5 steps to a smart home

When it comes to technology, smarter is better. There are smart watches, smart televisions and just about everyone has a smartphone.So what about a smart home? Smart thermostats and lighting timers represent the first steps toward smart home technology for many homeowners, but in a lot of cases, they were the only steps. Since then, technology has continued to develop, and today there are scores of home goods that can talk to one another while allowing you total control of your home from your smartphone, tablet or another device.

It all sounds so simple, so perfect, yet many consumers remain confused on how to make the most of smart home technology in their house. Instead of finding the installation welcoming, they see it as daunting and expensive. This doesn’t have to be the case. Installing — and enjoying — smart home technology in your house is easier than you think. Follow these five simple steps and your home will be a smart home in no time.

• Determine what you’d like to control remotely or automate based on time. Having total control of your home sounds great, but it also leads to total responsibility and sometimes you don’t need all that. For example, lighting solutions are a popular automated option.

• Select technology that works with your home. When you’re shopping for products — like lighting switches — you should always be mindful of functionality. For example, does your home operate on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth? Understand the base functionalities of your home and you’ll streamline your shopping process.

• Seek professional help. If you’re concerned about your ability to set up your smart home technology successfully, don’t be afraid to seek out some guidance. Call on your contractor to assist you in the installation. You can also download helpful guides and how-to instructions from the manufacturer’s website. The more information you have before beginning the project, the more comfortable you’ll be with the installation.

• Download the proper apps. The key to your home’s smart technology lies in the corresponding apps. Make sure you’ve downloaded the right one to match your system. Many smart home technologies offer both iPhone and Android apps to provide the functionality control you need.

• Set your schedule and optimise as needed. Your smart home is an ever-evolving machine, and the more time you take to continually customise your preferences, the more you’ll get from your system. Establish your initial schedule and then add voice control through Amazon, Google or Apple. Finally, don’t be afraid to make continued improvements. You’ve already tackled the biggest hurdle of installing your system, and the ongoing small adjustments you add will make your system great.

Ways to Protect Your Smart Home

Smart technology lets you change the temperature in your house without leaving your bed if you wake up feeling chilly or too hot. You could check the contents of your refrigerator while you’re at the grocery store or start your favorite song by simply requesting it out loud. What a time to be alive!

With all the fantastic perks that come from smart technology in the home, there is also an increased need for security. The more devices that you use increases the potential risks that you are vulnerable to.

Most people know to protect their laptops, tablets and smartphones, but what about all of the other smart technology in your home?

Here are some tips to help protect your entire home network and all of the smart technology within it:

Don’t Underestimate Hackers

You may be thinking “Why would anyone want to hack into my thermostat? And even if they did, who cares?”

Part of the reason why smart technology can be vulnerable is that users don’t worry as much about protecting them. After all, would someone go through the trouble of hacking into a smart thermostat simply to change the temperature in your home?

Unfortunately, it’s more dangerous than that. Hackers can take something as simple as an unprotected smart thermostat and use it as part of a larger cyber-attack.

To put it simply, hackers can use unprotected internet-connected devices like smart refrigerators, smart thermometers and DVRs and control these items without the owner’s knowledge. Hackers can turn the devices into a network called a botnet and use them in negative ways.

These sorts of botnets have been used in the past to attack the infrastructure that keeps major websites running, which can cause outages for major websites like Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and more.

Even if a smart device seems harmless, a hacker can likely find a way to use it. That’s why every device in your home needs protection.

Even with a strong password, you should also use malware protection to keep your devices safe. Antivirus protection and firewalls can help you find malware and keep it from infecting your devices.

Create Secure Passwords and Use Malware Protection

With or without many smart devices in your home, a secure Wi-Fi password is always a must. Here are some password tips:

  • Use a combination of capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, special characters and even spaces
  • Make sure to use a unique password for each item, don’t reuse the same password
  • Don’t choose simple passwords that are easy to guess, like 123456
  • Don’t use personal information as a password, like your child’s birthday

Even with a strong password, you should also use malware protection to keep your devices safe. Antivirus protection and firewalls can help you find malware and keep it from infecting your devices.

Use Multifactor Authentication When Possible

Multifactor authentication is an additional level of security that can help protect your smart devices. This could be a one-time password that gets emailed or texted directly to you so you can confirm the log in process. A thumbprint scan is another option for multifactor authentication.

All of these options may not be available with each device, but if there is a multifactor authentication option, take advantage of it. This extra level of protection could help keep your devices more secure.

Keep Your Security Updated

Cyber criminals create new schemes and attack methods all the time, which means that protecting your home network is a long-term need. Even if you use all of the methods above, you still want to make sure that you keep all of your security items up to date to get the maximum protection.

Security updates are created to keep up with the latest threats, so make sure that any time an update is available, you take advantage of it right away. Even putting it off for a few days can make your smart home more vulnerable. The small amount of time it takes to do an update is time well spent if it helps keep your home safe!

Smart Technologies for Your Home

No need to be nervous about home automation. You can incorporate smart house technology a little bit at a time.

If you’re not, shall we say, tech smart, the idea of using home automation might seem out of this world. But the good news is, there’s a variety of gadgets and gizmos on the market to help even the least tech-savvy person live in a smart home.

First steps to a smart house

Rest easy — you don’t have to go “all in” when starting a home automation project.

“Pick an initial feature of your home you would use the most in terms of automation, and expand from there,” says Lee Travis, owner of Wipliance in Bellevue, Washington.

But also keep in mind that you might want to add more smart technology to your home as time goes on. Investing in products that are compatible with a central automation system will help simplify the process down the road.

“A consumer can buy a thermostat or light switches and make them smartphone accessible,” says Kellan C. Warren, vice-president of Kelltech Systems in Dallas. “But keep in mind what your end goal is and purchase products that get you on that path. Once you start integrating, everything can work together. You can open the garage door, turn on the lights and set the thermostat with one touch. You make the rules.”

One of the most popular automation integration systems experts recommend is Control4, which starts around $1,000.

