The activity tracker market is booming as consumers realize that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all path to fitness. HeartBit wanted to go beyond measuring pulse-rate to offer users comprehensive heart monitoring.
HeartBit created a wearable device that captures ECG data, transmits it to the IBM Cloud via a mobile app, where it is stored, analyzed and enriched to enable users to optimize their activity levels.
Targetsgap in the market by giving users unprecedented insight into their heart health
Rapidtime-to-market enabled by IBM Cloud helps HeartBit move fast on opportunities
Easyaccess to global resources and seamless scalability supports company growth
Business challenge story
Working up a sweat safely
For a long and healthy life, it’s vital to get – and stay – fit, but the thin line between working out safely and stressing out your heart isn’t always clear. HeartBit, a Hungarian start-up, saw an opportunity to capitalize on the thriving wearable technology market while providing unprecedented insight into heart health.
Most existing activity trackers only record users’ pulse rate. HeartBit aimed to take real-time heart monitoring to the next level through a wearable electrocardiogram (ECG) device. By measuring electrical signals produced by your heart each time it beats, an ECG can detect signs of arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation and other potential anomalies. Through HeartBit, the company wanted to alert wearers to warning signs immediately and, over the long-term, build ECG profiles of users to help them optimize their approach to exercise.
George Kozmann Jr., CEO of HeartBit, picks up the story: “The road to fitness is different for every person: it can depend on their unique physiology, preferences and the conditions in which they’re exercising. We wanted to tap into a growing enthusiasm for running and other cardio exercise by empowering people to work out safely – achieving their fitness goals while protecting their most important organ.”
To fulfill this vision, HeartBit needed a technology platform capable of processing the 10,000 data points per second it planned to collect and storing them securely. The company also wanted to take advantage of machine learning to enable personalized recommendations. George Kozmann Jr. comments: “We are a start-up with a big vision, so we needed a vendor that could guide us through infrastructure design and support us as we took our solution worldwide.”
Bringing HeartBit to life
HeartBit teamed up with IBM to build the back-end for its pioneering wearable ECG device, hosted on IBM Cloud virtual servers. The company selected IBM Cloud services due to the high level of security, global reach and easy access to a range of artificial intelligence (AI) and development tools.
“In our view, cloud-based AI is the future, and IBM is leading the way,” says George Kozmann Jr. “With IBM, we can take advantage of the latest innovations, confident that security is built into every layer.”
Data gathered by HeartBit devices is transmitted to the IBM Cloud via an app that runs on iOS and Android smartwatches and smartphones, where it is processed within IBM Watson IoT™ Platform. All data is securely stored in IBM data centers, and backed up to IBM Cloud Object Storage.
IBM Watson® Studio offers a growing set of data science tools that the company is utilizing to extract insights from data, and visualize it for users in the form of intuitive reporting and alerts. HeartBit relies on IBM Watson Machine Learning to create, train and deploy self-learning risk analysis algorithms, which assess users’ ECG readings for indications of impending heart events, such as cardiac arrest, stroke and ischemia.
HeartBit enriches the ECG data with a variety of IBM solutions. It uses information from The Weather Company® Data Packages to take external conditions into account when making recommendations about the timing of physical activity. For example, the app could advise a user to postpone a long run when heat and humidity is extremely high.
IBM Watson Personality Insights allows the company to understand customers’ exercise habits and preferences on an individual level, and at scale. HeartBit utilizes these insights to develop customized training plans for users that are most likely to motivate them, and get results. Meanwhile, with IBM Watson Analytics® for Social Media, HeartBit can sift through social media interactions to understand audience sentiment, and adapt its marketing and development strategies in response.
George Kozmann Jr. adds: “The beauty of IBM machine learning capabilities is that every time we learn something new about a customer, we can train our models to adapt, making unmatched personalization possible.”
Making every beat count
By addressing a gap in the marketplace, HeartBit anticipates significant sales within 12 months of launching its new device. The solution will help users keep their cardiac health within the optimal range, so that they can realize fitness goals faster without incurring any harm. It can draw attention to risk factors that signal cardiac events, providing a record of ECG data that can be shared with medical professionals. And for customers with existing health problems, the device could accelerate rehabilitation.
“Powered by IBM technology, HeartBit will help users get fit safely and effectively,” explains George Kozmann Jr. “It meets a wide range of use cases, and we see the potential for many more. We expect to sell tens of thousands of units within year one.”
Working with IBM enables short time-to-market for HeartBit solutions, helping the company move fast on the opportunity ahead of competitors. Through the IBM Cloud, HeartBit gains cost-effective access to an extensive choice of enterprise-class data science tools.
George Kozmann Jr. remarks: “It’s essential that we bring HeartBit to market rapidly and efficiently, and joining forces with IBM is making that happen. As a new brand, it’s a huge benefit that we can align ourselves with the IBM reputation for excellence.”
As sales ramp up, HeartBit can draw on the seamless scalability and international resources of IBM Cloud solutions to drive company growth.
George Kozmann Jr. concludes: “IBM has data centers all over the world, which will provide the ideal support as we put our international growth strategy into action. With IBM Cloud services we can scale easily and economically, removing barriers to expansion so we can turn HeartBit into a big player in the wearable technology market.”
HeartBit created the world’s first wearable device capable of stress electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring. Based in Budapest, Hungary, the company’s development team includes five PhD holders with expertise in body surface mapping, physiological sensors, communications technology and mobile applications, and its executive management team features experienced entrepreneurs.