Good morning, Irving. It’s 6:40am on October 8, 2023. Let’s follow you today, a day in the Internet of Things.
First, you wake up a bit early because your clock realized there’s more traffic than usual on the way to work. Your coffee is ready, your house is warmed up, and your dog is waiting for his walk.
However, your bedside health status monitor tells you that your heart was erratic last night. It’s been communicating with your cloud-based health analytic service, and the algorithm asks you how you feel. Unfortunately, your chest feels heavy. The monitor notes a disturbing anomaly and recommends you call 911. (We didn’t say this was going to be a good day in the Internet of Things.)
911 dispatch is already tracking all its emergency assets. Rather than scrambling from a home base, it locates an ambulance only three blocks away and routes it to your house. When you get in, the EMT hooks up the “doctor in a box” EMS system, including a defibrillator, CPR robot, an IV infusion pump, and vital signs monitor. The system does not like what it sees; you are likely having a heart attack. While the sirens wail and the wheels roll, the EMS system contacts your cloud health service over a secure wireless link. Your doctor is awakened and watches your real-time waveforms on his Galaxy 14 hyperPad.
When you get to the hospital, the imaging lab is ready. Your cardiac CT scan, preloaded with your doctor’s recommended parameters, confirms that your blockage is severe enough to warrant surgery.
Of course, the robotic operating room is already prepped for your arrival. Just a few years ago, your heart would be stopped for this relatively simple operation. Today, however, the robotic system can sense the motion of your heart 3000 times a second, and compensate for that motion with the scalpel. Your surgeon operates on a virtual, still image of your heart. The network loop is so fast he can feel every texture. The operation goes well.
You will need a day in the ICU to recover from your surgery. Back in 2013, hospital error was the 6th leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Today, the new ICE (Integrated Clinical Environment) compliant system in your room collects all the data from every device: ECG, oximeter, infusion pump, ventilator, and more. It runs a “recipe” program that can react automatically, for instance by adjusting your IV drip to compensate for a low heart rate. It also virtually eliminates false alarms. If there’s real cause for concern, the display in the nurse’s station, and your doctor’s hyperPad, will get you help. Fast.
You survive your stay in the ICU and move to room 2433B. There, you are connected to an array of devices, both wired and wireless. It’s a big hospital, but the system automatically discovers your move, hooking your data stream to your electronic medical record and your care team. That’s doable because, to the new real-time hospital patient monitoring system, you are not a location like 2433B; you are a data source named Mr. Irving M. Safeer. The hospital’s “data centric” design finds your “IMSafeer” (actually an ID tag) stream wherever you go. The data-centric architecture also scales well; it sifts through the 1000 beds and 100k devices, delivering the huge streams of critical real-time information from each patient to an ever-changing variety of interested monitors and medical teams.
As a heart patient, exercise is critical to your recovery. It’s time to get walking. Of course, monitoring your heart during your walk is important. Even though the hospital cannot install a dedicated wireless network, when you switch from your wired bedside system to a wireless heart monitor, it connects over the WiFi and declares it is the primary heart-rate source for “IMSafeer”. It also prioritizes your flow to block interference from the YouTube video playing in the cafeteria.
Of course, the data-centric architecture neatly handles your stroll, switching cleanly between access points, wired and wireless networks. The same algorithms that watched you when you were in your bed watch your heart waveforms while you walk. The nurse’s station and your doctor are fully notified of any issues.
Does this sound far-fetched? It’s sooner than you think. In fact, every system above is currently deployed or under active development. (Except for the hyperPad…sorry.) Most are running a new IoT real-time protocol called the Data Distribution Service (DDS). DDS provides the fast, data-centric connectivity that enables smart distributed systems.
Like the early Internet, today’s Internet of Things is widely misunderstood. Most people see how it can help “you” do things better than before, like waking you up early to account for traffic. But, that’s a tiny change. The Internet of Things is really about what the 50 billion things can do. Without you.