Cognitive Capabilities Will Be Critical for Healthcare Space
The difference between the human mind and a cognitive computing system is that the latter can "think" at enormous scale.

In 2013, 153 billion GB of healthcare data was collected by devices. In 2020, that number will climb to a whopping 2.3 trillion GB.

But it’s not the data that’s important, it’s the analysis, says Chris Pratt who works with strategic initiatives at IBM Canada.

Speaking at the iTech Vancouver conference, Pratt talked about how the next wave in cloud and cognitive will focus on deriving value from data. Having the data is not the only step — it’s about mining it for insights.


Enter: IBM Watson.

When IBM Watson debuted in 2011 and won global attention for beating Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings on the game show Jeopardy, much of the hubbub focused on IBM Watson’s ability to accurately answer questions, quickly.

At the time, IBM Watson had one API. Fast forward five years and it now has more than 50, Pratt says. Leveraging external APIs is a fundamental step now for any business wants to extract value out of its data.

According to a 2016 survey by Accenture, 70% of corporate executives are planning to significantly increase their investments in AI-related technologies compared with two years ago, and 55% are planning to use machine learning and embedded AI solutions extensively.

The healthcare space in particular is ripe with opportunity for data insight-mining. Pratt says the average person is likely to generate more than one million gigabytes of health-related data in a lifetime. That is the equivalent of 300 million books, according to IBM Watson Health.

Pratt says being able to analyze that data is critical to innovation. “Can we afford a health care system that is not augmented [with cognitive technologies]? The answer is no,” he said.

Want to get started with cognitive technologies? Here are the three key ingredients:

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