Alcatel-Lucent – Cool health tech innovations – great for users, bad for networks

By Alcatel-Lucent

Senior care was on my mind this week, mainly due to an article I encountered in my daily surfing. It mentioned that theFDA had approved its first ingestible device to help with medication adherence. In plain English, we’ve taken the first step towards “smart pills” that will wirelessly allow care providers and loved ones to ensure that folks on meds actuallytake their meds.

Seniors take a lot of meds. According to our friends at the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, folks in their 60s average nearly 14 prescriptions per year. And for folks in their 80s, that number is 18! There’s a lot of room for error, and the pitfalls – hip fractures, adverse reactions, hospitalizations – are both numerous and costly. Adding some smarts to the pills allows a second (or third) set of eyes to make sure things go according to the plan. This strikes me as a good thing.

A few months ago, I mentioned how Apple Watch and devices like it are going to be networking game changers. I guess I didn’t expect something as ubiquitous as a pill to be one of those connected devices. But it just goes to show that connected devices are becoming more and more numerous, and your networks need to be ready for them.

We recently conducted a poll of folks working in senior care, asking them what their biggest networking issues were. Here’s what they told us:

Yup, that’s right: “Too many devices” is the #1 issue reported by our poll respondents, capturing  42% of the responses. I expect that this represents both devices being deployed by the venue and devices being brought by residents. We’ve looked at the topic of wireless in assisted living before. And we’ve also shared 6 recommended strategies for dealing with the most common networking problems in senior care – and most of these turned up in our poll results.

It’s clear from our poll that today’s reality of tablets, smartphones, cameras and watches is already creating challenges for assisted living venue owners. After this week, I can confidently say that you ain’t seen nothing yet! Plan for connected everything. It’s rapidly becoming reality!

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