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Shielding Frontline Health Workers with AI

Illustration: © IoT For All

We are living through an unprecedented crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers have emerged as frontline heroes, working overtime to protect our communities from the spread of novel coronavirus. But they aren’t immune to the anxious, uncertain atmosphere the pandemic has fostered nor, indeed, the coronavirus itself.

We need to protect the first responders and hospital staff who put their wellbeing on the line to support their communities during a crisis. To my mind, that means using every tool at our disposal to the fullest — with AI chief among those at hand.

Creative Solution

There’s little doubt that the current situation demands a creative solution. The United States has become the center of the global pandemic; as of April 16th, the US confirmed 644,188 cases and endured 28,579 deaths. Despite efforts to flatten the curve by ordering regional shut-downs and stay-at-home orders, hospitals across the county have been all but overwhelmed by incoming cases. The impact on provider morale has, according to reporting from NPR, been similarly problematic.

“Nearly a month into the declared pandemic, some health care workers say they’re exhausted and burning out from the stress of treating a stream of critically ill patients in an increasingly overstretched health care system,” NPR reporters Will Stone and Leila Fadel recently wrote. “Many are questioning how long they can risk their own health […] In many hospitals, the pandemic has transformed emergency rooms and upended protocols and precautions that workers previously took for granted.”

Hospitals are doing all they can to keep their caregivers safe and protected, but their resources are stretched far too thin. According to reports, some hospitals in high-infection areas like New York City can only afford to give healthcare workers one N95 mask every five days. Used masks are collected, disinfected, and returned on a cycle between uses. But some frontline workers worry that, given the highly contagious nature of the disease, they may not be adequately protected.

“It can be disheartening to have that feeling of uncertainty that you are not going to be protected,” Sophia Rago, an ER nurse based in St. Louis, told reporters for NPR.

We need to shield our frontline workers as much as possible. The obvious solution would be to increase stores of personal protective equipment (PPE) and N95 masks; however, given that we face a national shortfall and harsh state-to-state bidding wars over the gear, that fix seems unlikely. What we can do to at least lessen the risk of patient-to-provider transmission is to invest in AI-powered solutions that can automate some healthcare protocols and limit the need for close contact.

“Traditional processes — those that rely on people to function in the critical path of signal processing — are constrained by the rate at which we can train, organize, and deploy human labor. Moreover, traditional processes deliver decreasing returns as they scale,” a team of digital health researchers recently wrote in an article for the Harvard Business Review.

“Digital systems can be scaled up without such constraints, at virtually infinite rates. The only theoretical bottlenecks are computing power and storage capacity — and we have plenty of both. Digital systems can keep pace with exponential growth.”

These AI-powered, digitally-facilitated solutions generally fall into two broad categories: disease containment and patient management.

Assessing AI’s Ability to Limit Disease Transmission

When it comes to limiting disease spread, the aim is to use AI tools to allocate human resources better while still protecting patients and staff. Take the screening system that was recently deployed at Tampa General Hospital in Florida, for example. This AI framework was designed by the autonomous care startup Care.ai and intended to facilitate early identification and interception of infected people before they come into contact with others. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the Care.ai tool taps into entryway cameras and conducts a facial thermal scan. If the system flags any feverish symptoms such as sweat or discoloration, it can notify healthcare staff and prompt immediate intervention.

Other technology companies––Microsoft, for one––have rolled out similar remote diagnostic and alert tools in facilities across the globe. Their unique capabilities vary, but their purposes are the same: to prevent the spread of infection and provide support to overworked personnel.

As representatives for Microsoft shared in a recent press release, “[AI technology] not only improves the efficiency of epidemic prevention, but it also reduces the work burden of frontline personnel so that limited human resources can be used more effectively.”

In these resource-strapped time, the aid is undoubtedly needed.

AI’s Applications for Diagnostics and Patient Management

Fighting a pandemic is a task that requires speed. Now more than ever, providers must be able to accurately and quickly identify infected patients so that they can trace and hopefully contain the viral spread. But doing so isn’t an easy order.

