IoT evolution: Microsoft disbands fitness wearable to focus on lifesaving devices

In a number of ways, we’re beginning to see a number of high level changes and a new wave of products that are custom-built for IoT. These are signs of a continued product evolution, improving functionality, and increasing viability in a market that has only just begun its story. Such is the case with Microsoft Corp. which is allegedly discontinuing Band, its line of wearable fitness trackers. The company was expected to release the third iteration of this connected fitness tracker, but according to sources, the third Band will no longer be released. Surprisingly, the Microsoft Health service will continue on in production, though while Microsoft allegedly had plans of bringing Windows 10 onto the band, the team working on it has also reportedly been disbanded. When asked for a comment, a Microsoft representative did not confirm or deny these rumors.

“We continue to invest and innovate in the Microsoft Health platform, which is open to all hardware and apps partners across Windows, iOS, and Android devices. We also continue to sell Microsoft Band 2 and remain deeply committed to supporting our customers and exploring the wearables space.”

New frontiers

Though Microsoft may be discontinuing its efforts in the wearable space, some still see huge opportunity with the use of the fitness band. A new project called myCareCentric Epilepsy utilizes Microsoft Band to record data such as sleep patterns, exercise, heart rate and temperature in the hopes of detecting seizures early for epileptic patients.

The collected data can then be logged along with when seizures occur, as well as patient’s medical records to better paint a picture of the individual’s condition. With use and over time, the project aims to have Microsoft Azure learn or predict when seizures are about to happen and can warn the person before it happens. With the use of the connected band, the project aims to deliver immediate care to patients as it will be able to alert the patient’s doctor, immediate family, or friends.

“Wearable technologies have massive potential to transform the way healthcare is delivered. Coupled with advanced activity tracking algorithms, we are able to now monitor patients on a day to day basis. This will allow clinicians to better assess the effectiveness of medications, and enhance personalised care,” Dr. Christos Efstratiou, head of the University of Kent research team, said. myCareCentric Epilepsy was developed by the Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Kent, Shearwater Systems, and Graphnet Health.

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Machine Learning applied

Microsoft Azure Machine Learning is a powerful cloud based analytics system, which was recently made part of Cortana Intelligence Suite. The fully managed cloud service enables clients to completely integrate predictive analytics capabilities as needed. The myCareCentric Epilepsy project is a textbook unison between IoT and analytics technologies that has potential to improve the long-term healthcare of patients.

Hopefully we’ll see more integrations like this in the enterprise; the potential is just being seen.

Image source: Microsoft

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