IBM goes heavy in big data, hopes to make wearables talk to doctors


Wearables are being woven into the fabric of the healthcare industry on a regular basis, and international technology giant IBM soon hopes to make wearables talk to doctors.

IBM is no stranger to taking on projects revolving around big data and is reportedly investing $3 billion into an Internet of Things unit. The company estimates that 90 percent of data generated by mobile and “smart” devices is never analyzed.

(A refresher: the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of everyday objects (like bicycles or microwaves) that operate with electronics, softwares, sensors and connectivity. These objects can collect and exchange data with other devices. IoT operates within the current Internet structure. It’s a revolutionary network that has been incredibly beneficial to the adoption of wearable technology.)

The Associated Press reports, “IBM is training more than 2,000 consultants, researchers and developers to help businesses come up with new ways to use the vast amounts of data that are now available, said Glenn Finch, Big Data and Analytics Lead at IBM Global Business Services. This could mean combining Twitter data with economic and weather data to predict what someone might be interested in buying.”

Not surprisingly, some of the most important data from IoT can be applied to the health industry. “The cost of healthcare continues to grow,” senior vice president at IBM Research and Watson architect John Kelly told the Washington Post. “We need better outcomes — we see a number of diseases that are exploding, from diabetes to cancer.” Kelly says that expanding into the healthcare business only makes sense.

IBM is teaming up with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic for this health-related venture. As of right now, their goal is to take data from wearable devices and make them useful not only to you, but to your physician. The company plans on doing this with a cloud specifically for global health analytics.

Physicians have already begun adapting to wearables and collecting big data, but they don’t know what to do with almost 80 percent of it because it’s not structured yet. Hopefully, with the help of IBM, doctors can further benefit from IoT and big health data.

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