On Monday, it announced it's unveiling a Watson Health business unit, as well as a Watson Health Cloud platform that incorporates partnerships with Apple (AAPL - Get Report), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Get Report), Medtronic (MDT - Get Report) and others to give people a more complete look at their health.
By partnering with the aforementioned companies, IBM and the Watson Health Cloud (built off its artificially intelligent computing system), will be able to extract better data and feedback from both consumer and professional medical devices alike. Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM noted that as more fitness-related devices become available, the average person will likely wind up generating more than 1 million GB worth of health-related data.
"What this means is we're making a concentrated investment in both people and dollars in a turnkey business, " said Steve Gold CMO Watson Group, VP Partner Programs & VC Investments at IBM in an interview. "The Watson Health Cloud has three critical parts: data mart, the ability to harness the data, and the opportunity to build out actual applications to solve the problems."IBM and Apple are going to expand upon their existing partnership, first announced last year, by bringing cloud services and analytics to HealthKit and ResearchKit, both parts of iOS and the new Apple Watch.
HealthKit allows health-related apps talk to each other, while ResearchKit "makes it easy for researchers and developers to create apps that could revolutionize medical studies, potentially transforming medicine forever," according to Apple.
New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson will work with IBM to create systems based on pre-operative and post-operative care. The pharmaceutical giant may also launch new apps targeting chronic health problems, using Watson's capabilities as part of the partnership.
Medtronic will use the Watson Health Cloud to provide more personalized options for those with diabetes, receiving and analyzing information from insulin pumps, monitoring glucose levels and other diabetes-related treatments.
As part of the announcement, the software and service giant said its IBM Watson Health unit would be headquartered in Boston, while continuing to expand its Watson presence in New York City. The money IBM is spending, including the 2,000 consultants IBM will support as a result of this, is in addition to the $1 billion the company said it would spend on Watson-related investments last year, Gold said.IBM also announced it was acquiring Explorys and Phytel, two healthcare technology companies, to help boost IBM's Big Data and analytics business.
Terms were not disclosed for either acquisition.