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Trending in 2017

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Recently, I spoke at an event organized by IDnext. A variety of speakers were pitching about their companies and informing the audience about their expertise. I noticed critical questions coming from the audience, especially during my pitch. The combination of big data and privacy still raises questions with a lot of people.
With the end of the year approaching, I would like to tell you about what I think will be trending in 2017: health data.

Health

Everybody knows we were not made to be sitting behind a desk, which is the way most of us spend the hours between 9 and 5. This causes several lifestyle diseases. However, the number of people that become aware of their health is rising. Just as achieving a healthy lifestyle is an essential part of our lives nowadays, so are our smartphones. We install apps to be active on social media, chat with our friends, track our walks and count our calories. Our phones can easily collect all kinds of data: our habits, preferences, gender or lifestyle.

The numbers tell the tale
The latest generation of smartphones allows us to have what used to be advanced medical technology in our pockets. A heart rate monitor in our watch, or blood pressure monitors that are available to everyone, for example.

Saving you doctor’s visits
My prediction is that in 2017, a revolution in health data will take place. Why bother visiting the doctor if your smartphone knows you’ll be feeling off before you even realise yourself? My car tracks my driving style and tells me what it needs. Sometimes it needs new oil, but the air filter is still OK, so there’s no need to change both. Changing everything is too pragmatic. Now more than ever, it’s all about the individual.

What will it be like?
Imagine having a sensor in your lavatory bowl that measures your output. Because of the smartphone in your pocket, your smart toilet will know it’s you. To track your calories, all you need to do is tell Lifesum what you’ve eaten. In the evening, you’re going for a run that is tracked by Runkeeper. Without knowing it, you’ve developed an intolerance for peanut butter. All you know is that you’re feeling a bit weaker during your workouts. My prediction is that before you’ll become ill, your doctor will send you an email telling you to quit eating peanut butter. If your heart rate does not improve during your runs, he will personally invite you for an examination. Imagine the amount of time, money and lives we can save. We go to the doctor because we’re having symptoms, but then it’s already too late. Thanks to smart algorithms, we will be able to intervene sooner.

2018
2018 is inevitable. Whatever happens, that year will arrive. But the question is: will my prediction prove right? Will big data and algorithms have improved our quality of life and unburdened that part of health care?

Eduard Nandelall