It can hardly be understated how steadily our society evolves with new technology and new solutions with it. Every step we take in developing new communicative forms we evolve as a species. Our society improves multiple times as the effect cascades out in every aspect of our daily lives. By reading this you probably already have a hunch that IoT (Internet-of-things) is the next step on that road, but I see that it’s already here and we should embrace it steadily to prepare for the next step.
Imagine the elderly in their hospital bed with five systems running, measuring twenty separate body functions at once and he/she has seven different buttons to press to ask for different things. That is IoT today. Not as a metaphor or anything of the sort, but the real deal. Ask your colleague about the smart car they’re buying next year. Talk to your partner about getting a smartphone app connected to your home alarm system. That is IoT today. In every port, city, factory or care home, IoT is here to stay.
But what does it have to do with the welfare state? In the Scandinavian definition of a socialist welfare state, you find a metaphor for a society with general, all-inclusive, monetary but also physical safety nets. IoT technology can provide many benefits for both government agencies and the people they serve. The public sector can easily use IoT to gather and process data with the goal of running its agencies better and improving services. It also provides smart solutions to help the public sector work in a more streamlined manner. IDC has recently published a white paper in cooperation with SAP here on the subject.
One of the things the paper points out is that globally, everyone is facing an older population, with more chronic conditions, higher obesity rates, and clinician short-comings. In summary, the need for services is growing but the ability for it and budget for these services are not. The cry for healthcare reform to control spiraling costs while improving the quality of care and the patient experience are heard worldwide. A central tool for controlling costs is switching from pay-for-service compensation models to value-based or integrated care which promotes rewarding providers for outcomes instead of volume. The digital evolution of public health and the deployment of distance monitoring are intended to go from resource-heavy acute care settings to ambulatory clinics or even the patients’ home – in effect, “a shift from sick care to health care”.
For everyone then to receive the care they deserve and feel safe, new innovations within health and elderly care are needed. This is enabled by the IoT solutions today with many positive examples. Alarm buttons, sensors, etc. speaks to Skyresponse system, which then summons the right resource for assistance at any time. Because the supervision is demand-driven rather than scheduled, a large workload is taken away from the staff, which gradually increases the quality of work performed. Read for example a few of our latest news from partners such as Viser who help care homes improve or Doro who give the elderly more freedom to stay at home longer with smart alarms.
A central part of a welfare state is then to take preventative action against accidents or health risks and you can find a multitude of examples for this in IoT in every field. It can enable government agencies or municipal services to perform services better within a tighter budget as it measures, analyzes and respond to malfunctions of technical systems or even the changing of light bulbs. That is the modern welfare state we all can and deserve to live in.