“The great thing about products like Control4 Home Automation is that you can install the system to control one feature initially; whether it’s your lights, your entertainment system, your security, or more,” Travis says. “Then as your needs change, you can expand on the existing system with those additional features.”

Let there be light

Having your lights automatically come on when you walk in a room or being able to turn lights on throughout the house when you’re not home is more than just convenient — it’s a safety issue. You won’t have to worry about stumbling over footstools in the dark or potential vandals casing a home that appears empty.

A smart thermostat will save energy

Living an energy-efficient lifestyle not only helps save the planet, but it also pads your wallet. It’s a win-win! A smart thermostat can help you cut down on energy bills by learning your habits and knows when to make the house warmer or cooler just for you.

Automatic curtain control

Some days you might want to flood your house with sunlight. Other days, you might want to hibernate in the darkness. With automated window treatments, the decision is literally at your fingertips.

Automating your blinds, curtains or shutters can also help keep your home’s interior at a comfortable temperature (blocking that late afternoon sun!) and give you privacy in an instant from the outside world. Shades can be set to open at sunrise and close automatically at sunset, or whatever time you prefer.

Under lock and key

Still hiding that spare key under the doormat? With the advances in electronic locks and wireless control, you don’t ever have to worry about losing your house key again. Electronic locks allow you to lock or unlock the door from your cell phone or you can set a temporary code and timeframe if you’re expecting a visitor. The lock will also send you a text message when your kid gets home from school — just like magic!

Garage door assurance

How many times have you backed out of your driveway, driven halfway down the street and looked over your shoulder to make sure you actually closed your garage door? There’s no need to risk a neck sprain (or running off the road) anymore once you’ve installed a remote access package to your garage door opener. From your smartphone, you can open or close the door and also receive activity notifications of any door movement.

An Overview of Modern Technology

Present-day technology has changed development in a lot of ways. People have often been on a way of movement, yet on account of technology. Some of the technology progresses has turned into a necessity of life because of their significance and our dependence on them.


One of the regions where present-day technology is most essential is in the domain of correspondence. Long back, speaking with people outside your prompt area was a troublesome procedure, requiring correspondence by physical letter and a much measure of tolerance. The Internet has made long separations practically straightforward, permitting clients to relate with people on the opposite side of the planet in a moment. Technology has additionally expanded our availability, with mobile phones and different gadgets.


Another territory where PCs and the Internet have turned out to be critical is in training. PCs can store a lot of information in a little space; diminishing whole give up work of refer to books down to a solitary CD of information. The Internet likewise serves as an enormous asset for learning, connecting educational locales together and permitting the inquisitive to scan for any subject possible. A solitary PC could store many instructive diversions, sound, and visual lessons and also give access to an abundance of learning for understudy. In the classroom, virtual whiteboards can supplant boards, permitting instructors to give intuitive substance to understudy and play instructive movies without the need to set up a projector.


Technology has likewise affected the human services industry. Advances in symptomatic instruments permit specialists to distinguish sicknesses and conditions early, expanding the odds of an effective treatment and sparing lives. Progressions in medications and antibodies have likewise demonstrated greatly powerful, about killing infections like measles, diphtheria, and smallpox that once brought about huge plagues. Cutting edge pharmaceutical likewise permits patients to oversee constant conditions that were once incapacitating and life-undermining, such as, diabetes and hypertension. Innovative advances in solution have likewise developed life expectancies and enhance personal satisfaction for people around the world.


Technology has likewise expanded efficiency. The capacity of PCs to settle complex numerical conditions permits them to accelerate any undertaking requiring estimation or different figuring. PC displaying of physical impacts can spare time and cash in any assembling circumstance, giving specialists the capacity to renovate structures, vehicles or materials to give essential information on execution before prototyping. Indeed, even in the workplace environment, the capacity of arranged PCs to share and control information can speed a wide assortment of errands, permitting representatives to unite proficiently for most extreme efficiency.

Thus, the role of technology is essential for all of us.

Getting Smart With Technology

When leaders of Humber River Hospital set out to build a replacement hospital in Toronto, they didn’t just want to incorporate the latest technologies, such as a real-time location system (RTLS), integrated bedside terminals, or automated guided vehicles (AGVs), into the 1.8 million-square-foot facility.

They wanted those technologies—including automated building and clinical systems—to be able to work together and achieve a more sophisticated level of interoperability. “The technology existed,” says Jerry Jeter, vice president and principal at HDR (Denver); but it was more about “getting those things to talk to each other and do it in a way that the hospital wanted.”

The pathway to success entailed assessing every system that was going to be implemented in the 656-bed hospital and developing compatible software to connect everything, including an “enterprise service bus,” which Jeter describes as a big channel conduit that allows information to flow to and from any location within the building. This means that when a provider sends a sample for testing, it’s processed in a fully automated lab and then the provider receives a message on a smart phone about the test and what’s been done.

“Then all of that information is filtered into the electronic health record (EHR) at the same time, allowing the staff to more effectively and efficiently treat their patients,” he says.

Driven by the desire to improve the patient experience, create Lean operations, support population health, and meet mandates for EHRs, more healthcare systems are seeking robust technology solutions, which is driving new design discussions. Sandy Faurot, vice president at CallisonRTKL and director of the firm’s Chicago office, says that providers today are more technologically savvy and better educated on what specific systems they’d like to put to work inside their facilities.

“It used to be that clients didn’t really know what technology was going to do for them, but they knew it was going to change. So they wanted flexibility to handle whatever type of technology could come at them,” he says. “Now they’re a little more targeted; they know they want radio-frequency identification (RFID) for locating staff and equipment, they know they want a patient technology interface for wayfinding, and they know electronic medical records are going to interface with everything else.”

The opportunity for healthcare designers and architects is figuring out which pieces of the technology puzzle are appropriate for an organization’s goals while planning for future adaptations and changes. “The conversations are about how to streamline workflows, develop efficiencies in our process, measure data, and adapt our processes to increase efficiencies,” says Scott Chester, associate vice president within CallisonRTKL’s technology design studio (Baltimore, Md.). “With those things in mind, a lot of the focus is on strategies that leverage technology and the systems that are available to help foster that.”

