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During the annual Health Information and Management Systems Society conference, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty declared that the era of cognitive computing in healthcare is upon us.

“It actually is an era that will play out in front of us, which is what we call the cognitive era,” Rometty said. “I hope to persuade you … that this idea of cognitive healthcare, systems that learn, that this is real and it’s mainstream and it is here and it can change almost everything about healthcare.”

The official IBM website says that IBM Watson Healthcare mission is to empower leaders, advocates and influencers in health through support that helps them achieve remarkable outcomes, accelerate discovery, make essential connections and gain confidence on their path to solving the world’s biggest health challenges.

Let’s look into what IBM Watson is and what exactly it will bring us.

IBM Watson is an advanced artificial intelligence program that is transforming healthcare into a quantifiable service where every bit of information is available and physicians only have to go through their personalized reports instead of reading through dozens of papers for every patient’s case.

Here are just some upgrades that IBM Watson will bring to healthcare.

Your doctor will be well-informed

At the moment one of the most significant challenges in healthcare is the huge amount of information available. Your doctor can not be aware of all the information that has been published recently. Watson however is able to search all the information, so doctors don’t have to spend hours and hours on reading and investigating.

It’s currently being used in genome analysis research at a hospital in the US where it found a third of patients were affected by information published in articles since their treatments began.

You’ll be recommended better treatments

If, for example, you’re diagnosed with cancer, you might benefit from the platform, Watson for Oncology. Usually the doctor meets with cancer patients and spends time reviewing their notes – which would be presented in paper format or in a list of emails. It turns out that A doctor’s decision will be made basing on his individual experience and the information available in front of him.

IBM Watson takes all those unstructured notes and restructures it in a way that the doctor can check easily, with treatment recommendations of which drug to give, which radiation or dosage.

You will be prescribed better medication

A very important aspect of IBM Watson is medication. Generally it takes about 12 years to produce a pill, but recent tests at the Baylor College of medicine in Houston, Texas, has reduced significant parts of the research process to weeks, months, and days. IBM Watson is able to accelerate the discovery of new treatment by streamlining research processes. As a patient, you will benefit from having more appropriate treatments available for you when you need it.

It’s clear that IBM Watson is already transforming healthcare, but much progress still lies ahead.

“We’re just at the beginning of something that will be very big and very transformative over the next 50 years,” said Watson Healthcare Executive Lead, Thomas Balkizas.

Feel free to share your thoughts about IBM Watson prospects for the near future in comments below!

 

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Yana Khaidukova

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Digital health is dramatically reshaping and redefining how healthcare is delivered. And here are some new trends that we can observe now and which are expected to change the future of eHealth.
 
Distributed Healthcare

New technological aids has changed the relationship between patient and doctor. Patients can now google information about illnesses and treatments, read their digital patient journal online, learn of their doctor’s findings and take responsibility for their own care in a completely different way than in the past.

The use of digital and mobile IT solutions in healthcare means that care is no longer available only in a specific location. Nowadays, patients have the right to choose where they wish to be treated and, in the future, this will not only include choosing which hospital to visit, but also whether to hold their appointments via video link or to treat their depression using online therapy.
 
Smart Devices

Apps and mobile technology are already a natural part of our everyday life.
There is a number of eHealth applications now available and one of them is the digital diary which allows patients to record measurement data and appraisals or to note down their general physical and mental states during the day. As a next step they forward this information to their doctor.

Apps like this also give patients a simple means by which to take greater control over their own well-being, whether related to blood-sugar levels, blood pressure, or mood.
At the moment, healthcare do not use all the rich data that this type of smart device can provide. However, through projects such as the Swedish eHealth Agency’s Health for Me and other platforms that allow patients to collect their health data, an attempt is being made to both understand and find ways to utilize this digital “treasure” for the benefit of both patients and providers.
 
Interoperability

One major feature of eHealth is large IT systems. These are designed to suit a broad user base, however, which invariably makes it difficult for them to cater specifically to any one user. The future lies in creating smaller, customized systems that can communicate with one another through their interoperability. Custom-designed digital solutions entail opening up the market to small-scale actors and utilizing the entire ecosystem during development.
 
Big Data

Big Data has changed the way we manage, analyze and operate data in any industry. Healthcare is obviously one of the most promising areas where Big Data can be applied to make a change. In future perspective healthcare analytics can reduce costs of treatment, predict outbreaks of epidemics, avoid preventable diseases and improve the quality of life in general. Treatment delivery methods face new challenges today: average human lifespan is increasing together with the world population. Healthcare professionals, just like business entrepreneurs, are capable of collecting massive amounts of data and look for best strategies to use these numbers.

