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Samsung Simband circuitry
Simband circuitry

Samsung makes push into personal health IT

By Bob Herman
Posted: May 29, 2014 - 12:45 pm ET

Samsung, best known for its high-definition TVs, smartphones and other electronic gadgets, plans to expand its presence in the healthcare sector with new personal wellness technologies while also searching for new healthcare technology partners.

“At a time when healthcare spending is at record levels and when the number of people over the age of 60 worldwide is expected to exceed more than 1.2 billion by 2025, digital health is an incredibly important area for innovation,” said Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of Samsung's device solutions division, in a statement. “We believe this initiative is an essential first step, and we invite developers and partners across the globe to join us in creating the technologies of the future that will help make people's lives healthier.”

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Samsung on Wednesday announced a $50 million investment pool, which will be used to fund what it called “innovative start-ups and technologies in the digital health area.”

The company already has a healthcare division, but it deals exclusively with medical equipment like digital radiography and ultrasound machines.

Moving into the personal healthcare monitoring space, the Korean electronics giant also unveiled its Simband health monitor. Simband is a wearable wristband that can track vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure. Coupled with Simband is SAMI, or the Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions, which is the cloud-based platform that can store the personal wellness data. That data would be controlled only by the individual and would not be sold to third parties, Samsung said.

Neither is for sale, according to the company. Instead, they are open prototypes that are part of Samsung's larger digital health strategy, centered on partnering with other start-ups to create and release technology that monitors individual wellness. In February, Samsung teamed up with University of California at San Francisco, the company's first digital health partnership. Together, Samsung and UCSF will look to build and sell preventive health technologies.

Other company officials were not immediately available for comment.

Follow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman

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