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Health Care leveraging on 5G

Robots are becoming part of health care in hospital performing several tasks, from assisting in surgery to cleaning and disinfecting rooms, to delivery drugs at bed side and helping in customised rehabilitation. Credit: Henderson biomadical

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…

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. He's currently Head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital, co-chair of the Symbiotic Autonomous Systems Initiative of IEEE-FDC. Until Aprile 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books. He writes a daily blog,  http://sites.ieee.org/futuredirections/category/blog/, with commentary on innovation in various technology and market areas.

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