All systems go

Humber River opened its doors in October 2015 with an array of digital features, including inpatient rooms with integrated bedside terminals that give patients control over room settings (temperature, lighting levels, and the intelligent glazing system which can adjust how much light enters the room without the use of shades); smart beds that monitor patients’ vital signs and update EHRs; an automated laboratory; and 10 AGVs that deliver supplies and equipment throughout the building.

Additionally, a chute system directly routes all waste, recycling, and dirty linens to specific truck beds, eliminating handling by staff, while a pneumatic tube system links the laboratory and pharmacy to the nurses’ stations on the inpatient floors and 50 other locations throughout the building to expedite delivery of samples and medications.

“Between the AGVs, the trash and linen chutes, and the pneumatic tube system, we were able to automate 74 percent of the deliveries in the hospital,” Jeter says—saving the hospital the need for 19 full-time employees per day.

Operational savings aren’t the only benefit healthcare facilities are reaping with technology—greater efficiencies and improved clinical outcomes are also being served. When St. Joseph Mercy Oakland embarked on the design of a new 204-bed patient tower on its campus in Pontiac, Mich., administrators asked caregivers to identify some of the pain points in the care process and then sought technologies to help address those problems.

One of the issues brought to the table was overall communications, says Robert Jones, senior director of information services at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland. In the existing system, a patient would press a call button and someone would have to route that call to the appropriate staff member. The staff member would then go into the patient room to figure out what was needed, and then leave and come back if the needed item wasn’t already available in the room.

“We wanted to deliver that nurse call alert directly to the nurse, wherever they might be,” he says.

When the tower opened in March 2014, a new communication network was in place that uses iPhone-based communication devices to connect nurses with patients, staff, and physicians as well as deliver alarms and monitoring cues. Nurses can also use the handheld devices to send text messages to one another and to receive alerts about delivery times for medications and meals.

Jones says that the average nurse call response time decreased by 57 percent between fourth quarter 2014 and first quarter 2016, which correlated with a 12 percent improvement in the HCAHPS survey on the response to questions on hospital staff. “The number of unnecessary caregiver trips was reduced as a result of more effective communication among caregivers and between patients and their caregivers,” he says.

Optimizing the benefits

Location-based services, such as RTLS and RFID, are other technologies that have been gaining popularity in recent years to identify and track the location or movement of patients, staff, or assets, such as wheelchairs and stretchers, throughout a facility. At Humber River Hospital, RTLS enhances security for vulnerable patients, such as newborn babies and those with mental health conditions, who wear tracking tags that are linked to a nurse call system. A security response is initiated if the RTLS system is activated by certain activities, such as a patient making an unsanctioned leave from a department.

Humber River uses RFID as a separate but interconnected system to RTLS to improve communications between staff and family members. The technology tracks patients through a department or procedure and sends updates via text to a family member’s smartphone to inform them when a patient moves from pre-op to surgery and then into a recovery room.

Additionally, each care provider wears an RFID device and when they enter an inpatient room, their name and reason for the visit come up on an integrated bedside terminal and a monitor on the footwall, making the information visible to patients as well as family members in the room. “It’s a way to connect people using technology so they know what’s going on and they can ask the right kind of questions,” says Norman Fisher, project manager at HDR’s Toronto office.

Real-time data can also be used to take a more analytical approach to drive process improvements by measuring and evaluating certain activities, such as patient flow through specific departments (surgery, the ED, or a clinic), and making adjustments.

“There’s a huge advantage in those departments to be able to identify a patient’s flow, where they are in the process, and then to adj
ust your approach to their visit based on the information that’s available,” CallisonRTKL’s Chester says. As time goes on and more data are collected, he says design teams can also mine that information to make decisions about facility size, layout, and number of exam rooms needed in a specific department.

Smart planning

As healthcare organizations expand their technology initiatives, Jeff Brand, principal and national healthcare leader at Perkins Eastman (New York), says providers are allocating space on their campuses for data rooms, equipment, server racks, and more. “They want to have things fairly close to them so they can monitor it,” he says.

Tom Stanfield, technology integration coordinator for Parkland Health and Hospital System (Dallas), says the massive New Parkland Hospital, which opened in August 2015, required a robust network that could be “future-proof for 10-15 years down the road.” To support that goal, Stanfield and his team built an infrastructure that includes a redundant fiber ring around the entire campus to carry high-bandwidth data to support a range of technologies, from telemetry coverage across the campus to smartboard technologies in the footwall of the inpatient rooms to a video integration system in the operating rooms that allows surgeons to consult with other clinicians in real time.

During construction, Stanfield says, ductwork and manholes were placed in locations where they could easily accommodate expansion as additional buildings and technologies are brought onto the network. Inside the hospital, Stanfield says there are more than 70 technology closets, which hold 9-foot-tall equipment racks to maximize the vertical and horizontal spaces within each room.

“We built out the racks to 100 percent, but some of the racks are still empty,” he says. “It was easier to go in and install the racks [now] and then fill them with technology as the need accrues.”

Jones says he’s always looking for technology that he can continue to build on for St. Joseph Mercy Oakland but that one of the biggest hurdles within healthcare is funding. “You have to identify the return on investment or how you can leverage existing infrastructure to get you what you need,” he says.

CallisonRTKL’s Chester says involving the IT team early on in the planning can help figure out what’s available and cost-effective, both now and for the future. “We can look at it and do things in the planning process to provide the connectivity or infrastructure so if the budget doesn’t support it on day one, they can roll a system out when they have the funds to support it,” he says

The digital revolution: eight technologies that will change health and care

The past decade has seen rapid development and adoption of technologies that change the way we live. But which technologies will have a similarly transformative impact on health and care?

The King’s Fund has looked at some examples of innovative technology-enabled care that are already being deployed in the NHS and internationally to transform care. Now, we examine the technologies most likely to change health and care over the next few years.

