In the healthcare area we are seeing a growing attention to prevention on one side and to customisation on the other. Both are leveraging on monitoring possibilities offered by ambient sensors (videocameras, smartphones), wearables (bracelets, smartwatches), contact sensors (contact lenses, patches) and embedded (under skin, injectable).
In terms of customisation there will be more and more attention to the availability and to the analyses of the genome. It can be stored in a few GB but it requires significant processing capabilities that most likely will reside in the Cloud. Likewise, for energy saving considerations of utmost importance when dealing with embedded, contact and wearable sensors, the data processing will take place in the Cloud and the communications between sensors and the Big Internet will likely be mediated by a Body Area Network.
5G provides interesting characteristics from the point of view of protocols flexibility, being capable of managing a variety of local networks with specific protocols, including those with high energy efficiency. Besides, the 5G capability to manage a vertical roaming within a single session (with the terminal controlling the session) enables a coverage that today’s system have problems in providing. The 5G application in the healthcare area is therefore particularly interesting and from this application specific development may result in terms of architecture and technology supporting micro communications and possibly (but we are likely in the 6G domain…) nano communications to manage embedded nanosystems.
Clearly, the healthcare area is much wider including hospitals, rest houses, elderly houses…, ambient that have specific demands in terms of communication, basically covered by current wireless systems but that can certainly benefit from the additional functionalities of 5G, specifically its flexibility that can better fit the needs of these environment. In particular the connection to the variety of IoT, taking into account the significant pervasiveness in these environment of IoT and their different communications requirements, from robots to patients’ and elderly’s monitoring, from the management of equipment and drugs to the monitoring of gait in elderly and people recovering from a stroke…