According to Forbes by 2020 the healthcare Internet of Things (IoT) market is estimated to be worth $117 billion.
With current healthcare devices ranging from wireless blood pressure monitors to connected toothbrushes, how are these devices meant to benefit us?
Oral B's Smart Series Toothbrushes give consumers statistics about their brushing habits. They state that the purpose of this device is "not to outsmart dental professionals, but to work hand-in-hand with them". The device can be programmed by the dental professionals to focus on problem zones within the mouth.
A more general use for IoT devices in a domestic environment is Amazon's Dash buttons announced for the UK market in 2016. It allows Amazon Prime customers to order products like pet food and washing powder at a touch of a button. The Dash button even gives you a status of the order, using indicator lights on the button themselves.
They also offer an IoT Dash button that integrates with Amazon Web Services which allows developers to create custom uses for it. For example, to order a pizza, start your car or even create a flaming pumpkin.
Some of the woes encountered by people living in large cities around the world are congestion and traffic. In San Francisco they've implemented a network of sensors that can determine if a parking spot is being used. This information can be accessed via an app and allows people to find the nearest available parking spot.
Another example of how urban environments are making use of a connected environment is in Bath, where they've implemented BigBelly's Intelligent Waste & Recycling Collection System. This system helps Bath and North East Somerset Council reduce litter and collection frequency. It's predicted to save the council £170,000 each year with the real-time remote monitoring reducing collection frequency by nearly 80%.
Are connected devices secure?
In October 2016 IoT devices we're in the news for causing a large scale cyber attack on DNS provider Dyn. But how is it that these small devices could create such a large attack?
Often these devices are shipped with default user names and passwords that end users can't, or won't change. With millions of these devices connected to the internet and some being poorly protected, the cyber attackers can control them to create an enormous amount of traffic, which can then be redirected to a specific target.
So what's next?
Gartner is predicting that by 2020 there will be 20.8 billion connected devices with the list of their uses growing quickly with every industry from healthcare to agriculture expected to benefit.
As our homes, towns and cities become even more connected and with the numbers of devices soaring, manufacturers need to ensure both their software and hardware are secure to prevent future cyber attacks and data leaks.