A few years ago, one of my teachers explained this topic of experiential learning to me. The concept stated that through applying your knowledge and conceptual learning to real-life problems you understand and grasp the initial learning much better. This method of learning really resonated with me as I have always enjoyed experimenting, trying new things and learning from life experiences.
Over the past 2 years, that is just what I have been doing. Through my undergraduate studies in Informatics to my studies in MSIS, I have transplanted my learnings from the classroom to my business, CareBand. CareBand is an innovative wearable technology for seniors suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s who are prone to wandering. It provides both caregivers and family members peace of mind and comfort, knowing that their loved ones are safe. Currently, there are about 5.2 million people suffering from Dementia, yet over the next 10 years, due to the baby boomer population, that number is expected to triple. Additionally, over 60% of those with Dementia will wander or get lost during their time with the illness. All of this together creates a big problem for many families looking to provide care for their loved ones.
CareBand was first started after a simple conversation I had with my Dad, who is a geriatric physician and manages over 10,000 patients in Ohio. I was telling him about this exciting new technology that Apple had just released called iBeacons. I explained to him how the technology worked and then asked how it could be applied in the healthcare world. After a short time, he explained the behavioral issue of wandering in people with Dementia and I realized the need and simple solution. From there I relied on my education to guide me in the best direction. Because I was still in school, I decided to try out this experiential learning concept. I quickly found out that this was the best way to stay focused in school and fuel my idea.
Although grad school, has been more time-consuming and challenging than undergrad, it has also been extremely more valuable for me and my company. During the first semester of MSIS, I learned all about the details of what cloud computing is and how it is changing our world. We delved deep into understanding the fundamentals of the innovative technology and learned the technical and business differences between choosing service (iaas, paas, saas) and deployment models (public, private, hybrid). All of these topics, helped me to further develop CareBand and understand the data flow from the device all the way to the backend database. During the second semester, I learned more about managing data through understanding Big Data technologies like Hadoop. I learned about what Hadoop is and why it is important as well as how to use it to store and query unstructured data using Hive and Pig. In the world of the Internet of Things and Wearable technology, unstructured data is the name of the game. Companies like Fitbit, Motiv, Samsung, Qualcomm are all focused on not only gathering and storing data efficiently but being able to make sense out of the data to eventually provide value to the end user. To be relevant in this market, companies like CareBand must understand how to optimize their data warehousing environments and provide valuable insights to users, all of which I have learned through MSIS.
CareBand has come a long way since the first conversation. This past February, CareBand won the Building Entrepreneurs in Software and Technology (BEST) Competition at IU. The BEST competition is for student-led companies who focus their businesses on the internet, software, or technology. It is backed by over 15 of the top entrepreneurs in the state of Indiana including Matt Ferguson of CareerBuilder, Scott Dorsey of ExactTarget and Marty Delaney of ProfilSoft. Winning the BEST Competition is a huge milestone for CareBand as we continue to push forward. Moreover, the MSIS program has provided an outstanding education and platform to build off of for CareBand to become a data-driven, secure and innovative company.
For more information, please go to http://careband.co.