To borrow a quote from Forbes contributor Wendy Singer, “Analyzing test results nowadays requires skilled technicians and a lot of precious time, as much as a few days. But in our current reality, healthcare systems need to analyze thousands of results instantly, and to expose as few lab workers as possible to the virus.”

We don’t have that kind of time––and we can’t put our lab workers at undue risk. Thankfully, cutting-edge AI technologies may provide a solution. With AI, hospitals can automate some steps of the testing process, cutting down on the time and effort needed to process test results. These capabilities aren’t just hypothetical; in the weeks since the start of the pandemic, the health tech startup Diagnostics.ai has provided laboratories in the US and UK with a diagnostic tool that streamlines the testing process by automating DNA analysis.

However, the applications of AI diagnostics aren’t limited to testing alone. Some have also used artificial intelligence to support population management in overstretched hospitals. One Israeli medical-device developer, EarlySense, recently developed an AI-powered sensor that can identify which patients will most likely face complications like sepsis and respiratory failure within six to eight hours. This can give a hospital the information it needs to best allocate limited resources and staff attention.

No AI innovation — no matter how brilliant or helpful — will fix our resources shortfall. There is no question that healthcare providers need more PPE and support, or that they need it immediately. However, the benefits that AI provides to screen and patient management efforts are evident. It seems reasonable that we at least consider the weight the deployment of such tools could remove from our exhausted front-liners’ shoulders.

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GCR launches a disruptive ‘IoT PaaS Partner Program’, a perfect IoT Franchising opportunity!

Global Channel Resources (GCR), a leading aggregator of IoT Solutions launches its ‘IoT PaaS Partner program’, a unique Franchise opportunity for System Integrators (SI) and Value-Added Resellers (VAR), with the intention of helping them upgrade their business by leveraging on GCR’s ready-to-use IoT solutions platform. GCR’s mission is to empower SIs and VARs to market and implement IoT solutions with the next generation distribution model. By signing up for the IoT PaaS program, SIs and VARs become a ‘GCR Assure Partner’ and are entitled to various franchising benefits.

‘In the current digital world, business transformation has become a norm and enterprises are leveraging on advanced technologies like IoT and AI to increase productivity and reduce cost. However, many partners still lack the know-how to map an IoT solution as per a customer’s need, shortlist and implement it. Partners have come to us asking for a way to do this through an integrated system.’ elucidates Tony Tsao, Founder and CEO, GCR. He further explains – ‘It is this gap that we wish to address with our disruptive IoT PaaS Program. The way business is done today due to a focus on digitalization has changed. This is where we come into the picture. One of the biggest advantages of becoming a GCR Assure Partner is the access to our revolutionary IoT platform loaded with over 1000 SaaS solutions, a single source to all IoT needs. These solutions are Asset Tracking and management, Customer Behaviour Analytics, Industry 4.0, Intelligent Displays to name a few. By leveraging on this platform, GCR Assure partners can build their businesses and carve a new path to profitable growth. This program stands at strengthening our business model of embracing a shared economy for technology vendors and providing a model for customers to have experienced economy on the IoT solutions. All these initiatives will help customers transform hardcore Capex business model into Opex model that protect corporate investment in new technologies.’

The GCR Platform for IoT PaaS (Franchise) Partners is a comprehensive system that manages their channel business in entirety – managing partner accounts, sales, inventory, solution delivery and CRM.

About GCR: GCR is a digital transformation enabler providing value to enterprises by bringing together Independent Software Vendors and Channel Partners to deliver solutions that build an impact on the enterprise’s business. GCR has built an ecosystem of solution providers, consultants, channel partners GCR is the world’s preferred multi industry IoT services provider covering 6 countries and offering over 1000+ solutions to diverse enterprises.

Source: IoT For All

Posted on

GCR launches a disruptive ‘IoT PaaS Partner Program’, a perfect IoT Franchising opportunity!

Global Channel Resources (GCR), a leading aggregator of IoT Solutions launches its ‘IoT PaaS Partner program’, a unique Franchise opportunity for System Integrators (SI) and Value-Added Resellers (VAR), with the intention of helping them upgrade their business by leveraging on GCR’s ready-to-use IoT solutions platform. GCR’s mission is to empower SIs and VARs to market and implement IoT solutions with the next generation distribution model. By signing up for the IoT PaaS program, SIs and VARs become a ‘GCR Assure Partner’ and are entitled to various franchising benefits.

