IBM Watson is pairing its artificial intelligence with the mobile sensing power of Apple’s smartwatch to create an interactive and adaptable health platform based on each individual user.
The app will harnesses Watson’s natural language capabilities to allow CaféWell Concierge to become more personalised over time as the cognitive computer reasons and learns. Users can talk directly to the app to ask questions about health, nutrition, exercise or even IBM’s health benefit details.
There’s also a “Dialog” feature that allows the app to engage a user even when they aren’t directly asking it a question. It can start a conversation or prompt users for information. By pairing it up with sensors within an Apple Watch, the user will have a high powered, highly intelligent wearable.
“Much of the data off of wearables doesn’t go anywhere. No one knows exactly what to do with it,” said Research Director at IDC Health Insights, Cynthia Burghard. “Watson with its cognitive capabilities can do something with all that data and can even pull in its other sources to create a useful service.”
The app aims to create sustainable behavioural change for a user, especially those who are managing a chronic condition. A smart app on a smart watch on one’s wrist may be better at prompting important behaviours that could, ultimately, keep someone healthy and out of the doctor’s office or hospital. It could be as simple and benign as reminding someone to get a flu shot while walking by a retail pharmacy to something as serious as remembering to take a vital medication at a certain time.
“It’s about empowering patients,” said IBM Chief Health Officer, Kyu Rhee. “Doctors only have a few hours with patients in any given year. But, by empowering people with information outside the doctor’s office, we can nudge them right on their wrists towards better behaviours.”
While the CaféWell Concierge app isn’t commercially available on the Apple Watch, it’s available on the mobile web. Welltok will launch the app internally first within IBM and plan on releasing a commercial version of the app next year.