Some of the technologies we discuss are on the horizon – others are already in our pockets, our local surgeries and hospitals. But none are systematically deployed in our health and care system. Each could represent an opportunity to achieve better outcomes or more efficient care.

1. The smartphone



It’s been eight years since the launch of these pocket-sized devices we now know so well. We take them for granted but our phones combine: computing power that could steer a spacecraft, a connection to the internet, a host of sensors for health-relevant data like movement and location tracking, plus a touch-screen interface.

Two-thirds of Britons use them to access the internet (Ofcom Technology Tracker 2015), and few would regard these devices as ‘new’, yet the smartphone’s potential is yet to be realised in health and care.


App stores already feature thousands of health apps, though their uptake for health and care has been patchy. Efforts to curate the best quality apps, for example in the NHS App Library, have had little success so far (Huckvale et al 2015).

One of the more sophisticated apps in use in health care is Ginger.io. In this depression programme, people track their own mood and this is combined with data collected from the sensors in the smartphone about their movements, social app or telephone use. The data can be shared with clinicians and offers people an intervention when their data suggests they might benefit from support.


Smartphones can serve as the hub for sophisticated new diagnostic and treatment technologies. So, for example, people with type 1 diabetes dissatisfied with the progress of medical technology companies are driving the development of an artificial pancreas. This links continuous glucose monitoring and insulin-delivery systems that are all controlled by the smartphone. It will adapt its algorithms for insulin delivery to a person’s physiology.

Large-scale research

Smartphones are highly effective data collection devices and they can record a lot of detail about people’s lives. As well as tracking their own health status, people can also help researchers gather large amounts of data on health problems and their determinants using their smartphones.

The first long-term and large-scale opt-in disease studies are just beginning. Apple seeks to support large-scale studies using patients’ iPhones by providing its ‘ResearchKit’ software platform for researchers to tackle any research question. uMotif is seeking eventually to build a 100,000-person study into Parkinson’s disease, tracking variables using a smartphone app.

2. At-home or portable diagnostics

Portable x-ray machine

Devices cheap enough or portable enough to be transported to people’s homes to provide diagnostic information aren’t new – think of a GP doing home visits armed with a stethoscope. But recent innovations mean that devices previously only kept in a hospital or a GP surgery are now portable or cheap enough to be located in people’s homes, and used by patients themselves.

Hospital-level diagnostics in the home

These include portable x-ray machines, blood-testing kits and other technology that can provide more and more of the diagnostics required to support health care, with profound consequences for the way we configure our health care system.

At a recent conference at The King’s Fund on emerging primary and acute care systems, Dr Michael Montalto described how these technologies and others enable the safe, high-quality acute care service that his team has provided for people in Victoria, Australia, in their own homes for 20 years. One recent innovation in this area is the AliveCOR ECG embedded in a smartphone case that helps interpret test results via an app and facilitates secure sharing with clinicians (NICE evidence review).

Smart assistive technology

Many people with disabilities or long-term conditions use assistive devices to help them perform tasks or activities made harder for them by their disability or their condition. These are often available as part of NHS and social care packages. The prospect of using these to gather information in addition to achieving a specific task is motivating several new developments.

Verily (formerly Google’s life sciences arm) has invested in a tremor spoon already on the market for use by people with Parkinson’s disease, for example. By incorporating sensors and deploying its data analytic expertise, the aim is to provide people or health professionals with information about how someone’s tremor characteristics and severity change over time – and to understand more about the disease across a population. Smart inhalers like those in development by Propeller Health work on a similar idea, passively detecting each use, location and the surrounding air quality, allowing insights into what triggers asthma attacks.

3. Smart or implantable drug delivery mechanisms

Drug delivery

We know that between a third and a half of all medication prescribed to people with long-term conditions is not taken as recommended (Nunes et al 2009). Several technologies in development could enable patients and care professionals to monitor and improve adherence to a prescribed drug regime either through automation or providing better information about medication usage.

Smart pills

One company has developed sensor technology so small it can be swallowed and combined with drugs in pill form. When the pill dissolves in the stomach, the sensor is activated and transmits data to a wearable patch on the outside of the body and on to a smartphone app. This enables patients and their clinicians to see how well they are adhering to their prescription.

Proteus Digital Health began the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory process for this technology in 2015. The treatment now undergoing review combines the technology with an anti-psychotic drug, raising questions about how health systems could use the technology and how privacy and autonomy for patients will be affected. The company are also investigating other potential applications including assisting those with long-term conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease to remember to take their medications.

Implantable drug delivery

New automated drug delivery technology is under development by a firm set up by researchers and engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They are developing an implantable device with hundreds of tiny, sealable reservoirs that open when a small electric current controlled by an embedded microchip is applied (Farra et al 2012). The team developing the device say it could provide a way to automatically release doses for more than 10 years from a single chip. They are developing the technology for long-term condition medication as well as for contraception.

4. Digital therapeutics

Digital therapeutics

Digital therapeutics are health or social care interventions delivered either wholly or significantly through a smartphone or a laptop. They effectively embed clinical practice and therapy into a digital form. At a minimum, these interventions combine provision of clinically curated information on a health condition with advice and techniques for dealing with that condition.Many digital therapy platforms include a way for people to connect with peers and share their experience, or to connect with health professionals remotely. Whether they are fully automated or blend automation with supervision, the therapy offered can be tailored to the needs of the specific user. Digital therapeutics are often cited as a solution to help manage long-term conditions that call for behaviour changes or to prevent diseases in the long run.

Computerised cognitive behavioural therapy

The use of computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in the NHS has a relatively long history. Two recent independent studies looking at early-generation computerised CBT suggested that the main limitations in effectiveness were due to people failing to complete the course. Adolescents were more likely to finish the programmes and so benefited more from them. (Gilbody et al 2015, Smith et al 2015).