Even if healthcare services is not something that exсites you, still you are a potential patient, and just like everyone of us you should be aware about new healthcare analytics applications and how they can help you.
 
Artificial Intelligence

Anytime a new technology enters healthcare, there are a number of challenges it faces. Common setbacks of artificial intelligence in healthcare include a lack of data exchange, regulatory compliance requirements and patient and provider adoption. AI has come across all of these issues, narrowing down the areas in which it can succeed.
The most popular use of artificial intelligence in healthcare is in IBM’s smart cloud, where Watson lives. The Watson platform has been used in a number of disciplines within healthcare including with payers, oncology and patient risk assessment.
 
To know more about the way IBM Watson works and its perspectives for the future please check out my new article “IBM Watson. Future is closer than you think” next week.

 

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Yana Khaidukova

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altabel

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As The Internet of Things continues to grow, huge amount of data is going to be generated. How huge is the “huge”? Really huge. I do mean that.

Physical devices across the globe are consuming and creating data to drive a continuously connected world. David Booth, CEO at BackOffice Associates believes that currently we are at the tipping point of the Internet of Things. He says, “It was not a big leap for the industry to realize that an IoT global network of continuously connected devices would mean that data would not only be created at geometric rates, but that it would become one of the most valuable commodities in the world.”

Alongside the fact that year 2016 was declared to be the year of the first Zettabyte in internet traffic, Cisco report says the number will reach 2.3 ZB by 2020. Before long we will be transferring this much data annually.

If it does not say anything to you, imagine a byte equals 1 character of text – a zettabyte would cover War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy(which is about 1,250 pages) at least 325 trillion times. Or if 1 gigabyte can store 960 minutes of music – technically a zettabyte would be able to store just over 2 billion years of music. If that still isn’t illustrative enough, let’s measure in cups of coffee. Cisco states that if the 11oz coffee on your desk equals to one gigabyte, a zettabyte would have the same volume as the Great Wall of China. This amount of information is mind-blowing. Zettabyte transformed Big Data into enormously Big Data.
 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding rapidly and relentlessly. And as IoT grows, so do the volumes of data it generates. Ignoring this fact is not an option, and companies will do so at their own peril and risk.

Though there are many new start-up companies storing, analyzing and integrating massive amounts of big data created from the IoT, not many of them have actually considered how the IoT can and will transform organization thinking by implementing data quality and information governance.

With so much data being created, companies must understand what they want to do with it, what are their data requirements and ensure that they have access to the right data. Unless a company can find a way to accumulate, manage and, most important, monetize their data storage, data hoarding can be a real issue for them. Put simply, while the value IoT brings is in the information it creates, innovation gold lies in the filtered data an organization has extracted from the intermediate layer between the devices and the cloud (so called “fog”).

Obviously, data provides powerful potential for boosting analytics efforts. And analyzing the amount of data that is going to be created by the Internet of Things requires new, advanced analytic techniques. The good news is, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing are maturing at a fast pace.

When used properly analytics can help organizations translate IoT’s digital data into knowledge that will contribute to developing new products, offerings, and business models. IoT can provide useful insights into the world outside company walls, and help strategists and decision-makers understand their customers, products, and markets more clearly. It can drive so much more — including opportunities to integrate and automate business processes in ways never imagined before.

Rowan Trollope, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s Internet of Things (IoT) and Applications, told participants at the Cisco Live conference, “One of the biggest mistakes you could make now is to underestimate the Internet of Things. This is a life or death issue for most of our customers. They have seen what has happened with Uber and taxi companies and with Netflix and Blockbuster”.

The bottom line is that IoT and Big Data can either disrupt your business or help you become more competitive compared to other businesses that are about to be disrupted.

 

alexandra-presniatsova

Alexandra Presniatsova

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altabel

Altabel Group

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Machine learning

A breakthrough in the technology of artificial intelligence and its active use in practice is the trend of the last two-three years. If earlier the creation of a high-quality machine translation system required a decade, now startups can offer consumers quite a competitive product in this area within one year.

Machine learning is a new approach to information processing, it turns the machine into an intelligent device very fast. In many ways, the development boom based on machine learning programs happened due to the fact that almost everything you need can be found among free software. It is enough to download the development environment, a number of libraries and read the manual. For a week or two, you can write, for example, a program recognizing wine labels or even individuals.

