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6 minutes read

IoT for the Pharmaceutical Industry

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
6 minutes read

Pharmaceutical companies aren’t probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about IoT technologies. For most people, what pops up when they hear about IoT is the image of a smart home. However, there is much more to this technology than adjusting room temperature from your phone. 

Companies of all sizes and across various industries are using new technologies to create competitive advantages. Pharmaceutical companies are not the exception to this new wave of innovations. In particular, pharmaceuticals have seen a great ally in IoT technologies thanks to its data-driven approach, one that just happens to fit perfectly with pharmaceuticals’ science-heavy processes. The impact of this has been so strong that some are even starting to refer to IoT for medical purposes as IoMT, the Internet of Medical Things. 

In this post, I will talk about how pharmaceutical companies can use IoT devices in practical ways to level up their business in an effective and productive way. If you are in the pharmaceutical industry, you might want to take some of these ideas to your next board meeting. 

Real-Time Information

The secret of any industry that wishes to benefit from IoT’s power is data. The pharmaceutical industry is not an exception. Thanks to the possibilities IoT offers to collect data, pharmaceutical companies can improve many of their processes. Large enterprises seem to be the most adequate for this, but this type of innovation is not limited to them. Small companies can also take advantage of it. 

IoT allows companies to collect large amounts of data in real-time. This can be done through special beacons that retrieve data directly from a variety of sources, particularly equipment. Basically, any machine can be adapted for this purpose thanks to massive and critical beacons. The former consists of a large network of beacons in which each individual beacon collects tiny amounts of data. The latter, on the contrary, make up a smaller network of beacons where each one collects vast amounts of data. Each one offers different possibilities based on what your company needs to do. 

As a result of these technologies, pharmaceuticals can monitor critical processes and make decisions on an informed basis. What were once gut-based decisions are now data-driven activities. Because this industry strongly relates to medicine, having accurate and timely data is extremely valuable. The result is not only greater efficiency and better decisions, but also more robust practices in products as delicate as pharmaceuticals. 

Smart Supply Chains

Pharmaceutical supply chains require a great deal of monitoring and control. Not doing so can result in inadequate product quality, and failed products can result in tragic scenarios for patients. This is especially relevant for companies that do not have complete control of their delivery routes; think of a product that has to travel a long time and distance by ship before reaching its destination. Leaving products on the hands of third parties is particularly risky due to the lack of control. 

Thanks to IoT, pharmaceutical companies can now monitor specific product variables throughout the supply chain. From the manufacturing plants to the drug store, tracking products has never been easier. Identifying potential machine failures and scheduling preventive maintenance is now easier thanks to IoT beacons that monitor how equipment behaves. Environmental conditions can be tracked during transportation and in warehouses. As if this was not enough, companies can also keep track of inventories. Drug stores can easily identify product sticks and ask for more when inventories are dwindling. 

In general, the entire industry benefits from IoT by implementing a stronger quality control that increases consumer safety and benefit. 

Improved Patient Care

One of the best things about how IoT technologies can be implemented in the pharmaceutical industry is that there seems to be no limit to innovation. The possibilities are mostly limited by creativity. Thus, having the right creative partner to implement IoT becomes crucial. 

A very creative way in which the industry is tackling important issues is by focusing directly on patient care. The purpose is not only to focus on machines, but on how every little thing can end up benefiting the end-users. Thanks to IoT devices that allow patients to monitor their biometrics, companies can collect very specific data and develop products especially designed for particular users. Some experts are even predicting the rise of a personalized type of medical care as a result of these new possibilities. 

Another way in which certain companies are changing the industry is by focusing on the treatment experience itself. Devices like smart pillboxes remind patients to take their pills in case they’ve forgotten. Certain apps use gamification as a way to keep patients engaged and aware of how their treatments are evolving. Probably the most common example is that of birth control apps, which help women keep track of their menstrual cycles and take their contraceptive pills regularly. 

These are just a few examples of how IoT is used throughout the pharmaceutical chain. In the coming years, we expect the number of innovations to soar. 

IoT Apps for Pharmaceuticals

An important aspect needs to be considered for a successful IoT implementation: the software used. A common mistake companies do is leave their IoT strategies in the hands of inexperienced development companies. Therefore, software ends up becoming the weak link in their processes. From our experience at Koombea, we consider apps to be the best alternative to manage IoT networks. However, not all apps are the same, so having the right one is essential. 

If your company is thinking about implementing an IoT strategy, make sure that your app development partner has the right qualifications. A powerful app can make all the difference in terms of IoT’s benefits. On the contrary, a poor app may send to waste all your efforts. Consider that an IoT app should take into account important aspects like UX and reliability. Most importantly, your IoT app needs to be aligned with your company’s strategy, that’s why an off-the-shelf solution might not be the best solution. 

Final Thoughts

The future belongs to IoT, and the pharmaceutical companies that recognize this fact are the ones that will stay ahead and create competitive advantages. Only by having a strong IoMT strategy will companies be able to stay afloat. 

If you are seriously considering that your IoT strategy needs an app, you might want to consider Koombea for your IoT development. We have more than 12 years of experience building apps that deliver great solutions to our customers’ needs. Our hands-on approach is not only centered on delivering world-class apps, but also in helping companies find the right solution to their problems. Our work speaks for itself. 

Don’t think twice about it. Contact us.

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