Internet of Things and Smart Homes
Although the term has been used since 1999, there remains much interest in the ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT). This includes connected personal devices and sensors in the home. These devices are more likely to be consumer devices eg security cameras, room thermostats, lighting systems, door locks, home automation but in some cases may be provided by housing organisations or local authorities (eg as environmental control systems).
There are no specific good practice guides in the UK for these technologies in health and care. The area that has been established for the longest period of time is environmental control systems that can often link to telecare and TECS systems. All of the IOT and smart home technologies use established standards (eg HTML (opens new window), Bluetooth (opens new window)). There are advantages and disadvantages to the different protocols. Different companies use different systems for connecting data and alerts. These often become apparent when trying to control home devices remotely using a smartphone. There are also questions over the security of many of the devices which could be open to hacking.
Although there is keen interest in IOT and smart homes, there is no specific UK government policy in this area apart from the introduction of smart meters (opens new window). Some funding is available from time to time via UK and European programmes for IOT and smart home technologies – check the weekly/monthly headlines for updates.