Edge could help transform South Africa’s healthcare

Issue 8 2023 Infrastructure

Edge computing has emerged as a game-changing technology for many industries, and the healthcare sector is no exception. In particular, South Africa’s healthcare industry could significantly benefit from the potential of this technology.

Our government’s long-term strategy is to improve the health of South Africans by “creating a healthy, tech-savvy population that embraces existing technological innovations, changing how we live, work, and innovate as productive global citizens.” [1]

With the help of edge computing, healthcare providers in the country could transform how they deliver care to patients, making it safer, more accessible, efficient, and practical to address these objectives directly.

Edge computing is a matter of location

Edge computing features a decentralised computing architecture that brings computing power closer to where data is generated and processed. This technology enables data to be analysed and processed in real time, without transmitting it to a centralised cloud or data centre. Edge computing devices, such as sensors, medical equipment, and mobile devices, are located at the edge of the network, close to the end users. So, they can make instant decisions and actions based on the data they receive.


Rudie Opperman.

We already use devices that do edge computing every day – smart speakers, watches and phones are all edge devices as they collect and process data locally while interacting with the physical world.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created outside of centralised data centres. [2] The prospect of moving so much data in time, or disruption-sensitive situations, puts strain on the global internet, which can exacerbate congestion and disruption. In response, IT architects have shifted focus from the central data centre to the edge of the infrastructure, taking storage and computing resources from the centre and moving them to the point where the data is generated.

Healthcare and the edge

This proximity to data at its source can deliver substantial benefits, including faster insights, improved response times, better bandwidth availability, and optimised protection of both people and property. Essentially, edge computing allows businesses to bring the digital world into the physical world. Healthcare is an excellent example of where this gap can be bridged.

Security is increasingly important as we use more digital technology to make healthcare more efficient and effective. Edge computing can enhance security by enabling South African healthcare providers to deploy security measures [3] closer to the data source. This can include encryption, access controls, and authentication protocols, which can help prevent unauthorised access or data breaches. Privacy and patient data protection are also critical. In this context, healthcare providers could use an edge-based application such as the AXIS Live Privacy Shield to monitor activities while safeguarding privacy remotely. Live Privacy Shield enables compatible cameras to dynamically mask moving objects, humans, faces, or the background in real time, while simultaneously recording. [4]

Using edge computing in healthcare can enable providers to collect and process vast amounts of patient data, improving healthcare outcomes. For instance, real-time, wearable devices that use edge computing can monitor a patient’s vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels, and alert healthcare providers in the event of abnormalities. This data can be used to detect health problems early on and prevent them from becoming more severe, improving patient outcomes.

Moreover, edge computing can help healthcare providers optimise their operations, reducing costs and improving efficiency. For example, edge computing-enabled medical devices can automatically detect when they need maintenance or repair, alerting healthcare providers to act before they break down. This proactive approach can save time and money by preventing expensive repairs and equipment downtime. Additionally, edge computing can streamline administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and managing patient records, freeing healthcare providers to focus on patient care.

Real-time insights facilitate local actions

Adopting machine learning, AI, and augmented and virtual reality for patient care and training could transform South African healthcare. To produce valuable and instructive outputs in a healthcare system, we need extensive real-time data processing capabilities and close access to the computational power that edge computing devices provide.

Transporting massive amounts of data to a central cloud network is costly. Challenges like networking limits and latency should also be considered. Organisations can integrate edge computing into their existing systems to address these problems. This will provide new opportunities to increase the healthcare ecosystem’s functional, medical, and financial value.

To make the most of these opportunities, healthcare providers should find a trusted partner with a proven multi-cloud platform and a comprehensive portfolio of services and third-party applications designed to increase scalability, accelerate performance, and strengthen the security of edge deployments for different environments. [5]

For more information, contact Axis Communications, +27 11 548 6780, terri.miller@axis.com, www.axis.com

[1] https://www.health.gov.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/national-digital-strategy-for-south-africa-2019-2024-b.pdf

[2] https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/what-edge-computing-means-for-infrastructure-and-operations-leaders

[3] https://www.axis.com/en-za/solutions/healthcare/safety-and-security

[4] https://www.axis.com/products/axis-live-privacy-shield

[5] https://www.axis.com/en-za/solutions/healthcare


Credit(s)




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Enhanced cellular connectivity is critical for farm safety
Infrastructure Agriculture (Industry)
In South Africa, the safety of our rural communities, particularly on farms, is a pressing concern. Nearly 32% of South Africa’s 60 million people live in these areas, where security challenges are constantly in the spotlight.

Read more...
All aspects of data protection
Technews Publishing Editor's Choice Information Security Infrastructure AI & Data Analytics
SMART Security Solutions spoke to Kate Mollett, Senior Director, Commvault Africa, about the company and its evolution from a backup specialist to a full data protection specialist, as well as the latest announcements from the company.

Read more...
Revolutionising networking technology for the future
Infrastructure IoT & Automation
[Sponsored] In the fast-evolving landscape of networking technology, RUCKUS Networks stands out as a trailblazer, offering innovative solutions that redefine connectivity experiences across various industries.

Read more...
Cloud platform for cyber resilience in the hybrid enterprise
Infrastructure
The Commvault Cloud brings together data protection, security, intelligence, and recovery on one platform, offering AI capabilities to defeat cyber threats, and includes integration with Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service.

Read more...
Rapid rise in DNS attacks drives demand for new approach
Infrastructure Risk Management & Resilience
As ransomware grows more sophisticated and DNS attacks become more frequent, businesses are increasingly trying to protect themselves by adopting innovative approaches and technologies to bolster the integrity and security of their backup systems.

Read more...
Majority of South African companies concerned about cloud security
Information Security Infrastructure
Global and local businesses share a common concern when it comes to cloud security. 95% of global businesses and 89% of local businesses are concerned about the security of public clouds.

Read more...
Consolidated cybersecurity management
Technews Publishing Editor's Choice Information Security Infrastructure
SMART Security Solutions spoke to Gareth Redelinghuys, Country Managing Director, African Cluster at Trend Micro, to find out what makes Trend stand out from the crowd and also its latest market offerings.

Read more...
Access to data centre secured
Suprema Access Control & Identity Management Infrastructure
GBM required a modern access control system to increase the security of its facilities in a productive environment without affecting the operation of the offices and the data centre, which are carried out 24/7/365.

Read more...
Africa’s growth lies on shoulders of renewable energy
News & Events Infrastructure
The Africa Tech Festival from 13 to 16 November in Cape Town will unpack the challenges and discuss the pivotal role of sustainability & renewable energy in advancing technological development in Africa.

Read more...
Commvault appoints Graham Brown as Channel Manager for South Africa/SADC
News & Events Infrastructure
Commvault announced the appointment of industry veteran Graham Brown as Channel Manager for the South Africa/South African Development Community (SADC) region.

Read more...