At Mainspring, we strive to identify real problems in the healthcare industry and work with likeminded partners to utilize versatile Internet of Things (IoT) technology to develop innovative solutions. We create closed loop workflows, designed with multiple automated and manual inputs. Sensors placed on medical devices allow for automated data collection, giving hospitals insights into where things are and what condition they’re in. Different things in the hospital have different requirements for being connected to humans via the internet. Some challenges can be simply resolved by locating the assets using active RTLS or Passive RFID, while others need to also send information such as temperature/humidity and utilization.
How many coach potatoes do you think there are out there, got a FitBit for the holidays and made good on their New Year’s resolutions to become chiselled fitness buffs — they all did, right? All these people started tracking themselves, gained detailed insights into every step back and forth from the fridge between Netflix binges, and through the power of visibility with informative dashboards and a fancy app, they put down the Häagen-Dazs and turned their life completely around.
The same thing happened with RTLS across the healthcare industry. Never mind the size, age of the facility or makeup of the physical environment, every hospital that bought into RTLS for asset tracking in the past decade gained visibility into the every tagged asset. As a result, biomedical engineers knew exactly where every medical device was and what condition it was in, nurses received those devices when they needed them, money was saved, patients were happy, and nobody had to get off the couch.
We have a time honored tradition in New England, on the eve of every blizzard, of ransacking local supermarkets shelves for bread, milk, water, canned goods, batteries—the essentials. If you go right before the heavy stuff starts, eyeing the barren shelves you’d think it was the end of days. We can’t help it. The news anchors, the weather team and our civic leaders all encourage us to stock up on the necessities and stay off the road. But let’s be honest, they’re just preaching to the choir. We’d do that last minute shopping anyways, because we know, when that storm hits, if we really need something, we won’t be able to get it. The stores are all closed, the roads are dangerous and impassable—the system is broken, so we all become a bunch of snowbound hoarders.
Remember 2001, when e-commerce was in its infancy? “Click-to-Buy” typically meant a follow-up call to ensure that the order went through; and many more to figure out where your order was. Amazon changed that game to the point that when you Click-to-Buy today, you are sure that your order will show up as planned—or earlier.
Amazon is looking to shake up e-commerce again. The company recently announced same day delivery in major metropolitan markets. It is an impressive feat, considering they have millions of products delivered from thousands of vendors to millions of consumers. The successful implementation of this idea requires the players to employ a cross-functional approach, with deep planning, investment in IT, along with strong ties and good rapport with transportation partners.
Anyone of a certain age, let’s say the 30+ demographic among us, remembers a time before turn-by-turn GPS, before IM, before apps, and yes, before the Kardashians. Now we look at one another and ask: How did we ever survive without smartphones? If you engage in a conversation with anyone born in the 21st Century—excuse me, if you ever Snapchat with them—just explain that before mobile touchscreens, we all lived in trees and ate bugs off one another for sustenance, they’ll probably believe you.
Think about how upset you get without a strong LTE or WIFI signal. I’d rather stub my toe. Is it any wonder then that in the last decade, the paradigm shift that is BYOD has taken hold and changed how we work? Whether or not certain industries have fully embraced BYOD or enterprise mobility, the die has been cast, and now more than 60% of companies allow, or tolerate employee use of personal devices to access enterprise data. After all, it’s hard to fight an ever-rising tide of devices adorning out ears, eyes, wrists, and whatever other body part Silicon Valley decides is in need of an upgrade. The global market for both BYOD and enterprise mobility is expected to nearly quadruple in size over the next four years, hitting $284 billion by 2019.
There's a point near the end of Mad Men's epic television run where, after seven Emmy award-winning seasons, a computer finally makes its appearance at the advertising agency of Don Draper and company. The episode is titled "The Monolith" (a veiled reference to "2001: A Space Odyssey") and in it we see an IBM 360 mainframe being wheeled in piece by piece, ultimately to take up an entire break room at the office. The requisite "ribbon cutting" announcement heralding the computer's arrival is met with a mix of optimism, skepticism and even fear.
Where healthcare sensors once meant things like vital signs monitors for patients, those monitors, and a host of other equipment tied to hospital operations are now streamlined by the Internet of Things (IoT) — generating data that has nothing to do with medicine, but everything to do with delivering exceptional, efficient healthcare.