Technology with a heart
Pitney Bowes® technology helps Ciklum design more efficient automated external defibrillators
Heart attacks are a leading cause of death worldwide. In the United States alone, the National Center for Health Statistics estimates that more than 350,000 adults die each year from cardiac arrest. As awareness of the danger grows, public-access automated external defibrillators (AEDs) pop up in corporate and government offices, airports, hotels, shopping centers and even restaurants.
But members of the public can't always use AEDs effectively. Does the average person have the presence of mind to both shock a patient's heart and summon an ambulance? And what happens if a would-be good Samaritan runs across a cardiac patient, but doesn't have his cell phone handy? In cities and other traffic-plagued areas, how do first responders know the best route for reaching the patient?
Ciklum, a multinational software engineering company, sought a solution that would both improve the average person's ability to use AEDs and more quickly summon professional help. Its smart AED design concept won first place at the two-day Internet of Things for Cities Hackathon, held earlier this year in Santa Clara, Calif. Essential to the solution were Pitney Bowes reverse geocoding capabilities, which provide first responders the addresses associated with AEDs in use.
How it works
As soon as an AED is activated, the system notifies 911 and other emergency response systems, immediately providing them with a "report to" location — without anyone having to use a phone. Reverse geocoding assigns an address to the device. This information, along with current traffic information, is forwarded to a cloud-based data collection platform, then to a collaboration application on the first responders' mobile devices. This helps ambulance personnel plot the quickest route to the "report to" location.
In the meantime, voice-activated speakers and an intelligent virtual assistant instruct those using the AED on how to treat the patient. As the user follows instructions from the virtual assistant, the system forwards patient information to first responders. For example, the virtual assistant will instruct the user on how to attach a heart rate monitor to the patient. Once in place, the heart rate monitor feeds the patient's vital signs to the responders as they travel to the location.
Ciklum's smart AED solution is built on the following technologies:
- Precision Reverse Geocoding by Pitney Bowes transforms GPS locations into the closest address for first responders.
- Amazon Echo voice-enabled wireless speakers with the Alexa virtual assistant coaches users through treatment of patient.
- Current, powered by GE, an application program interface providing real-time images and traffic monitoring to responders, enhances responders' view of the conditions in the geographic area surrounding the AED.
- Predix, a platform as a service from GE, collects data produced by the AED and acts as the underlying host for the backend application.
- Cisco Spark, a communications application, acts as a channel for first responders to receive location and AED data in real-time.
Fast treatment is critical for heart attack sufferers. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association's Cardiac Arrest Incident and Outcomes report, use of AEDs can increase the chance of survival by 70 percent. By improving the efficacy of AEDs, Ciklum hopes that, once mass-produced, its solution will further tilt the odds in the patient's favor.