IBM has boosted the Watson Health Cloud with new capabilities, adding the Watson Health Cloud for Life Sciences Compliance (WHCLSC) and Watson Care Manager services into the industry-focused cloud. Big Blue also revealed that it has bought software firm StrongLoop.
IBM explained that WHCLSC is designed to help biomedical companies bring new products to the market in a more efficient way.
The system enables the faster deployment of GxP (Good [Anything] Practice) environments, used to ensure that new drugs and medical products are safe and meet their intended use.
WHCLSC achieves this by providing infrastructure and applications that comply with strict GxP regulations.
IBM said that biomedical companies usually take months or longer to procure and validate infrastructure for GxP environments on their own, and claimed that the WHCLSC cloud-based alternative reduces that to a matter of hours.
Watson Care Manager, meanwhile, integrates the capabilities of Watson Health with Apple's ResearchKit and HealthKit healthcare apps to provide medical professionals with the necessary information to manage the personal care of patients beyond the confines of a hospital.
The cloud-based software has been designed to merge clinical and individual data and use the cognitive computing power of Watson to draw insightful information that medical professionals can use to better monitor and counsel patients with complex medical conditions.
IBM said that data can be harvested from connected scales, wearables, sensors and the Apple Watch, which can be combined and subjected to cognitive analysis to help spot health problems earlier.
This data can then be fed into the Watson Health Cloud for analysis against a wealth of other medical data to gain insights into ways to improve future healthcare.
Michael Rhodin, senior vice president of IBM Watson Group, explained that the expansion of the Watson Health Cloud is indicative of IBM's ambitions to provide more industry-specific cloud services and products.
"This newest expansion of the IBM Watson Health Cloud makes it an even more robust and flexible platform for the life sciences and healthcare industries, and explains its rapid adoption among leading organisations in these fields," he said.
Watson's cognitive computing power can be seen in real-world deployments, such as grinding big data in unmanned coffee shops in London.
IBM also announced that it has acquired software firm StrongLoop in a move to expand the reach of the IBM Cloud in the enterprise market.
The software helps developers link enterprise apps to mobile, Internet of Things and web-based applications in the cloud through APIs.
IBM will integrate Node.js capabilities into its own software portfolio, including WebSphere and MobileFirst, in a bid to help customers make better use of large amounts of data and connect back-end systems and processes with enterprise apps in cloud and on-premise infrastructures.
The acquisition also means that Node.js can be used on IBM's Bluemix development platform-as-a-service.
Big Blue claimed that Node.js is the fastest growing development framework for creating APIs, and that integrating StrongLoop's software into its own offerings allows IBM customers to make scalable APIs.
Juan Carlos Soto, chief executive at StrongLoop, said that the acquisition and integration represents the formal entry of Node.js into the mainstream enterprise world.
"As leaders in the Node.js open community, we plan to further advance open, community-driven innovation coupled with global, enterprise class software and services offerings to grow client value in the API economy," he added.
Details of the aquisition were thin on the ground at the time of writing, despite V3's request for more information.
IBM is clearly looking to build out the capabilities of its developer platform, having recently updated Bluemix to extend Java support for cloud applications.
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