Recently, a new generation of automated digital therapies based on CBT has been developed that aims to deliver CBT at scale with better engagement. Sleepio is one example, a six-week tailored programme delivered via the web, designed to treat insomnia, and in doing so help alleviate anxiety and depression. There have been positive early results in randomised controlled trials (Espie et al 2012, Pillai et al 2015). The therapy is personalised in response to data provided by the patient and by using the latest practice in design and delivering the therapy via an animated avatar, the course is made more engaging. Design and personalisation are key elements likely to improve engagement, and therefore outcomes, in digital therapies of all types.

New preventive digital therapies

Another class of digital therapies are in development to help people make changes to reduce the risk of developing long-term conditions. Interventions to change lifestyles through regular coaching and group sessions can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Sean Duffy, CEO of Omada Health, which delivers online therapies for a range of conditions, gave a presentation at The King’s Fund Annual Conference, showing how the company has achieved positive results in its early evaluations in the United States.

5. Genome sequencing

Genome sequencing

Advances in genome sequencing and the associated field of genomics will give us better understanding of how diseases affect different individuals. With the genetic profile of a person’s disease and knowledge of their response to treatment, it should be possible to find out more about the likely effectiveness of medical interventions such as prescribing drugs to treat a disease (pharmacogenomics).

Falling sequencing costs

Twenty years have passed since the first complete genome sequence of a living organism was produced and twelve since the first human genome was sequenced. In that time, the economics of genome sequencing has changed significantly. The US National Human Genome Research Institute estimates that the marginal cost of sequencing a single person’s genome has now come down to $1,000. However, the upfront costs are still high and likely to remain so for a long time.

The cost of sequencing could fall further thanks to new sequencing techniques using nanopores developed over the past few years. Nanopores are very small holes that DNA molecules can pass through. When an electric current is induced through the pore, variation in the current as DNA molecules are passed through can be used to infer their make-up. Oxford Nanopore Technologies uses this approach to offer very small genome sequencing devices, far more portable than the larger, fridge-sized machines used in traditional laboratory-based sequencing.

Population-level studies

Major projects are under way internationally to gather large databases of genomes and analyse them to find relationships between genetic make-up, people’s disease risk and experience, their physical characteristics and their behaviour.

In the United Kingdom, the government is sponsoring the 100,000 Genomes project in England. Human Longevity Inc in the United States promises to build a database featuring 1 million genomes by 2020 and currently has 20,000 sequenced genomes linked to other data about the person’s physical characteristics. Verily aims, with its Baseline study (a research collaboration between the company and Stanford and Duke medical schools), to analyse large amounts of volunteers’ linked genome, lifestyle and physical data to develop a better understanding of how all that data looks when a person is healthy and identify the changes that indicate disease at an earlier stage.

6. Machine learning

Machine learning

Until recently, computers weren’t especially good at recognising patterns in messy data. Or rather, the way we programmed them meant they weren’t very good. New techniques have now been developed in the applied mathematics and computer science fields that have allowed more effective use of computers for tasks like this. Machine learning is one such field. It is a type of artificial intelligence that enables computers to learn without being explicitly programmed, meaning they can teach themselves to change when exposed to new data.

New insights into big datasets

Several new businesses hope to use these techniques to provide diagnostic support. Enlitic in the United States has created a tool for radiologists that uses previous findings and other data associated with existing images in its databases to spot patterns in images and the data to help spot likely mistakes and rule out extremely unlikely options. Both IBM’s Watson and Google’s DeepMind – the two most famous artificial intelligence organisations – have started to explore potential applications in health care. For example, IBM Watson is studying whether applying machine learning to large amounts of unstructured data like clinical guidelines, scientific literature and treatment protocols could help optimise cancer treatment.

Here at The King’s Fund, we are working with colleagues at Demos’ Centre for Analysis of Social Media to see what is practical and ethical in terms of applying machine learning techniques to user-generated content on the internet. We are hoping to understand the insights that health systems can glean about patient need and how services meet that need.

7. Blockchain


Blockchains were conceived in 2008 and the most well-known application is the digital currency Bitcoin. The technology has potential uses in a wide range of other fields, particularly financial services and government functions, where it is already being deployed.Blockchains are decentralised databases, secured using encryption, that keep an authoritative record of how data is created and changed over time. Their key feature is they can be trusted as authoritative records even when there is not a single, central, respected authority updating them and guaranteeing their accuracy and security. This derives from the mathematical properties of the way the data is recorded and the difficulty it would take to break the rules and successfully alter the record.

Decentralised health records

Electronic records for health care are now widely used, but they are stored on centralised databases, secured and provided by a small number of suppliers. Some commentators have described how a decentralised database using blockchain technology to contain all or some of patients’ health information would work, with the patient or clinician given the keys to control who else sees the data.

They argue that the system would be more resilient as no single organisation houses the data and that switching to or incorporating blockchains into existing systems could help to speed up the transition to interoperable patient records. The technology could be applied to create accurate records of health interventions and eventually verified outcomes, which could be used as the basis for reimbursing providers for the health outcomes they achieve for their local population.

8. The connected community


Connected commmunity

Behind all technologies, there are people. The internet and the devices and technology it has enabled have facilitated the development of many communities, bringing together people around a common interest, a shared identity, a social movement, or even just hashtags.

Peer-to-peer support networks

Connected communities for health are growing in their membership and their diversity. Several platforms bring together people with interests in health and care within countries and across the world to support each other, share learning and even provide a platform for tracking their health data or helping them manage their condition.

MedHelp, PatientsLikeMe and HealthUnlocked are just three of these social networks for health. Alongside these dedicated networks, platforms such as Twitter and Facebook that dominate the social network market in the United Kingdom have also become key places for disseminating and discussing health and care information and best practice – as Daniel Ghinn of Creative Health told our Digital Health and Care Congress in 2015.

Communities contributing to research

Some online communities are already contributing to research about their health conditions, offering people the chance to be ‘data donors’ and providing a simple way to share their data with researchers. PatientsLikeMe has already been used to contribute to nearly 70 published studies, including a study credited with new discoveries about the disease progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Healthbank offers a different model, and is described as ‘the world’s first citizen-owned health data transaction platform’. Members pay a one-off fee to store health data securely and control who it is shared with. The organisation is a co-operative, so profits made using the patient data are paid out in dividends to its members.