AI opened a completely new universe that humanity will explore for centuries. This means that robots are getting smarter and can learn independently. They are even capable of transmitting their knowledge to each other. To do this, of course, communication infrastructure is necessary. With its help, the program, which has recently invented a new universal language, could teach the other machines.

By the way, people did not expect artificial intelligence to create a new language, it was a by-product performed while teaching machines to translate from different languages. The program has learned how to translate from the languages it hadn’t been asked to by itself. Hence, the researchers concluded that a computer system uses meta-level language for communication, a new sort of Esperanto, a universal language.

 
Robots and VR
 

Analytical agencies called 2016 the year of virtual reality technologies. According to the Digi Capital forecast, by 2020 the virtual reality market will come up to $ 30 billion. Today we have every reason to believe that in 2017 VR-technology will finally become mass.

This trend has affected robotics as well. Complex machine control via VR-helmets and screens shows that augmented reality is gaining popularity. At MWC in Barcelona 2016, all visitors were offered to try themselves as excavator operators, controlling real excavators via Oculus Rift helmet.

This is one of the main scenarios of applying VR in industry and business, which will be used in a variety of situations: unmanned vehicles control (trailers, drones, trucks), surgical operations, exploring out of reach places (the ocean bottom, mines, permafrost). However, the automation trend of the last decade is increasing in order to completely avoid people’s participation in these processes.

 
Artificial Intelligence
 

The idea of intelligent robots has been exciting minds for a long time. We are used to different fiction anthropomorphic golems, androids, perfect voice assistants. Moreover, the success of HBO Westworld recent show demonstrates that the interest in artificial intelligence is rapidly increasing.

Meanwhile, the representatives of different professions were asked to imagine AI as a professional assistant at work or even in the role of a leader. Intelligent Apps have the potential to transform the workplace by making everyday tasks easier and its users more effective. The prospect of getting help from the robot frightens 25% of people, 40% are against the robot leader. However, the majority of people can easily imagine robots among their colleagues- 35% want to see a robot as a personal assistant. Every fourth looks positive on robots to take a leading position.

 
Internet of Things

The internet of Things has been labeled as “the next Industrial Revolution” because of the way it will change the way people live, work, have fun and travel, as well as how governments and businesses interact with the world.

Most of us are used to applications, which allow us to switch tracks on the audio system, to open our cars, turn on the lights, change the temperature in the room. According to Ericsson ConsumerLab research, two out of five people expect applications to remember users’ preferences and configure home appliances in the nearest future. It is as a good way to save personal time that can be spent on tasks that are more important.

 
Unmanned vehicles
 

They can either be remote controlled or remote guided, or they can be autonomous vehicles which are capable of exploring the environment and navigating on their own. With the right technology, multiple cars could “talk” to one another and reduce the chance for crashes.

Every fourth interviewee said he would feel safer if all the cars would be driven by robots. Meanwhile, 65% said they would prefer to have an autonomous vehicle rather than drive themselves.

Self-driven cars – futuristic, comfortable and safe. However, at the moment none of the existing systems can completely take over driving. Even the most sophisticated systems can fail.

 
Augmented reality
 

Approximately four out of five users believe that a complete blending of real and virtual worlds will happen just within three years. Half of the respondents are already interested in buying special gloves or shoes that would control VR-objects (for example, for playing virtual instruments).

A well-known game Pokemon GO is a good example to demonstrate the real potential of augmented reality. Many people want to use similar possibilities not only in the games but in real life as well. More than half of users would like to have AR-glasses to see better in the dark and, for example, to be able to observe criminals. One out of three would like to use augmented reality to get rid of unpleasant elements of their landscape, such as graffiti and litter. Many people dream of not seeing street signs, uninteresting shop windows and billboards.

 
Security Paradox of “smart” devices
 

More than half of the respondents use applications and trackers that transmit alarm and danger warnings. Using such apps people expect to increase their personal safety level. The paradox is that 60% of those who feel more secure with a smartphone admit that would try to avoid those situations while not having a phone in the pocket. People rely on their smartphones capabilities too much. Meanwhile, they won’t know what to do if they lose the device or the battery dies. Three out of five people, who believe that the smartphone makes their lives safer, are in a bigger danger.

 
Social fragmentation
 

For every third respondent social networks have become a main source of information. However, social networks do not connect people from all around the world, on the contrary, they form small groups and communities. There is a chance that this fragmentation will only increase: every week, every day individuals exclude each other from friends or refuse to accept connection requests based on the opinions of other people.
 
We all know that making predictions about the course of technology’s future is challenging. Surprises can appear in any direction. Now we can only imagine those amazing opportunities we are going to explore in the nearest future.

