New Year's Resolution: Use IoT and Big Data to Improve Health

Microsoft Band 2

It’s January, that time of year our minds turn to our health, trying to counteract the extra pounds of turkey and mince pies (I’m English) we ate over the break. One device I’m using to help me is the Microsoft Band 2. This IoT device has multiple sensors that connect to your body via the band to track your heart rate, steps, stairs climbed, calories burned, exercise, and sleep quality. It also has GPS to track your location, advanced tools to manage and suggest workout programs, and even golf course distances. In addition it interfaces to your phone to act as a watch and give email and text notifications; you can even pay for your Starbucks latte from the band via an app.

The purpose of this and similar devices is to measure your data over time (in real-time), store it in a centralized cloud database, and then use analytics to derive actionable insights across the dataset to improve your health. You can start to make changes to the way you function and see the impact it has on your body’s performance. Did I sleep better in a cooler room? Is my heart performing better after regular exercise? You can also use the information to understand changes that are out of normal behavior, which may indicate health problems you can address before they become serious.

Whether it’s IoT (Internet of Things) on your body or IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) on machines, once you are connected to sensors in real-time and able to store the data in a secure cloud database, you can start to derive actionable insights to improve performance or react to data that deviates from the norm. The Microsoft Band equivalent for a machine is our Industrial Internet edge node that provides connectivity to your existing assets. Microsoft uses a "Microsoft health” secure cloud database for their body analytics; we use an Equipment Insight secure cloud database for our machine analytics. In the machine case we’re helping identify areas where you can reduce downtime, improve operational productivity and identify problems before they become serious—monitoring the machine’s health.

So as we kick off 2016 and you start thinking about leveraging IoT technology to track your own health, just remember—an industrialized version of the same technology is available as well to help improve the health of your machines. Though I have to say, as yet we do not have the Starbucks app, but we’re always open to suggestions.

Barry Lynch

Barry, Global Marketing Director – Automation Hardware at GE's Automation & Controls business, passionately believes that connected machines, mobile data analytics and workforce enablement don’t have to be hurdles in business today. He leads the strategic direction of the company’s automation and information systems programs to help customers apply the power of the Industrial Internet to their businesses. By connecting machines, data, insights and people, our technology solutions deliver critical insight for greater operational efficiency, effectiveness and optimization. Learn more about how Barry works at GE on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter at @BarryLynchGE.

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