5 smart tech trends transforming the job site

RFID labor tracking, 360 cameras, and advanced video tools are among the tech innovations that show promise for the commercial construction industry.

Drones, GoPro, RFID, Oculus Rift, augmented reality, 360 cameras, 3D laser scanners, GIS systems. There’s no shortage of tech gadgets that are ripe for adoption on commercial construction projects. Making these tech tools even more enticing for construction firms are the low barrier to entry—for example, professional-grade drones go for as low as $650—and improved integration with existing workflows and systems.

“It’s been overwhelming at times just trying to get a handle on all the new innovations,” says James Barrett, VP and Chief Innovation Officer with Turner Construction. “It’s easy to get caught up in the coolness of these tools, but I feel like some of them are just a solution looking for a problem.” Turner takes an incremental approach to technology adoption, selecting the tools that offer the most favorable cost-to-benefit ratio.

In late 2013, Suffolk Construction formed a 12-person R&D team to help keep up with emerging technologies. The group, led by Senior Project Manager Jason Seaburg, has a formal process for testing new gadgets, including twice-monthly conference calls and timelines for testing.

“We work in an industry that, quite honestly, is a decade behind the times when it comes to technology,” says Seaburg. “We need to foster a culture and mindset where it’s OK to beta test all these new technologies hitting the market, and where it’s OK to fail. If a particular tool doesn’t work, that’s fine, we’ll move on to the next thing.”

To find out which technologies are working for contractors, and which emerging applications show promise, BD+C reached out to several giant contractor firms. Here’s what they had to offer:

1. 360 cameras simplify visual documentation.

Manhattan Construction has seen huge benefits from the use 360 cameras. Manhattan’s Mark Penny, an SVP in the firm’s Dallas office, says the technology has greatly reduced the need for client/team site visits on the multi-year DFW International Airport modernization and improvement project. It also has assisted the team with making sense of the existing conditions (very few as-built drawings exist) and documenting the construction progress.

Every two weeks, during routine field walks of the job site, the project’s superintendent uses a Nikon D7100, fitted with a fisheye lens for panoramic shots, to take four images from dozens of predetermined locations across the site. The images from each location are then stitched together using  software and linked to a custom digital floor plan of the project, allowing anyone on the team to take a virtual, high-definition tour of the facility.

“Say there’s a conflict with ductwork,” says Penny. “We can pull up the latest photo of that area, pan and zoom to that exact spot, and collaborate with the designers and client—virtually—to resolve it.”

2. Teams are taking control of video.

Tech gadgets like drones, GoPros, and tablets make video capture a breeze in the field. The issue for contractors is what to do with the information—how best to archive video for future use, or tie it in with the construction information workflow.

Both Suffolk and Turner are working with software developers to create custom tools to help take control of their video data. Suffolk is planning a YouTube-like website that will allow its staff to upload and quickly retrieve project videos. The most novel feature: an advanced search function that will take viewers to a specific point of a video based on keyword input. “It could be a three-hour project video, but you need to see the foundation installation at the 12-minute mark,” says Seaburg. “This tool will take you to that exact spot.”

Turner is working with software engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign to develop an automated safety check program that will analyze video feeds to identify workers who are not wearing safety gear, such as hardhats, vests, and glasses. “Our push has been to leverage easily accessible technologies, like video and photos, combined with advanced analysis, to solve problems,” says Barrett.

3. Rise of the smart factory network.

No tech innovation is making a bigger impact on construction projects than prefabrication, says Barrett. Building Teams are experiencing sizable gains in schedule and workforce efficiencies, and are looking for new ways to move the “big thinking” off the job site and into a factory-like setting. Precast exterior walls, unitized curtain wall, multi-trade racks, bathrooms pods, prefab head walls, and equipment skids are now commonplace on major projects. Emerging applications include precast foundations and interior partitions.

“The smartest job site is not one site, but a network of job sites where trade contractors are prefabricating components in a clean, controlled environment, and then delivering them only as needed,” says Barrett.

Trade contractors are becoming increasingly sophisticated, says Barrett. He points to Quakertown, Pa.-based Klover Contracting, which recently launched a BIM-to-cold-roll-forming-machine workflow for the manufacture of light-gauge metal frame components for a variety of applications—interior partitions, roof and floor trusses, load-bearing wall panels, to name a few. Based on the rough BIM model for a given project, Klover’s team can create a detailed framing design that incorporates door/window openings, structural requirements, duct openings, and panel breaks. This file is then sent to the firm’s cold-roll forming machines, which “print” each component to precise specifications.


4. BIM in the field is starting to pay off.

To speed the site inspection process at the 620,000-sf, 11-story Brigham Building for the Future project at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Suffolk Construction implemented a QR-code-based BIM-in-the-field workflow. Team members can quickly call up documents for a given space and provide real-time feedback by scanning a QR code label affixed to the nearest doorframe. Courtesy Suffolk Construction


Suffolk is rolling out Autodesk’s BIM 360 Glue (cloud-based BIM/VDC coordination) and 360 Field (mobile project management) across the organization. One of the most useful applications, says Seaburg, is quality control inspection using the BIM 360 Field app on iPads, combined with QR codes on the job site.

On the firm’s $280 million, 620,000-sf Brigham Building for the Future project, currently under construction in Boston, the team placed QR codes on the door frames of every space in the complex. During work-list inspections (and eventually punch-list inspections), team members can open the 360 Field app and scan the QR code of a given room for a detailed, real-time list of work to be completed and questions to be addressed.

“From there, we can change the status, add comments, put it in dispute, mark it as complete, and even add a picture,” says Tom Reid, Suffolk’s Assistant Project Manager. “It allows us to work through lists almost in real time.”

5. RFID is on the cusp of going mainstream.

Turner has been studying RFID tracking for several years, and has implemented RFID solutions intermittently—with reasonable success, says Barrett.

