.

The details of the vulnerability itself are scant, but it required at least one iPhone or iPad running iOS 11.2 connected to the HomeKit user’s iCloud account.

Apple has released a temporary server-side fix that remedies the issue, but a full patch is expected to drop early next week along with the next iOS update.

Elsewhere this week, we saw a new breakthrough that enables 3D-printed objects to pick up Wi-Fi without electronics and could usher in a new age of IoT in the home.

To do this, the University of Washington team availed of ‘backscatter’ techniques, which allow devices to exchange information. This means taking the function of electrical components in sensors and replacing them with mechanical motion-activated ones, such as springs, gears, switches and other parts that can be 3D printed, borrowing from principles that enable battery-free watches to keep time.

Medication-compliance IoT devices to reach 2.2m by 2022

With western populations ageing considerably, the need for greater amounts of regular doses of medication is set to increase, and pharmaceutical companies are now producing medical-compliance devices to cater to this future demand.

These devices would be similar to an AI assistant such as the Amazon Echo, but would be focused towards making sure its owner takes the required medication, while sending reports to their physician.

According to Berg Insight, a report has found that demand remains low so far, with 138,000 devices in the wider European market as of 2016. However, the report forecasts that the number of connected medication-compliance monitoring solutions will grow rapidly to 2.2m by 2022.

“Substantial business opportunities are emerging for solutions targeted at the social care sector,” said Martin Bäckman, IoT analyst at Berg Insight.

“Many patients rely on frequent visits from their homecare provider for medication dispensing. Many of these visits can be reduced or eliminated through the use of medication dispensing solutions.”

Are connected cars far removed from public consciousness?

A new survey into the security and public perception of connected cars has revealed some worrying statistics for car manufacturers.

According to Help Net Security, the Irdeto Global Connected Car survey of 8,354 consumers revealed that a staggering 93pc said they did not – or didn’t know if they owned – a connected car.

Furthermore, when it comes to security, 85pc of respondents fear that connected cars are vulnerable to cyberattacks, with more than half saying they would want to research a car’s ability to withstand a hacking attempt.

Interestingly, Chinese people who answered the survey were the most likely to do this research, at 71pc, while people on its island neighbour, Japan, were the least likely (37pc).

“It is important for automakers to make security a priority by implementing a multilayered, defence in-depth strategy, so their brand is not perceived by consumers as one that does not take security seriously,” said Daniel Thunberg, global head of connected transport at Irdeto.

Connected car start-up Mojio raises $30m

Staying with connected cars, a Vancouver start-up called Mojio has secured $23m in Series B funding – including backing from Amazon’s Alexa Fund – to further its product that, in theory, lets any car become a connected car.

The company’s cloud-based platform hooks up to a car’s diagnostic port and connects it with local network providers to provide car performance data to the driver.

So far, more than 500,000 cars have signed up to Mojio’s product and this funding will help to expand it globally.

The Alexa Fund director, Paul Bernard, said in a statement: “The Mojio skill (app) for Alexa lets customers simply use voice to track vehicle location, trip distance and fuel levels.

“By unlocking data insights from the car, we see opportunity for Mojio to continue innovating with Alexa to bring customers more delightful voice-powered experiences.”

Fisker unveils autonomous shuttle bus for smart cities

A number of start-ups are racing to build the first widely adopted autonomous shuttle bus, and now a company called Fisker has entered the fray.

The California-based EV producer announced that it has teamed up with China-based conglomerate Hakim Unique to develop an autonomous bus called Orbit.

With this Chinese backing, Fisker plans to have the shuttle on the road as early as the end of 2018, in a yet-to-be-announced Hakim Unique-implemented smart city.

“Our tireless work at Fisker has never just been about the design and development of our own compelling electric vehicles, but exploring new frontiers in technology across multiple industries for the advancement of human mobility and progression of society as a whole,” said CEO and chair, Henrik Fisker.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic