Big Data, IoT and Healthcare: Part II

In the first part of this blog series, I covered how the healthcare industry can benefit from IoT and Big Data. In this week’s post I’ll take a more in-depth look into the potential security issues associated with Big Data and what the future holds for healthcare IoT.

From cars and hotels, to consumer goods like lightbulbs and watches there is a growing network of everyday objects connected to the Internet.  These sensors and devices generate nonstop streams of data that can improve personal and professional lives in many ways. However, with the billions of data generating devices being used and installed around the globe, privacy and data protection are becoming a growing concern.

Recent attacks by cybercriminals within healthcare sectors demonstrate that companies cannot ignore potential threats in their design or decision making processes. Just last year, as many as 80 million customers of Anthem, the United States’ second-largest health insurance company, had their account information stolen. The hackers gained access to Anthem’s computer system and stole names, birthdays, medical IDs, Social Security numbers, street addresses, e-mail addresses and more. This was the second major breach for the company.

It’s evident that there is a growing need to find a way to effectively manage privacy and security in Big Data. While there are innovative and accessible analyst tools such as MS Polybase and Impala, one of the challenges is hiring and retaining qualified data analysts.  Another challenge is the exponential growth of Big Data and the minimal structure, lack of standardization and lack of willingness to standardize.

So how do we address these challenges?  Businesses across all industries need an extensive platform that can manage both structured and unstructured data with security, consistency and credibility. A great example, and unexpected entrant into this niche market, is the SQL and Hadoop data warehouses offered by Microsoft.  These systems double-check validity, handle all types of data, and scale from terabytes to petabytes with real-time performance.

According to a new report, by 2020, the healthcare IoT market will reach $117 billion. Based on this report, one thing is clear: Aging and remote healthcare is going to be a demographic necessity rather than a mere opportunity. An example of where IoT/Big Data is making a difference is the innovative combination of connected healthcare devices and data sciences, such as fall detection alarms in elderly and home care situations.

As this trend continues, different sectors of the industry will merge and work together in order to deliver advanced digital solutions and embedded devices to the healthcare industry. As Big Data within healthcare IoT continues to grow, it will also lead to more and more job opportunities for developers with a knack for data science, data mining and/or data warehousing. With this need comes an opportunity for new businesses to emerge.

IoT and Big Data represent part of the fourth industrial revolution: The first being steam and mechanical production, the second division of labor, the third electronics and IT and the fourth being interconnected cyber-physical systems.

What does this mean for the healthcare sector? Recently, a company equipped their employees with Fitbit wearables and gathered mining data that was delivered by the wearable. From this experiment, they learned it was possible to reduce insurance premiums by $300k. By using predictive data from sensors and interconnected devices, GPs, hospitals, national health services and the pharmaceutical industry can create meaningful programs that shape the way patients are treated for years to come.

First published here: