How Micro-Location Could Boost Healthcare IoT

Posted in Electronic Components by Qmed Staff on June 3, 2016

New ultra-wideband wireless technology is enabling location detection within centimeters versus meters, according to a report by the website Internet of Things Institute.

Qmed Staff

Move over GPS. A new wireless technology called ultra-wideband could enable more Internet of Things innovation, including in the medical device space, because of its ability to determine exact location of tagged objects.

The Internet of Things Institute recently reported on DecaWave (Dublin, Ireland) and its low-power wireless transceiver able to detect tagged objects to within 10 cm indoors.

“DecaWave’s DW1000 doesn’t rely on signal strength measurements between objects like WiFi or Bluetooth. Instead, it is based on time-of-flight, which is much more accurate and reliable,” says Mickael Viot, DecaWave's vice president of marketing, told the media website. The high resolution ultra-wideband technology is described in IEEE’s 802.14.4a standard, and it is now helping to support a variety of applications.

In hospitals, micro-location holds promise when it comes to health providers tracking assets, reducing waste by ensuring the products go to patients who actually need them.

In one case, infant and patient security company Secure Care Products (Concord, NH) used DecaWave's UWB chips in its ENVisionIT system. The chips enabled the system to, among other things, monitor which staff takes things from which cabinets, monitor patients moving toward exits, track equipment movement for maintenance purposes, and route messages to staff members' mobile devices based on their location, according to DecaWave.

“Better efficiency either through higher asset utilization or better patients flows is critical for hospitals. UWB is taking indoor location to the next level—the centimeter level—enabling the accurate location and navigation of people and assets even within complex environments. The robustness and long range of this RF technology also enables cheaper, easier and quicker deployment of systems reducing the ROI period and maintenance costs," Mickael Viot, vice president of marketing at Decawave, tells Qmed

Viot added that UWB is also a boon for medical device makers when it comes to data security. "The capability of UWB to build secure communication bubbles will take security to the next level by delivering a trusted positioning mechanism between the different connected medical devices.”

And there are a host of applications in other fields as well. Check out the full list on Internet of Things Institute. 

Don't miss the MD&M East conference and expo, June 14–16, 2016, in New York City.

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed and MPMN. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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