Feel free to share your thoughts about technology prospects for the near future in comments below!

 

Darya Bertosh

Darya Bertosh

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Augmented reality – AR, is a world-known term nowadays. Nonetheless it is not that new as we are used to think. We’ve been seeing versions of AR for quite some time already. The concept is pretty simple: take a real-life scene, or a video of a scene, and add some kind of explanatory data to it so that you can better understand what’s going on there, or who the people in the scene are, or how to get to where you want to go, for example sports coverage on TV.

“AR has been around for ages,” says Andy Cameron, executive director of Fabrica, an interactive design studio which works with Benetton, “maybe going back as far as the 1970s and art installations that overlaid real spaces with something virtual.” He mentions in particular the work of pioneering computer artist Myron Krueger.
 

 
Nonetheless AR changed a lot in recent years. It became much more accessible. AR has come within reach of all sorts of developers – and millions of people gained access to using AR every day, often in the palms of their hands.

The appearance of powerful smartphones and computers with high-resolution photo/video cameras means that you don’t have to wait for the AR effects as you do with sports TV channels. They can simply be added into real life.

Without doubt, in next few years we will see rapid development of AR and experience it in various spheres of our lives.
 
Industry/military/medicine

Industrial, military and medical applications concerning the validation of designs or plans are a specialization of Augmented Reality. When soldiers need information on their surroundings they can receive detailed 3D maps. If a doctor is performing surgery, a live image of a human subject is accessible. Important occupations in need of crucial information use Augmented Reality tools to visually superimpose their solutions.
 
Navigation

A surgeon performing a complicated procedure or a firefighter trying to find his way out of a burning building can visualize a much more accurate and safe course of action with the help of augmented reality. Similarly, you can see a particular place through your augmented reality incorporated smartphone camera, and immediately find out the nearest cafes, bookshops, dining places.
 
Education

Educational resources are emphasized by Augmented Reality systems and can be used to re-create historical events, activate regular books into 3D images, or even present structures of the galaxy; all superimposed in real-time. Augmented Reality is extremely useful for educators in classroom settings or during presentations and allows students to gain a deeper understanding on the topic at hand. By merging content to media the reading experience is enhanced and the reader is fully engaged. The text and images are on a page as usual, but Augmented Reality allows you to see dynamic, 3D computer graphics “hovering” over it.
 
Shopping

E-Commerce / M-commerce applications will offer a virtual fitting room where apparel can be tried on live.
 
Housing/interior decoration

Innovative technology is providing value for all audiences in the interior design industry. Manufacturers, designers, and the end consumer are all finding use in these technologies in relation to traditional methods. Soon new tech will become the standard, as it helps shoppers make quicker, more informed purchase decisions through personable experiences. If you are interested in creating a more interactive and meaningful experience for your clients or customers, Augment offers custom AR solutions to allow your shoppers to bring your products to real life.
 

 
These are just several spheres where AR solutions will be further developed. At Altabel Group we are keeping track of AR innovations and are ready for new challenges in AR development. And what about you?

Feel free to share your thoughts about AR prospects for the near future in comments below!

 

yana-khaidukova

Yana Khaidukova

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altabel

Altabel Group

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Artificial intelligence gives us more and more opportunities every day. Chatbots and their developing for client-communication are the hottest topics today. Many experts say that chatbots are the future. Let’s get a short review.
 
Who are they?

Chatbots are essentially programs pretending to be people that you can interact with through text or even voice. They are closely connected with a wide messenger’s distribution and I believe everyone has been already acquainted with them. It’s obvious that chat- bots’ popularity is starting to take off.
 
How can they enhance e-commerce?

1. First of all chat bot doesn’t get tired, being late or absent – it assists your clients 24/7 365 days per year and get significant workload on its shoulders. That is why they seem to be the best answer for e-commerce business owners to manage thousands of one-to-one conversations with customers.

2. The second point is that chat bots can understand natural language and communicate with people in the same manner making conversations realistic and trustworthy. So chat bots give online shop owners an opportunity to provide pleasant shopping experience for customers.

3. Chatbots are proactive. They can understand what the particular customer wants not only through a simple conversation, but also through analysis and collecting of personal and profile page data ( smartphone data, cookies and so on). All this information might help to improve the marketing strategy and provide customers with the best user experience.

4. Additionally, chatbots simply save customers’ time. You don’t need to waste time for searching the appropriate item, click on mass of characteristics, study a market and etc. You can simply say : Hey, I want to buy an efficient computer for my child. Bot does it for you with a great pleasure and at a quick pace.

