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    Calling all InnOvaTors!


    IoT.jpgNow we know about nodes. You guys have responded in rich and engrossing detail in the second part of our InnOvaTors program, in which we looked long and deep at the sensor side of an IoT solution.


    This week we're moving back toward the brains of the whole outfit, and asking for your insights on what (in my opinion) is the most exciting aspect of a custom-built Internet of Things, the gateway.


    Making Sense of Sensors

    Before we forge ahead, let's take a quick look back at some of your insightful thoughts on the challenge of giving your gateway its eyes, ears and limbs.


    "I can see two options," explainedWorkshopshed, looking at how our patient monitoring scenario might interface with the people it's serving. "Monitor the person or monitor the house. For the latter you could go for a camera/AI approach which could be trained to look for people on the ground or knocked over furniture. If a problem is detected a carer could be notified."


    shabaz took a similar cerebral approach to the problem. "I would be super-inclined to do as much as possible passively or without wearables, to try and reduce patient error," he advised. "I'd also want intelligence within the nodes or the gateway, so that processing / filtering of data can be done close to the source."


    An excellent suggestion that's equally relevant to today's InnOvaTors task; tell us what's needed and what's important when looking at building (or maybe even buying) an IoT gateway.


    First, here's a quick reminder of the scenario we've been working from.


    Design a Home Patient Monitoring System with Notification and Alert Capabilities


    Among the numerous types of innovations that are expected to be fostered by Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, smart-connected healthcare solutions will perhaps be the most important one for millions of elderly people who live alone. In the UK 3.5 million people over the age of 65 live alone, and almost 70% of the women in this age group. The U.S has a similar trend with 11.8 million, and nearly half of the women over the age of 75 living alone.


    This number is expected to increase as the growth in people over age 65 is projected to double from 43.1 million in 2012 to 83.7 million in 2050, according to the U.S Census Bureau. Whether an elderly person lives alone by choice or necessity, this living arrangement can pose a potential health risk as physical and cognitive impairment becomes evident.

    Your Challenge: Helping a Stroke Patient Who Falls

    A typical example of the challenge that the elderly face while living alone is Mrs. Jones. She is 79 years-old and has been living alone successfully for ten years since her husband passed away. While she has not had any problems during this period of time, Mrs. Jones recently suffered a minor stroke that led to numbness in her extremities and an overall weakness in strength but did not appear to be life-changing until she began losing her balance and falling in her apartment


    Mrs. Jones’s daughter suggested to her mother that it was time to consider moving into a nursing home for safety’s sake. Mrs. Jones dismissed the idea out of a desire to remain independent. Her daughter discussed this situation with Mrs. Jones's doctor who said her options were limited. Beyond a live-in caregiver, home nurse visits, or home monitoring systems, which had limited benefits as they are currently designed, there was little else to do.


    Gateway to the World


    When we look at developing, setting up and using an IoT gateway, what's the design process that'll ensure compatibility with sensors, cloud systems and however you choose to monitor it. Consider the following:

    • What's a strong platform to build an IoT gateway upon, and how complex/intelligent should this component of the whole iOT solution be?
    • How do we tackle the challenge of non-standardised protocols, to tackle the difficulty of different products using different methods of communication?
    • What kind of security precautions can we build into the gateway?


    In the comments section below, we'd like to hear your thoughts and advice on the gateway of an IoT solution. The advice, ideas and direction you provide here will ultimately wind up in front of suppliers, manufacturers and industry leaders at this year's Elektronica show, so don't hold back!