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The life sciences industry is poised for massive changes as joseph.miles pointed out in his recent blog. Technology will enable making the change real. For example, the IoT alone can change the way life sciences companies run their R&D, manufacture, and interact with customers and patients.

IoT in Life Sciences R&D: Higher patient-centricity

Take R&D: Health wearables, smart pills, smart refrigerators, smart scales – every product a patient uses could be equipped with sensors to monitor health traits of a person. This information could provide signals on early indicators of potential diseases, at a much sooner point in time than possible today, or help monitor if a treatment works well in real time. Of course the realistic use of smart devices depends on what the patient or consumer is willing to measure and share. This means, the end user needs to achieve a tangible added value from this. Classic perceived benefits could be prevention or improved patient-doctor interactions during therapies, as these smart devices can also trigger further actions instantly, e.g. alert doctors and patients if any limits are exceeded. Adding sensors and intelligence to a medical device can further improve maintenance of this medical device as it can send signals to the technician early on, so that he or she can plan and conduct maintenance activities before the worst case of a failure happens.

Smarter Production and Supply Chain Management through the IoT

Switching scenes, the IoT can also drive changes in manufacturing. Smart sensors can automatically capture the state of a machine, e.g. its temperature or pressure. With this information, the precision of this machine can be predicted much more precisely, and in case of any risk, maintenance steps can be conducted early on. If the workers wear a smart device, the machines could identify the person and interact with him or her directly, e.g. check authorizations or provide instructions what to do next. In supply chain management and logistics, the ways of batches could be tracked automatically to avoid theft or detect risk of potential delays, or the IoT could help keep up the cold chain.

…Beyond IoT: Other IT Technologies Disrupting Life Sciences

This of course is not a comprehensive description on how the IoT may influence the life sciences industry. What is more, the IoT is not the only technology driving changes. Big Data analytics will massively impact R&D and enable huge advances in precision medicine. In-memory technology will allow life sciences companies interact with wholesalers, payers, providers, and other customer segments in real time across channels. Cloud solutions will simplify collaboration with scientists, hospitals and care providers.

Overall, technology will drive the industry rethink their business models. Outcome-based pricing and offering medical devices as a service are just a few of many models that will come up. This implies that professionals in life sciences across the board will not only need to consider scientific, regulatory and customer-centric factors, but also focus on aspects such as new delivery models, value-added services and potential revenue streams. Successful talents will need to have a much more entrepreneurial mind-set than today – and the tools that allow them to have a holistic view on the entire business.

Want to learn more about IoT in Life Sciences and latest trends in R&D, SCM, manufacturing, and sales and marketing? Meet experts from the life sciences, consumer products, high tech and other manufacturing industries to discuss further at the SAP Manufacturing Industries Forum 2016 on June 14-15 in Lombard, IL. For details, please visit the forum’s website.