‘In the current digital world, business transformation has become a norm and enterprises are leveraging on advanced technologies like IoT and AI to increase productivity and reduce cost. However, many partners still lack the know-how to map an IoT solution as per a customer’s need, shortlist and implement it. Partners have come to us asking for a way to do this through an integrated system.’ elucidates Tony Tsao, Founder and CEO, GCR. He further explains – ‘It is this gap that we wish to address with our disruptive IoT PaaS Program. The way business is done today due to a focus on digitalization has changed. This is where we come into the picture. One of the biggest advantages of becoming a GCR Assure Partner is the access to our revolutionary IoT platform loaded with over 1000 SaaS solutions, a single source to all IoT needs. These solutions are Asset Tracking and management, Customer Behaviour Analytics, Industry 4.0, Intelligent Displays to name a few. By leveraging on this platform, GCR Assure partners can build their businesses and carve a new path to profitable growth. This program stands at strengthening our business model of embracing a shared economy for technology vendors and providing a model for customers to have experienced economy on the IoT solutions. All these initiatives will help customers transform hardcore Capex business model into Opex model that protect corporate investment in new technologies.’

The GCR Platform for IoT PaaS (Franchise) Partners is a comprehensive system that manages their channel business in entirety – managing partner accounts, sales, inventory, solution delivery and CRM.

About GCR: GCR is a digital transformation enabler providing value to enterprises by bringing together Independent Software Vendors and Channel Partners to deliver solutions that build an impact on the enterprise’s business. GCR has built an ecosystem of solution providers, consultants, channel partners GCR is the world’s preferred multi industry IoT services provider covering 6 countries and offering over 1000+ solutions to diverse enterprises.

Source: IoT For All

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Top 5 Reasons to Choose JavaScript for Your IoT Project

Illustration: © IoT For All

In a world that is dominated by digitalization, the Internet of Things (IoT) is playing a vital role in disrupting the way we live and conduct business. From smart living to workplace collaboration and connected on-field employees, IoT continues to save time and boost productivity like never before.

According to a Microsoft research report, focused on IoT signals and designed to provide a global overview of the IoT landscape, around 85% of respondents say that they are currently in the midst of IoT adoption, and three-fourths have projects in the planning stages. Furthermore, an 88% of respondents believe that IoT is “critical” to the success of their business.

When it comes to IoT development, selecting a programming language is as complex as selecting types of sensors and other hardware devices.

Generally, an IoT lifecycle involves the collection and management of data by means of a vast network of sensors and devices. Next, this data is processed and analyzed to make real-time decisions – in order to execute an effective IoT lifecycle, you need a programming language that allows you to easily establish high-level communication between different devices and maintain seamless connectivity throughout the ecosystem.

This is where JavaScript comes into the picture!

JavaScript for Software Development

It seems impossible to imagine software development without JavaScript these days. Looking at the Stack Overflow’s 2019 Developer Survey, JavaScript is the most popular language among developers successively for 7 years. Furthermore, the importance of JavaScript can be determined by the fact that it is used as a client-side programming language by 95.0% of all websites.

As a client-side programming language, JavaScript helps you create web pages that are dynamic and interactive by implementing custom client-side scripts. At the same time, you can also use cross-platform runtime engines like Node.js to write server-side code in JavaScript.

Choosing JavaScript for IoT

The merits of JavaScript aren’t limited to just web applications. If you possess JavaScript skills, you can easily migrate to IoT application development.

For example, JavaScript can be used to build IoT solutions in the following ways:

Host-Client Method

You can run JavaScript in your host PC and send the signals to the client (things). This mode is ideal for scenarios in which the actual ‘things’ don’t have the capability to run even the leanest JavaScript codebase.

Embedded JavaScript

Another method is to implement the JavaScript code through memory-optimized engines in your device itself. Frameworks like JerryScript can be used to run the devices.

