'Big health' on the horizon

Big data is already being used to track consumer trends and support national security - but it is also finding innovative applications in the healthcare industry. 

Analysts are pointing to the potential value of a partnership between the manufacturers of personal fitness tracking devices and health insurance providers. Insurance providers could collect the information gathered by these devices and then use it to provide consumers with personalized health advice, Gadget magazine explained. 

As the use of fitness trackers becomes more widespread, "big health," as the experts are calling it, could be put into practice soon. Currently, Fitbit dominates the U.S. market, selling one third of all activity trackers, according to the source.

And the increasing sophistication of cloud computing is helping to provide the digital architecture needed to support such a partnership. Gadget cited the "wellness tracking platform" launched by Microsoft in 2014 as a model for future systems. 

GPS-manufacturer Garmin is also getting in on the big health game. The company, which sells a line of wearable fitness trackers, recently announced a partnership with biotech startup LifeQ to create a "connected health solution," Ventureburn detailed. The solution is anticipated to involve the provision of personal health data to insurers. 

The Trevi Group