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IBM Watson Expands Consulting Support to Internet of Things

IBM Watson IoT Consulting Solution assists organizations to embrace the IoT to gain better analytic insight into unstructured data.

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

IBM Watson has just announced the release of its free IBM Watson IoT Consulting Solutions practice to assist their clients across all industries to embrace the Internet of Things.

IBM Watson IoT

The IBM Watson IoT Consulting Solutions practice will employ a global network of consultants, data scientists, design, and security experts with industry expertise, dedicated to guide clients challenged by industry specific IoT adoption. IBM hopes to assist clients in fully using the IoT without the complexity of dealing with multiple vendors. IBM Watson’s IoT Platform APIs and technologies include cognitive, analytics, mobile, security and cloud capabilities.

IBM aims to encourage organizations to embrace IoT solutions by taking the complicated implementation, structure and deployment process out of the equation.

"Clients can now easily introduce IoT innovation into their business by leveraging IBM's industry and technical expertise to deliver lower risk, as-a-service commercial models. We are very proud our integrated IoT solutions deliver innovation in an easy to consume model for business leaders," said Jesus Mantas, General Manager, Business Consulting, IBM. "We are helping clients accelerate the digitization of their business processes by making it easy to deploy IoT solutions globally into their business."

Clients can apply Watson cognitive computing capabilities, including machine learning and natural language to tap into unstructured data to gain insight.

IBM Watson Health has focused on population health management citing that, “it has become increasingly clear that behavioral healthcare must be integrated with medical care to achieve the Triple Aim of lower costs, higher quality and a better patient experience.  Innovative health IT is key to support this integration. Perhaps the most exciting IT development to be applied to this integration is cognitive computing.”

Cognitive computing simulates how the human brain draws conclusions between pieces of data that may seem unrelated at first glance. Cognitive computing uses natural language processing and pattern recognition techniques supported by data mining and curation.

Cognitive computing sources data from a data lake. A data lake provides a powerful data architecture with a unified location to help reduce silos across the healthcare enterprise.  Data can also be connected from trusted outside sources including payers, genomic research centers, public health databases, biobanks, and social media feeds.

IBM Watson recognizes that health data comes in more forms than just what is entered on a patient's EHR. Before electing the use of cognitive computing for the IoT, IBM Watson released their Unified Data Model  for healthcare that processes health data into predefined structures including behavioral health, criminal justice, socioeconomic background, and substance abuse.

The endgame for IBM Watson Health is to help healthcare organizations better care for patients by using analytics to recognize evolving patterns of intersecting behavioral, clinical, environmental, and genetic information. By encouraging healthcare organizations to embrace the Internet of Things and offering assistance will bring healthcare closer to faster and better patient diagnosis and treatment.

The report, Medical Internet of Things and Big Data, concluded that IoT technology provides valuable data for disease prevention and management. According to the report, beneficial IoT medical devices include “devices that constantly monitor health indicators, devices that auto-administer therapies, or devices that track real-time health data when a patient self-administers a therapy.”

IoT devices are growing in the healthcare industry as the popularity of patient wearables and other health monitoring devices become more common. However, the data those devices collect is often unstructured and cannot be used unless organizations implement a solution to analyze it.

The influx of data expected to currently being stored by healthcare organizations indicates the need for IoT solutions and cognitive computing to become staples in the health IT infrastructures of organizations looking to embrace population health management and other analytic incentives. IBM Watson is just one solution encouraging IoT adoption in healthcare.

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