Gartner forecasts that 20.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020. Industry verticals like healthcare will push the IoT (Internet of Things) market onward and upward as devices become more affordable and as applications become more targeted to solve specific problems in the health, medical, and clinical realms. Innovation in smart health devices and IoT-enabled health solutions is making connected health more of a reality for more people, including aging adults looking to age in place.

Recently, MedTech Breakthrough, an independent organization that recognizes top companies, technologies, and products in the health tech market, announced the winners of its 2018 MedTech Breakthrough Awards program, which showcases companies and technologies that are driving the space forward. The program recognizes players in several categories, including robotics and wearables, as well as medical data, medical devices, healthcare cybersecurity, EHR (electronic health records), mHealth and telehealth, clinical administration, and patient engagement, among others.

Developments in robotics, AI (artificial intelligence), and wearables represent key trends in the industry that will continue to play an important role in the future of connected health. For instance, the IoT in Healthcare category includes selections for best healthcare robotics solution (Procept BioRobotics), best IoT healthcare platform (Atlantic.Net), as well as best IoT fitness wearable (Apple Watch) and innovation in healthcare wearables (NEOFECT RAPAEL Smart Glove). Within this list are several exciting solutions and applications, like Procept BioRobotics’ AquaBeam System, the world’s first commercially available autonomous tissue-removal robot, which is being leveraged for the treatment of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), and the RAPAEL Smart Glove, a smart, AI-enabled rehab solution that delivers customizable digital rehabilitation to patients anytime, anywhere.

Other connected-health trends include data analytics and remote patient monitoring. MedTech Breakthrough recognized standouts like EarlySense, which offers analytics and sensing solutions for both medical professionals and consumers, for innovation in healthcare analytics, and Bioflux from Biotricity for best remote patient monitoring solution. The Bioflux system represents a complete solution for cardiac monitoring and diagnosis, consisting of the Bioflux device, software, and a 24/7 monitoring center. The device monitors and analyzes a patient’s ECG (electrocardiogram) data in near-realtime, periodically uploading it to the cloud via embedded cellular technology.

Since the United States is experiencing a shift in population demographics, which will peak at some point in the 2030s when 65+ adults are expected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history, IoT-enabled health solutions will become increasingly important to the nation’s citizens and its healthcare system. Innovative solutions in robotics, AI, remote patient monitoring, and others will be key for aging adults looking to continue to live in their own homes as they get older. With more proven use cases of aging-in-place technologies, lower costs and more reliable connectivity, and a strong focus on designing devices and systems with privacy, security, and user experience in mind, innovative health solutions enabled by the IoT will help meet the needs of U.S. citizens for decades to come.

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