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In our smart world, a huge number of devices are part of the Internet of Things (IoT), or becoming so, many of them integrated with our homes, cities, manufacturing or transport systems and infrastructures. Added to this, a growing number of connected consumer devices, appliances and systems are able to carry out many human daily tasks in the home or workplace, whether for healthcare or entertainment. Research by Gartner forecasts the number of connected things will reach 20.8 billion by 2020, of which 13.5 billion will be from the consumer sector.
The proportion of people aged over 60 will almost double from 12 to 22% between 2015 and 2050, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In line with this, the WHO World Report on Disability states that currently more than one billion people live with some form of disability worldwide. The figure is expected to rise in the coming years as populations age.
One of the emerging trends of the 21st century is the ageing of the world population.
Sensors provide information about objects, or people and their environment. Networks of sensors in the shape of wearable electronics and integrated into the living environment will support Active Assisted Living (AAL) into the future. Sensors and printed electronics will be increasingly integrated into smart wearable devices to facilitate the implementation of AAL.
Paralympians successfully overcome physical, visual and intellectual impairments, but their equipment can impact their performance.
Why are home use medical and wellness devices drawing so much attention and growing at an explosive rate? It could be argued that this results from the nexus of the Internet of Things (IoT), the “super-aging” of societies around the world (which is directly tied to patients wanting to be comfortable in their home environments instead of in sterile impersonal clinical environments), the portability of devices, the growth of wearable technologies, the increasing costs of healthcare and the huge regulatory burden/costs of obtaining approval by national regulators. Also, there has been significant growth in the number of standards and regulations that apply to medical devices, especially around software, health informatics, privacy and security issues.
Multimedia content, particularly on TV, and information technology and communication (ICT) services have become central to our lives. Access to these for people suffering from visual or hearing impairment is very important and is an internationally-recognized right. The IEC, together with other organizations, works to develop International Standards that allow this access, which is also central to what is known as Active Assisted Living (AAL).
To deal with Active Assisted Living (AAL) issues, the IEC has established a Systems Committee, IEC SyC AAL. This SyC has the role of promoting safety, security, privacy and cross-vendor interoperability in the use of AAL systems and services, and of fostering standardization which boosts their usability and accessibility.
Premises equipped with alarm and access control systems are often essential for people using facilities suited for Active Assisted Living (AAL). Some of these premises must be supervised and as such require special alarm systems. A series of International Standards addressing requirements for these systems is being developed. Two Standards in the series have been published recently.
We are more mobile today than ever before and expect to be able to carry out many daily activities outside the home or office. Having embraced the era of information overload, we want access to whatever information we need anytime and anywhere.