Two weeks ago I was in Southern California, one of the seven or eight hotbeds of medical device innovation and commerce in the Americas. I was there as moderator of the California Medical Info Day event—a QNX Software Systems-hosted educational event aimed at addressing the challenges the medical device market faces in all phases from innovation to post-market maintenance.
I was also part of these events in the UK and Paris last year and found them utterly fascinating. From presentations given by subject matter experts, and by networking interaction, I quickly discovered that the challenges of connectivity, security, compliance, and software integration are indeed global. Sure, there are variances and unique challenges that exist from region-to-region, but we are all essentially in the same boat.
This series of events are very non-commercial and intended to bring relevant, fresh, and compelling information to the development community. The participation of leading subject matter experts and ecosystem partners across multiple medical device disciplines creates a full spectrum of ideas and meaningful dialogue. Organizations participating in this event included Boundary Devices, California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), Integrated Computer Solutions (ICS), Mindtree, NXP, Protiviti, Real-Time Innovations (RTI), and System Safety, Inc.
The high level of multi-disciplinary expertise and how we as medical ecosystem are coming together truly crystallized for me during a lively panel discussion comprised of experts from QNX, Protiviti, RTI, and Alcon. Ultimately, everyone’s prevailing concern bubbled to the surface: security.
Many of the commercialization issues facing medical device manufacturers were dwarfed by the overriding concern about how to manage security measures in embedded equipment. With the mounting pre and post-market guidance pressure from the FDA being coupled with recent hacks and ransomware events, the problem has become daunting. The conversation quickly turned “dark” with the most provocative question being, “Who pays for cybersecurity?”
A clear learning was that BlackBerry subsidiaries QNX and Certicom are well positioned to assist medical device customers with the daunting problem of designing, developing, deploying and defending products and systems from cybersecurity attacks. QNX Software Systems’ operating system (OS) is by virtue of its microkernel architecture and compact code size over 200 times more secure than Linux OS.
Certicom’s proven cloud-based Managed PKI service, FIPS 140-2 level 1 validated security libraries, and secure manufacturing infrastructure offerings bring a high level of end to end security to the medical market. With such multi-level security coverage Blackberry helps make our medical customers’ products not just secure, but BlackBerry Secure.
My lasting takeaway from the June 21 event in the San Diego/La Jolla region was that medical device development and the life sciences are firmly implanted and growing well in Southern California. Both large and small companies are thriving. There are tremendous innovation, rich intellectual capital, and a real sense of community to work together to solve security, connectivity, regulatory, and software problems.