07/29/2016 02:05 pm ET Updated Jul 30, 2017

IBM and the Zika Virus fight - the rising importance of IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) model being applied here by IBM is to leverage the large scale connectivity and computing power to track and analyse the Virus.

IoT is a combination of being able to capture data from specific locations and to be able to analyse and respond in real-time and with better insight and intelligence.

In the case of the IBM initiative to help the fight against Zika virus, this has been on a number of fronts. Initially IBM has been running the "OpenZika" project on the back of its open source World computing grid. This is a large scale open source compute project that is enabling many people to connect and donate their mobile devices to help run software programs to analyse simulation model being led by several research consortia.
The key aim is to speed up the race to find vaccines to fight Zika which currently has no known cure. This requires huge computing model resources that crowd sourced cloud computing resource can be a valuable tool.

The more recent announcement is IBM also using their big data analytics software capabilities to help in the areas of weather pattern analysis, human travel movements and social media commentary to determine how atmospheric conditions and human behavior patterns may be spreading the Zika Virus. This again is an example of an IoT initiative to source different live real-time data sets as daily rainfall, temperatures to human travel all requires sensors in these remote locations to collect this data and to aggregate and move these up into cloud computing data repositories to build up a picture of the situation on the ground.

This is an example of modern computing power and sensor intelligence to conduct translation research from the field into the research labs and hopefully back out as soon as possible to tackle the urgent Zika problem.

The nature of the wide spread problems of viruses need an equally powerful and distributed system of systems to reach, collect and compute answers to the complex multi-faceted challenge.
IoT is the new distributed ecosystem of sensors and things that are the new integrated systems of the future we are seeing in connected health, connected transport, smart cities and lifestyles