Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

BlackBerry to launch IoT health service in India: report

Iain Morris
July 9, 2014
Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry is due to launch an Internet of Things (IoT) healthcare service in India that will connect thousands of medical devices and allow healthcare providers to detect illnesses at an early stage, reports India’s Economic Times newspaper.

The company is reportedly planning to launch the service in partnership with US-based healthcare technology player NantHealth (Culver City, CA, USA), which received funding support from BlackBerry (Waterloo, Canada) in April this year.

NantHealth describes itself as a cloud-based medical IT provider, and its platform is currently used by approximately 250 hospitals worldwide, connecting some 16,000 medical devices gathering three billion vital signs annually.

“Work has started on it but we haven’t finalized an official launch date,” said Sunil Lalvani, BlackBerry India’s managing director, as quoted by the Economic Times. “We are running trials with multiple hospitals in India.”

“It includes integration with different hospital information systems as well as various medical equipment,” he is said to have added.

The report cites data from brokerage firm Equentis Capital indicating that healthcare providers in India are expected to spend some $1.08 billion on IT products and services in 2014, 4% more than in 2013.

BlackBerry acquired a minority stake in NantHealth in April with a view to bolstering its activities in the connected health market.

The smartphone maker’s QNX technology is already established as a real-time embedded operating system for monitoring devices in hospitals and homecare environments, and BlackBerry hopes to combine this with NantHealth’s Clinical Operating System (COS) to develop new services.

The companies say they can meld secure cloud-based and supercomputing services to provide data integration, decision support and analytics, using BlackBerry’s messaging system to connect healthcare providers, field service workers and patients.

“The future of BlackBerry lies in creative opportunities like this that take our many core disciplines and combine them in ways no one else can match,” said John Chen, BlackBerry’s chief executive, at the time of acquiring the interest in NantHealth. “Healthcare is one of the key industries in which we have unique advantages and this investment reflects our commitment to maximize our opportunities there.”
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