“We’re chasing the low-hanging fruit, like tracking workers as they enter and leave the site, and to see if they’re up to date on their certifications,” he says. With newer solutions, like Trimble’s CrewSight system, Barrett believes RFID is ready for prime time.

“Costs have come down, and it’s becoming easier to deploy,” he says. “We’re looking to make it standard on projects.”

Bluetooth Smart Compatibility

What is Smart Bluetooth? 

Smart Bluetooth (or Bluetooth Low Energy) is a technology for wireless communication. Its main feature is the ability to communicate while consuming very little power. 
That is why it is increasingly used in portable products such as smart watches, tracker devices or GPS watches. 

What is the difference between Bluetooth and the Smart Bluetooth? 

SMART Bluetooth and Bluetooth  are different from the “classics”. Regular Bluetooths consume much more energy and at a higher transfer rate. That is why it is used frequently with headphones or hand free devices, for example. 
Its pairing mode is also different. 
SMART Bluetooth products do not appear in the list of Bluetooth devices on a phone. They need an application to be downloaded with it.    
The only pairing option is with this application!
List of enabled devices with Smart Bluetooth :


  • iPhone from 4S to 7 PLus : 
    • iPhone 4s
    • iPhone 5
    • iPhone 5s
    • iPhone 5c
    • iPhone 6
    • iPhone 6 Plus
    • iPhone 7
    • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPad
    • iPad, 3rd generation
    • iPad, 4th generation
    • iPad mini
    • iPad mini 2
    • iPad mini 3
    • iPad Air
    • iPad Air 2


In order to make life easier for us in keeping up with the ever-changing list of compatible Android products, we created an app for you to check to see if your smartphone tab is compatible with the Bluetooth Smart Technology. This app is called Decathlon Utility. Click HERE to reach the playstore webpage of the app or scan the following QR code ! 😉
Do not hesitate to leave a review in the commend section of the Playstore ! 😉

This only concerns the Bluetooth Smart Chestbelt compatibility:

Windows Phone

(OS required : Windows Phone 8.1 minimum)

Nokia :

  • Lumia (525, 530, 620, 625, 630, 635, 720, 730, 735, 830, 930, Icon, 1320, 1520, 2520)






iOS :

  • Decathlon Coach
  • Runkeeper
  • Runtastic Pro 
  • Endomondo
  • Strava
Android 4.3 minimum :

  • Endomondo
  • Runtastic Pro

Windows Phone :

  • MiCoach
  • Runtastic Pro


Smart Lighting Market and Technology Trends

Intelligent lighting technology that enables its users to control lighting through connected devices such as smart phones or remote controls is a big topic in the industry. A new report sheds light on different aspects of this business including drivers, restraints and opportunities. Jasmine Hinduja, Research Analyst at The Insight Partners, summarizes the major findings and how the trend to intelligent systems affects the companies regarding technology skills and strategies.

The current ecological imbalance in the ecosystem has transformed the way business was done traditionally. Today, a large number of companies are adopting a “Green” strategy to support sustainable development across the globe. Furthermore, private and public sectors are joining forces to encourage various smart initiatives worldwide. The market for smart technologies is growing rapidly, and lighting is one of the major prospects in this market. The global smart lighting market had accounted for $ 9.10 Bn in the year 2014, and is expected to cross the milestone of $ 51.50 Bn by the year 2025, growing at the CAGR of 17.1%.

Background of the Trend

The smart lighting market is highly influenced by the escalating concerns for the well being of the environment. Across the globe, energy conservation is considered one of the most important concerns, and efficient or smart lighting significantly contribute to conserving energy. Europe is the leading region for lighting system technology and human centric lighting. Presently Europe has various lighting associations rigorously working towards the deployment of smart lighting controls in the public and private arenas. Lighting Europe is one of the largest lighting associations in Europe, and has produced 400 scientific papers and conducted 19 events in smart lighting, in the year 2015. North America is considered to be one of the best potential markets in the lighting industry for smart lighting solutions. The operating cost of lighting in commercial buildings is estimated to be significantly high in North America, and smart lighting provides an efficient and cost effective solution. Moreover, energy policies and regulations to limit the consumption of energy are appropriately implemented in North America, supporting the development and adoption of smart lighting solutions in the region. Smart lighting solutions are also experiencing significant adoption in developing countries. Asia Pacific is the fastest growing economy in the smart lighting industry, followed by South America, the Middle East and Africa.

The lighting industry has been undergoing a radical transformation fueled by rapid improvisation in semiconductor technology and the development of LED lighting as well as the demand for energy-efficient and sustainable solutions. LED is known to be the most feasible alternative to its counterparts because of its longer life span and ability to consume comparatively less energy. Also, LED lights are anticipated to remain in trend for a long time and there is nearly zero probability of a phase out or ban on this lighting technology since the amount of hazardous chemicals in it are negligible. Additionally, it is easily recyclable and can be embedded/integrated with controlling devices. It has been observed that the interest of the population across the globe in controlling lighting within their facilities (including homes, offices, and other institutions) using their phones and smart devices is continuously growing. This is strengthening the foundation for further development of connected and intelligent lighting technologies.

The growing interest of users in controlling their lights has engendered several communication and lighting controls/technology firms to swap to the budding, smart lighting market. Although LEDs are the most prominent choice for smart lighting systems other traditional light bulbs such as High Intensity Discharge lamps, fluorescent lamps and CFLs can also be utilized in smart lighting.

Systems, Levels of Integration and Intelligence

The smart lighting systems can either be sensor integrated or non-sensor integrated. Sensor integrated lights are capable of adjusting the luminosity of lights by automatically detecting people and daylight with the help of sensors embedded in this system. Whereas non-sensor integrated lighting systems are still considered as smart as they are programmable. Due to significant development and innovation in wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Li-Fi, etc., majority of upcoming smart lighting systems are expected to be wireless, hence the market for wireless smart systems lighting market is anticipated to grow at the compound annual growth rate of 23%.

