Business of Well-being

Leveraging Internet of Things (IoT) to Build Healthier Workforce

The phrase Internet of Things (IoT) - the exponentially growing phenomenon connecting more and more devices to the Internet - is passing the lips of innovators and executives at industries around the world. They huddle around conference room tables and squeak out ideas with markers on white boards in an attempt to leverage the power of IoT.

The time for IoT is now. The gargantuan numbers are worth repeating. Why? Big numbers command attention. According to Gartner, 30 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2021. That's roughly 27.5 billion more than a decade ago.

Here's another big number: obesity adds $190 billion to U.S. medical costs every year, and that's just one of the countless health epidemics paralyzing the nation2. Not surprisingly, IoT has been a natural frontier to explore solutions to better our collective health. As consumers, we're clearly interested. Thousands of devices and apps have flooded the marketplace to help record, track and stimulate our health, and we buy them.

Nielsen reports that one in six consumers now own a wearable device.3 We love them like new toys, but the unfortunate reality, is that we soon abandon them. About a one-third of us lose interest and leave them behind within six months.4 Herein lays the rub.

We have a health problem and we have a potential solution. Using IoT could make us healthier in our lives - and even more productive in our jobs. However, we have a difficulty in wholly investing ourselves.


The answer actually lies in the workplace. When corporate wellness programs encourage healthier practices using gamification techniques and incentivize wearable fitness tracker usage with lower health insurance costs, the workplace will prove to be the setting for significant health improvements in the United States.Gamification increases population engagement, and the effects emerge immediately.

Simple contests have shown a 17 percent improvement in sleep and 11 percent positive adjustment in activity habits in as little as two weeks. Rewards pay off as well. According to health analytics company Welltok, 96 percent of consumers surveyed would engage in healthier behaviors if they received a benefit.5 What might be an even more impressive statistic is the 30 percent who reported lower insurance premiums as their benefit of choice.6


The good news is that corporations have caught on. Tractica found that more than 75 million wearable devices will be deployed in enterprise and industrial environments by 2020, and that corporate wellness programs will drive that growth. Employees get healthier, and their wallets get thicker. Win-win.

However, the companies themselves come out ahead as well.Several health insurance companies are already offering discounts and incentives to employers who encourage workers to use wearable devices to track their activities. That strategy seems to be working.

For example, IT consulting company Appirio reported cutting almost $300,000 in insurance costs because of its wellness program that is heavily integrated with wearable devices. Beyond the bottom line, anyone disagreeing with the notion that a healthier workforce translates to fewer sick days, increased productivity and a more pleasant working environment would be hard-pressed to find. To take it a step further, organizations that initiate these programs end up possessing a goldmine of Big Data.

For example, a Basis PeakTM smartwatch generates about 72,000 data points per user/per day. The average 100-person population generates more than 1 billion data points every 4.5 months. When analyzed properly, that Big Data could not only enable a healthier population, but could also quickly translate to ROI as well as effective management and organizational strategies.

By using analytics to derive insight on these large datasets, companies can drive insight and business benefit. Just imagine the immense knowledge that could be gleaned at your company when every day is "Bring Your Device to Work Day."

About the Author

J. Patrick Bewley is the chairman and CEO of Big Cloud Analytics, a real-time predictive analytics technology company for the Internet of Things (IoT). The company has developed a patent-pending, secure-platform and programmatic methodology that uses wearable devices to drive ROI for enterprises, payers and hospitals. The platform is currently in the global market and is used by Fortune 50 customers domestically.


1. "Gartner Says Personal Words and the Internet of Everything Are Colliding to Create New Markets"; Gartner; Barcelona, Spain; Nov. 11, 2013;; Accessed May 19, 2015.

2. Speights, K.; "10 Flabbergasting Costs of America's Obesity"; The Motley Fool; April 4, 2013;; Accessed May 19, 2015.

3. "Tech Styles: Are Consumers Really Interested in Wearing Tech on Their Sleeves"; Nielsen; March 20, 2014;; Accessed May 19, 2015.

4. "Inside Wearables"; Endeavor Partners; January 2014;; Accessed May 19,2015.

5. "Welltok Survey Finds Consumers Struggle to Find Optimal Health on Their Own"; PRNewswire; Denver; Sept. 16, 2014;; Accessed May 19, 2015.

6. "More than 75 Million Wearable Devices to be Deployed in Enterprise and Industrial Environments by 2020"; Tractica; April 8, 2015;;Accessed May 19, 2015.

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