Apple Takes a Bite at the Internet of Things—Where are Insurers?

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3 June 2014
Donald Light
Apple has just announced two new “robust frameworks” for developers that are aimed squarely at two of the hottest sectors in the Internet of Things (IoT): HealthKit and HomeKit (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2014/06/02Apple-Releases-iOS-8-SDK-With-Over-4-000-New-APIs.html). The IoT connects people and non-human things. HealthKit facilitates communication between fitness apps (think fitness bands) and health apps (think doc in a box). HomeKit uses Siri to poll and control household appliances and systems (heating and cooling, lighting, security (and eventually entertainment?). Everyone who saw “Her” and wishes they could achieve a higher level of intimacy with an AI/Machine Learning avatar, can now (according to Apple’s PR) “tell Siri you are “going to bed” and it could dim the lights, lock your doors, close the garage door and set the thermostat.” Apple also announced some initial partners: the Mayo Clinic for HealthKit; and Philips Lighting for HomeKit—both strategically good, and household names (so to speak). What is missing from this announcement is any mention of how health insurers or homeowners insurers could participate in what Apple wants to be a foundational step for connecting networked sensors to data stores, and then using analyses of that data to better price, underwrite, and control losses. The iPhone (and other smart phones) have changed parts of the claims process, and basic communication between consumers/patients and healthcare providers. Apple clearly hopes that HealthKit and HomeKit will begin to do the same for the IoT. Will insurers jump on this wave—or stay on the beach?

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