Fearsome: Cloud and health


By Amit Ben-Haim, CEO at CloudTag

Arguably the greatest challenge to the take off of cloud computing and cloud-based apps to date has been the trepidation by consumers and businesses alike of entrusting their personal and corporate data to the ‘unknown’ cloud.

The concept of handing over control of data to a third party to be stored on a secure but nonetheless remote data server potentially in another country, if not another continent, was one that has taken some time to get used to. But cloud technology has matured significantly. The fears surrounding security and privacy have to a large degree subsided as users have become assured of its robustness and persuaded by both the advantages it offers and by the myriad of applications now available.

Cloud and its daily influence

The cloud continues to become increasingly entrenched in our lives. We only have to look at how many diverse apps we use on our smartphones to appreciate the speed at which the cloud is starting to influence our everyday lives.  As the Internet of Things (IoT) gains pace (Gartner predicts that IoT devices will increase by a remarkable 30% this year alone), this trend is set to continue.

Indeed, according to research firm Markets and Markets, the cloud storage market is expected to grow from $18.87 billion in 2015 to $65.41 billion by 2020 to accommodate this increasing dependence on the cloud.

Cloud benefits of small data

It is an incredibly exciting time to be working in technology. The scope to invent or invest in an innovative, smart and life-enhancing technology (via an app) is almost unparalleled. One area that looks set for significant growth is the wearables market and in particular fitness and weight loss devices that track heart rate and energy expenditure.

If data from these devices is backed up to the cloud, the advantages for the individual are subtle but significant because the user’s data becomes sharable. Critically, only the owner of the data has the permission to share data and provide access to it. Maybe they wish to share it with their friends and family to gain moral support with their fitness or weight loss goals or perhaps with their personal trainer, physician, clinician or cardiologist. In each case, sharing data brings important benefits, from a simple motivational message to more critical third-party monitoring and professional advice.

Societal benefits of big data

Technology companies can collate small personal data on individual users and store this securely in the cloud, but only the owner of that data can ‘activate’ or share the data. However companies and organisations (including government health bodies,) could view and analyse the same anonymous data and significant benefit to society can be derived from doing this.

To take the same example, data on the fitness of 1,000 anonymous people in an area could be used to find out the concentration of obesity in a city. With a clear idea of the level of obesity, accurate and targeted measures could be introduced by healthcare departments to tackle this issue.

This is one small example, but the possibilities for cloud to play an integral role in facilitating and enhancing our everyday lives are endless. Imagine how beneficial the real time data collation on the functioning of a jet engine or a high speed train, and the analysis of a pilot’s or a train driver’s well being might be to ensuring safer travel.

Cloud technology is clearly the future but rather than being feared is it to be embraced for the multitude of applications and advantages it brings, both to us as individuals and to society as a whole.

CloudTag is a provider of personal monitoring to the health, wellbeing and fitness markets.


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