The Internet of Things could save the UK billions in future healthcare costs, according to the managing director of Altium Capital.

The nation is struggling with an obesity epidemic as diets worsen and people lead increasingly sedentary lifestyles.

The Budget earlier this year earmarked funds for additional equipment in schools while the headline-grabbing announcement was the “sugar tax” on junk food.

Altium MD Adrian Reed told a BusinessCloud IoT roundtable that use of technology would be a better bet for easing the strain on our creaking National Health Service.

“What would almost certainly be better than giving pupils running fields and footballs, and the sugar tax, would be if they gave them a connected device and used the data to conduct cohort analysis,” he said.

“There is scientific proof that different metabolisms work in different ways: there are certain people for which high intensity training has a far greater effect, for example.

“If you took all the pupils in a particular group and administered genetic testing and gave them wearable devices with tailored health plans you could probably save the country hundreds of billions of pounds worth of future health costs.

“But there are so many difficulties and pitfalls: there are issues around data protection while the analysis might tell you things you don’t want to know and raise moral questions as they could prevent the children from getting life insurance and health insurance in the future.”

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Steve Strickland-Wright

 

Steve Strickland-Wright (pictured speaking above), CTO at software company Cake Solutions, said the efforts of private companies could help with advising the nation on healthy lifestyles.

“IBM have this division called Watson which looks at big data and artificial intelligence,” he said.

“It is working with Under Armour – they have used information about where people are running, the weather, their age, their gender, their diet.

“They can now say, based on a hundred-and-something million people, you have a better chance of losing weight if you eat more cauliflower, [for example].”