WITH THE IOT
Most people think about being
Marcus Judge, director of IT at Kohler Co EMEA, which includes water
connected in terms of computers,
controls specialist Rada, discusses why new IoT technologies will
tablets and smartphones. But the
Internet of Things (IoT) is much
transform water controls and improve patient care by creating smarter
healthcare environments. more than that.
The IoT describes a world where just about
anything can be connected and communicated
with in an intelligent way – the physical world
becoming one big information ecosystem. This
is important because it means items are no longer
defined only by their inherent qualities. They
become much more than the sum of their parts by
being able to interact and relate to other objects.
The rise of the IoT is already resulting in multiple
advancements in the residential market focused on
the smart home. These include lighting, heating
and cooling, entertainment devices and others.
In our own sector, water controls, residential
innovations include programmable systems for
taps, showers and valves, which can be controlled
via handheld devices or through voice control.
Flow rates, temperatures, auto-fill functions
and event lights are fully controllable, enabling
users to operate devices remotely, monitor their
performance, and create tailored settings.
BUILDING PRODUCTS | SEPTEMBER
Innovation to date in the residential sector
has largely focused on lifestyle, convenience and
leisure. That makes absolute sense in the home
environment, but is only one small part of what
IoT technologies can achieve.
In the commercial sector, it is our view that
IoT technologies have potentially much more to
offer in terms of creating more efficient, more
intelligent and better functioning facilities for
the benefit of those using them. Health and care
premises and the opportunity to improve patient
care is a perfect example.
IoT technologies have enormous potential to
improve the operation of healthcare environments
by providing data on areas such as infection
control, water and energy efficiency, and
other operational requirements. There is also
potential for tasks to become automated and for
maintenance to be more accurately targeted. This
in turn will free up financial and staff resources –
efficiencies that can be channelled into patient care.
Let’s take automated bath-fill as an example.
While the innovation was planned for consumer
convenience at home, the technology has a lot to
offer in healthcare environments. Ensuring baths
are filled to the desired depth and temperature can
play an important role in avoiding incidents of
scalding and meeting duty of care requirements for
patients. The same is true for showers. The ability
to programme functions for user comfort could be
a key care consideration for vulnerable, elderly or
In environments where care is required for
disabled or vulnerable users, voice control
technology and the opportunity to use this remotely
also has enormous potential in providing high
quality care. Technology of this nature also offers
opportunities to achieve, measure and record energy