JavaScript on SBCs

In situations where single-board computers (SBCs) can be used, JavaScript or Node.js code can be executed in these devices without any issues.

JavaScript is suitable for IoT solution development because of its potential to respond to events and asynchronous code execution. It can be a great option for quick prototyping as well.

Moreover, most of the organizations are either looking to collaborate with an IoT development company or hire IoT developers that can leverage JavaScript’s ability to provide a uniform interface across heterogeneous devices.

With that said, let’s dive into the core reasons to use JavaScript for your IoT project:

Top 5 Reasons to Choose JavaScript for IoT Implementation

  1. Node.js
  2. Memory Management
  3. Event-Driven Programming
  4. Ease of Implementation
  5. JavaScript Libraries & Frameworks

Node.js

It is an open-source, cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment that is used to build data-centric, real-time solutions.

Talking about its application in IoT, it can be used to handle a large number of requests generated by devices such as sensors, beacons, transmitters and motors. In fact, Node.js makes the request-response flow smoother and faster.

Moreover, sockets and MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol are well suited in Node.js which are normally used for continuous data transmission in IoT applications.

Node.js comes with the NPM (Node Package Manager) equipped with more than 80 packages for IoT-application cable boards such as Arduino controller, BeagleBone Black, Raspberry Pi and Intel IoT Edison. This means that you can rapidly develop robust IoT applications with Node.js development services.

Memory Management

In languages like C, developers need to manually allocate and deallocate the memory using methods like the malloc(), calloc(), realloc(), and free(). In languages such as JavaScript, there is no need to explicitly allocate or release memory.

Also known as Garbage Collection, JavaScript values are allocated when things are created (objects, strings, etc.) and freed automatically when they are no longer used (i.e. automatic allocation and deallocation).

The garbage collector feature allows IoT developers to focus on aspects of development rather than wasting time on memory management. In a way, the automatic freeing of the unused memory results in a stable IoT solution as the garbage collector eliminates memory leaks.

Event-Driven Programming

In event-driven applications, every device reacts to various events by responding with an appropriate activity. JavaScript is great with event-driven applications.

Event loops in JavaScript allow you to run various tasks without waiting for other tasks to be completed. This helps in responding to events in real-time, handling multiple tasks simultaneously and allowing multiple devices to respond to the same event.

JavaScript’s support for event-driven programming contributes to a great extent in optimizing battery power.

Ease of Implementation

JavaScript is a simple-to-learn and easy-to-implement programming language as compared to other languages, such as C++, Ruby, and Python. It is also one of the most popular programming languages that make IoT implementation easy. This is because it works the best in a range of environments and is dominating in gateways and the cloud.

JavaScript Libraries & Frameworks:

With the increased use of JavaScript in various applications, there are numerous JavaScript libraries and frameworks available. 

JerryScript

It is a lightweight JavaScript engine intended to run on very constrained devices, such as microcontrollers. JerryScript supports on-device compilation, execution and provides access to peripherals from JavaScript. 

Cylon.js

Cylon.js is the JavaScript framework for robotics, physical computing and IoT. It offers a simple, yet powerful way to create solutions that incorporate multiple, different hardware devices concurrently. Additionally, Cylon.js offers support for over 50 platform devices, as well as general-purpose input/output support with a shared set of drivers provided by the cylon-gpio module (i.e. Cylon module for General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO)).

Johnny-Five

Johnny-Five is the JavaScript framework used to control hardware components across a variety of popular microprocessors and system-on-a-chip platforms. It is designed for anyone who wants to get started with JavaScript-powered robotics.

IoT.js

IoT.js aims to provide an inter-operable service platform in the world of IoT, based on web technology. It can be used with resource-constrained devices that consume only a few kilobytes of RAM. Because of this, it supports a wide range of “things”.

Bottom-line

As we all know, JavaScript is a very popular programming language among the internet. Thus, it makes complete sense to use it in the devices that are already a part of the internet. Besides this, reasons like Node.js, memory management, event-driven programming, ease of implementation and JavaScript libraries & frameworks makes JavaScript a perfect fit for IoT.

Source: IoT For All