Application and Data Integration for Smart Home Platforms for Health

by Harry Wang | Oct. 12, 2015

Integrating connected health devices, applications, and services into smart home platforms occurs through two different types of integration: front-end application integration and back-end data integration. This includes integrating connected health devices, applications and services into a smart home platform through apps/devices-to-a-hub, apps/devices-to-a-cloud, and a cloud-to-cloud integration.

From a business and strategy perspective, smart home platform players need to focus on three key areas:

  • the types of connected health devices and applications that are the most appropriate for integration through a hub versus a cloud
  • the impact of different integration approaches on healthcare partners needs
  • meeting regulatory standards


The most common practice in the smart home industry is to install an in-home console that supports multiple connectivity protocols like Z-Wave or ZigBee-enabled smart home devices such as door locks, thermostats, security cameras, etc. The in-home console typically boasts enough processing power for high-bandwidth applications such as video monitoring and generally is better at handling application latency than applications directly connected to a cloud.

Does an integration approach factor in healthcare partners’ needs?

The deeper an application crosses into the healthcare industry, the more consideration will be given to healthcare partners’ needs, especially when such partners control influential distribution channels. A smart home platform may support a smart kitchen application in which end users’ eating habits are tied to their fitness tracking data, and together are part of a weight loss program marketed to a self-insured employer as a corporate wellness benefit to employees. The employer may set specific requirements on how to measure participants’ compliance, what data collection protocols are approved, and what types of devices and applications need to be supported. The smart home platform provider needs to work with the weight loss program partner to sort out technology and process implications from these requirements and integrate devices and applications accordingly. Failure to do so can undermine outcomes and threaten the success of the partnership.

Does the integration approach meet specific regulatory requirements?

A smart home platform may choose to build the virtual care capability directly and market it to healthcare providers. In this situation, the platform provider needs to ensure not only that the application on a care provider’s end complies with its IT policies, but also that the application on the user end meets the minimum HIPAA compliance requirement. It must also ensure that the virtual consultation experience meets each state’s regulation as a qualified health service, therefore reimbursable by a private or public health insurer. Ignoring these compliance requirements can result in serious consequences.

The front-end application integration is subject to both technology and business considerations. The back-end data integration is more of a business choice than a technology decision. In this era of Internet of Everything, the value of data cannot be over-emphasized. One of the benefits of a platform strategy is the ability to own a wide array of data that can be tapped for business agility or new revenue opportunities. Home activity data from smart home devices combined with health and wellness behavioral data are potentially a highly valuable asset to the healthcare industry.

For more information on this topic, see the Parks Associates 2Q industry report Smart Home Platforms for Health

Further Reading:



Next: Rise in Connected Health & Wellness Products Creates New Opportunities for Smart Home Players
Previous: Healthcare Services Represent Attractive New Business Models for IoT Players

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