Impact of Wearables on Health & Wellness

Wearable technology has enabled consumers to take control of their own health in ways never imagined. According to research from Business Insider Intelligence, more than 80% of consumers are willing to wear fitness technology. When consumers take control of their health, they can see improvements both physically and mentally.

Types Of Wearables

 

Everyday Devices

Most people own a smartphone and carry it with them every day. Over 50% of millennials carry their smartphone in their hands!

Only 30% of people wear a watch, but it’s accepted and doesn’t stand out.

That’s why companies like Apple focus their health and wellness efforts around smartphones and smartwatches.

Specialized Devices

Specialized wearables create more friction because they aren’t everyday devices.

This technology must be positioned as a revolution, not an evolution.

This can be a marketing challenge for health and wellness devices, unlike medical ones, since they can make limited claims.

 

Use Cases

 

Single-Use Case

Early fitness trackers had limited functionality, so if you wanted to monitor a range of metrics, you had to wear a range of devices.

The difficulty of managing and wearing multiple devices creates friction and can quickly lead to abandonment.

Multiple-Use Cases

Today’s fitness trackers address as many use cases as the form factor and technology permit.

Apple Watch 6 can track 80 exercises, from walking, running, cycling, and swimming to boxing and strength training. It even measures blood oxygen levels and your heart’s electrical signals.

Wearables that are positioned as the heart of an ecosystem are much better off.

 

Battery Life

 

Short Term

The Apple Watch 6 is an incredibly powerful piece of technology that is an everyday device and addresses tons of use cases, but the battery only lasts 18 hours, a fact that has remained unchanged since 2017.

A consumer having to remember to charge the battery every night is perhaps the single greatest obstacle to its success.

Long Term

Some devices have much longer battery lives, which can be a huge advantage. 

For instance, Abbott Labs has a new glucose sport biosensor to help athletes realize their full potential. The battery life of the sensor is 2 weeks, after which it’s swapped out for a new one. Consumers don’t have to worry about power - it’s removed from the equation.

Medical Devices

 

Many wearables have taken the next step in wellness to be FDA-approved devices.

Devices span the range of cardiovascular care (EKG, ECG, heart rate) to respiratory data, glucose levels, and temperature. In fact, medical patches are utilized for continuously monitoring chronically ill patients, soldiers in combat, firemen, pilots, premature babies; there are structural health monitors, soft robotics, prosthetics, etc.

With the rise of telehealth, these devices will play an important role in helping doctors monitor patients.

Moving From the Internet of Things to the Intelligence of Things

 

Past

  • Dashboards such as this one from Fitbit exemplify the Internet of Things.
  • They collect a ton of data and present that data to the consumer.
  • This type of dashboard may not drive a change in behavior.
  • At industry events such as CES and SXSW, dashboards are widely dismissed and used to frame “Generation 1” discussions.

Present

  • Fitness trackers are moving past dashboards and into gamification.
  • Apple is positioning healthcare as one of their main strategic pillars and is investing heavily in it with products like the Apple Watch. Apple’s use of Activity Rings, Activity Sharing, and Competitions are some examples of gamification.
  • Similarly, Apple Fitness+, viewed as a look-a-like/competitor to Peloton, is notably built around software instead of hardware.

Future


The future of health and wellness is based around medical devices whose data informs a Virtual Medical Advisor (VMA).

VMAs will make proactive recommendations around your health. They can give you personalized advice on your fitness regimen and also detect a heart arrhythmia and schedule an appointment with a cardiologist.

Conversational AI will be the primary means of interfacing with a VMA in your home, car, or on the go.  It will be driven by AI and machine learning that leverages data from the user community.

Please contact your account leads or ross.quinn@fcbhealth.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above.