5. Finally, all this points give more advantages for businesses: services become much more better and faster, the conversion becomes higher, sales increase, operational costs and salary charges reduce.

 

 
Fresh examples of using

The most outstanding example is already occurring in China, where consumers are using WeChat to fulfill their daily living and commerce needs. Soon, this system will gain prominence in the United States.

Further more brands like Walmart and Hyatt are testing customer service and shopping within apps on the new Facebook Messenger for Business App. A free messaging app, called Kik, has a bot shop for companies such as Sephora, Vine, and H&M. So it can be said that the part of the technology is already there.

Amazon’s voice bot messaging has brought the idea of personal assistant to the next level. Customers can talk to the bot and ask it to order items through Amazon Prime, get a pizza, purchase flowers and call for an Uber. Voice commands are making shopping easier than ever, but there are still many issues to work out.

 

 
What’s Coming in the Future?

Voice-based AI and mobile chatbots are the dominant trend right now, but it’s not crazy to think that this could evolve into something more personal and user-based. E-commerce data is there to help you segment and automate email messaging to certain customers, so it’s not silly to assume that this data will eventually merge with bots.

Imagine a personalized bot that talks to you, and only you, when you shop on the Target website. They’d know the last items you bought, deliver the most relevant products and even stock your shopping cart with suggestions. The days of taking hours to shop online will soon knock the pad. In the near future, all the work will be done for you.

Are you ready for this?
 

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Kate Kviatkovskaya

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altabel

Altabel Group

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The demand for healthcare services is growing at rapid pace due to constantly increasing number of people with chronic diseases. These days approximately every one of two individuals has one or more chronic diseases, and one of four has two or more chronic conditions. At the same time, there are more medical information today about different diseases and their treatment options than ever before.
 

According to IBM, healthcare data doubles every 2 years. It is also calculated that doctors would have to read 29 hours each workday to keep up with new professional insights. Obviously while dealing with this huge information flow, doctors don’t have enough capacities to decide how appropriate an option might be for a specific patient.

Additionally, the most expensive part of healthcare is the human resources, which adds to the supply-and-demand issues. I guess no one will doubt the fact that professional healthcare is costly.

These insights bring up several questions. How can we benefit from explosion of information in healthcare industry? Is it possible to cut the costs for people who seek healthcare treatment without sacrificing the quality of such services? Or even improving it? How do we find a balance after all?

The answer lies in two words: cognitive computing. It is a system that can handle massive amounts of unstructured data to enable a new class of data interpretation and learning systems. Cognitive systems process information by comparing it to a teaching set of data. So that the more data such a system can analyze, the more it learns, and therefore the more accurate it becomes with the course of time. To mimic the way the human brain works cognitive systems use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing.

The main advantage of these machine-learning systems is their ability to find patterns in datasets too large and complex for human brains to embrace. For doctors this means assistance of paramount importance in keeping track of records and making accurate clinical decisions. IDC predicts that by 2018 somewhat 30 percent of healthcare systems will be running cognitive analytics against patient data and real-world evidence to personalize treatment regiments. What’s more, IDC projects that during the same year physicians will tap cognitive solutions for nearly half of cancer patients and, as a result, will reduce costs and mortality rates by 10 percent.

For patients the ability of cognitive computing to act as an advisor and give an additional opinion allows an extra level of assurance in the service provided by the healthcare sector. Eventually the patients will have more confidence in the service they are receiving. Besides, involving cognitive computing into healthcare means availability of remote check-ups, including areas with relatively little healthcare provision. It is predicted that in the U.S., for example, in the nearest future 40% of primary care encounters will be delivered virtually, which will be possible thanks to cognitive systems.

Summing up, cognitive computing can help:

  • Healthcare specialists to manage all the data that is available to make more precise conclusions over the patients’ conditions
  • Patients by advising, and providing answers to the questions they have
  • Decrease costs for healthcare services

As data becomes more complex and diversified, cognitive computing will have an incredible impact on the healthcare industry.

In conclusion, let me give you one single real-life example. Watson (famous IBM cognitive system used to diagnose patients) was able to determine a rare form of leukemia in an old woman, while oncologists at the University of Tokyo had puzzled for about a year over her illness. After analyzing 20 million research papers Watson came up with the proper diagnosis. It took the system no more than ten minutes. Impressive, isn’t it?

 

alexandra-presniatsova

Alexandra Presniatsova

Business Development Manager

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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com


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