The market for wireless smart lighting systems is mostly driven by increasing availability of open source software, advancements in developers’ platforms, decreasing costs of components, maturing standards, pervasive mesh networking, multi-protocol gateway and chips, IP addressability and myriad WSN (wireless networking sensors) chip vendors. The development cycle of IoT based wireless products has enhanced from years to months. Also, the evergreen market of smart devices, such as smart phones, smart watches, tablets etc. is also encouraging the demand for wireless sensor based lighting systems. Furthermore, the wireless smart lighting market is expected to expand its presence in residential buildings, owing to the growing demand of wireless smart lighting systems for home automation and building automation.

Wired smart lighting technology currently has the major share and will continue to dominate the market in the future. Along with the forthcoming advancements in the wireless smart lighting technology, it is predicted to eclipse the wired smart lighting technology market share during the forecast period.

The WSN (Wireless Sensor based Network) are yet to gain popularity in the commercial as well as corporate infrastructures, as their installation in these facades require huge initial capitalization, although the market for these WSN in smart lighting is predicted to increase owing to advancements in sensor technologies eliminating the complications and glitches in current technology. The WSN market is expected to have an approximate market share of 4 billion by the year 2025. Growth is expected to pump in the initial years owing to tremendous development in smart homes and building automation, and reach its saturation point later, for the most part, in developed regions across the globe. Whereas, in regions like Middle East and Africa the shipments will increase.

The wireless smart lighting market has numerous protocols and lighting networks being deployed by various OEMs as there aren’t any regulatory specifications over this technology.

Presently, majority of communication in smart lighting systems are DALI based. DALI (Digitally addressable lighting Interface) products establishes communication between smart lights and controlling devices such as smart phones, smart watches, tablets, etc. Also DALI supports various smart bulbs and lighting brands that include Osram GmbH, Eaton Corporation, GE Lighting, LG electronics and many more, which makes it more flexible and user friendly. ZigBee is another such platform that enables its users to control LED Fixtures, bulbs, remotes and switches. Philips Hue is the most popular smart lighting product supported by ZigBee.

How It All Began

Phillips became a pioneer brand in smart lighting industry by introducing its first LED smart lighting starter, Philips Hue. Later on several other companies also launched smart version of their lighting systems, in order to maintain their market positions. Company’s core strength comprises of its extensive focus upon R&D, supported by strong global brand image that aids the strong foothold of the organization globally. Philips face a tough competition from its other industry mates that are Osram, Acuity Brands, GE lightings and several startup companies venturing into this market.

Smart Lighting in the Different Applications

The smart lighting market is also broadly categorized on the basis of its placements, i.e., indoor and outdoor lighting. The outdoor lighting segment comprises of bikeways, parks, streets and parking lots. In recent years the segment has experienced major transformations resulting in rapid market growth. Here, LEDs are anticipated to capture approximately 85% of the streetlight market during the forecast period, whereas the smart streetlight market is estimated to reach 37% of the entire streetlight market. This development in outdoor lighting is anticipated to generate ample savings in maintenance costs and energy, gaining notable attention from both public and private sectors. The integration of occupancy sensors to the street lights has become a revolutionary innovation as it allows the street lights to operate in low intensity, saving up to 40% energy. The rate of energy conservation is predicted to increase further, considering the rising number of retrofitting initiatives taken by government and private organizations worldwide.

At the same time the indoor smart lighting market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25% by the year 2025 driven by the demand to reduce energy consumption of the mounting population, meet the federal and state level regulations related to the environmental impact, and mitigate operational and maintenance costs. With the growing trend in Internet of Things and connected homes the residential indoor smart lighting is expected to gain a lot of popularity. In several developed countries this technology is in high demand coupled with other smart technologies like security cameras and similar home automation solutions. Companies like Zumtobel, Philips, Acuity Brands, and Daintree are some of the active players in the residential smart lighting market.

About the Obstacles

At the initial stage the smart lighting market was facing a lack of standardization, which was the major challenge hindering the growth of the future market. But now there are companies working towards building a common platform to control the smart lighting systems belonging to different brands and categories. IFTTT is an initiative taken to standardize the IoT platform. Currently, it has a limited number of supporting brands, but its ability to create a common hub for controlling all the smart devices with the help of a mobile phone is expected to flourish creating further opportunity for newcomers in the smart lighting market.

Outlook and Future Requirements

The lighting industry is currently going through a major transformation. As lighting is becoming smart it’s no more just a matter of sockets, switches and bulbs. These smart lighting solutions are now sensor integrated and perform various other activities such as human activity monitoring, balancing the demand and supply fluctuations in power and much more. Currently, the technologically advanced algorithms drive smart lighting. Moreover, the rising trend of smart cities in cooperation with data analytics is anticipated to revolutionize the way the lighting industry operated a few years back. Now the lighting manufacturers are partnering/collaborating with IT organizations to fill the gaps about how the consumers perceive the latest lighting technology and make it user-friendlier, which is exhibiting a gradual shift of the lighting industry from hardware components to software and services. The upcoming smart lighting systems are predicted to be equipped with highly robust sensors for both outdoor as well as indoor lighting. The smart street lights would not only behave energy efficiently but also act as a crime detector enabled with gun-shot detectors and camera, air quality analyzer and perform data collection, analysis and offer this information to all the key executives, monitoring the city. Additionally, smart lighting will be making a huge impact on the work environment in companies. This lighting would optimize the usage of lighting in various corners of the office, such as boardrooms and cabins and also provide the employees with information such as density of people in a particular area of the work place and an ideal or vacant space in the office. In coming years, software developers and IT companies will also become an important part of this industry, generating several new opportunities for the smart lighting market such as the smart lighting technology that is anticipated to have a wide scope of demand in various industrial areas such as healthcare, agriculture, horticulture, media & entertainment and automobiles. There are several companies that have already initiated investment in the R&D in order to understand and develop a better utility for these smart lighting systems, resulting in a high growth perspective in the future.