Security is needed to underpin healthcare IoT

April 18, 2018 // By Mark de Clercq
Mark de Clercq, director of Bluetooth Low Energy at Dialog Semiconductor plc discusses the need for security to be addressed in both hardware and software for the Internet of Things to fulfill its potential in healthcare applications.

It's impossible to deny the IoT explosion happening today. Across a wide range of industries – automotive, manufacturing, homes, transportation, to name just a few – we've seen a rapid expansion and adoption of IoT devices. By 2020, just two years from now, we’ll be looking at an annual market with an estimated value of more than $260 billion [1].


Mark de Clercq, director,
Bluetooth Low Energy,
Dialog Semiconductor plc

It is notable that according to this source, the things themselves will be less than one fifth of the value but that is still approximately $50 billion of annual spending.

In the health and medical world, the influence and adoption of IoT devices will have – and in fact, is already having – a profound effect on our own personal, individual well-being. Heart monitors, connected pacemakers, health and wellness wearables, glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors, smart inhalers – these are a just few of the innovations changing how medical care is administered and tracked in a hyper-connected world.

But, in the rush to overhaul the healthcare landscape with innovative and exciting technologies, it's important that the developers of these IoT devices are not overlooking fundamental security that could be as detrimental as the devices themselves are hoped to be beneficial.

Command and control

Any product, regardless of whether or not it's an IoT device, hits the market with potential concerns about product failure and vendor and manufacturer liability for that failure. That’s nothing new. But, what is new is the acute level of risk that vulnerabilities in IoT devices, particularly healthcare IoT devices, present to their users – be it patients, doctors, administrators or anyone in between.

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