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    Digital OB/GYN: The Internet of Things: Connectivity to improve lives


    As we adopt and integrate sensors into our daily workflow, however, we must also be cognizant of security concerns associated with these newly connected devices. A chilling exposé in Forbes featured the story of an Internet-connected baby monitor made by China-based Foscam. A hacker took advantage of a weakness in the camera’s software that allowed him to not only view someone’s baby through the web, but also yell obscenities at the sleeping child.7 The engineers/hackers featured in the article state that customers need to be aware that technology evolves rapidly and that they need to be doing updates regularly to stay safe. So, while many of these sensors and solutions are plug-and-play, it does not mean set-and-forget. Our devices and the programs we use to control them need to be regularly updated. And when purchasing devices, it’s important to register the device with the manufacturer so that you will receive alerts about necessary product updates.

    In 2010, McKinsey & Company correctly predicted 6 distinct types of emerging IoT applications, which fell into 2 broad categories: information/analysis and automation/control.8 These categories affect our daily life at almost every turn. We are consumers of IoT devices, we depend on sensor-derived data, and we benefit from smart device integration. The Internet of Things has been around longer than it has had a name and it’s hard to imagine life without IoT connectivity.



    1. International Telecommunication Union. Recommendation ITU-T Y.2060, June 2012. http://handle.itu.int/11.1002/1000/11559-en?locatt=format:pdf&auth

    2. Gross N. The earth will don an electronic skin. http://www.businessweek.com/1999/99_35/b3644024.htm. Accessed October 22, 2015.

    3. Mimo. http://mimobaby.com. Accessed October 15, 2015.

    4. BodyGuardian heart monitoring system. http://www.preventicesolutions.com/services/body-guardian-heart.html. Accessed October 15, 2015.

    5. WeMo home automation. http://www.belkin.com/us/Products/home-automation/c/wemo-home-automation/. Accessed October 15, 2015.

    6. WeMo Maker. http://www.belkin.com/us/F7C043-Belkin/p/P-F7C043;jsessionid=D946C790CD0.... Accessed October 15, 2015.

    7. Hill K. The half-baked security of our 'internet of things.’ http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/05/27/article-may-scare-you.... Accessed October 15, 2015.

    8. McKinsey & Company. The internet of things. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/the_interne.... Accessed October 15, 2015.


    Brian A. Levine, MD, MS, FACOG
    Dr. Levine is Practice Director at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, New York, New York.


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