A reflection of the US and UK markets
Wearable devices are the latest platforms in mobile technology, and have introduced consumers to the benefits of digital health.
American consumers are reportedly more interested in purchasing wearables and smartwatches in 2015 than those from the United Kingdom. The Reuters report by Eric Auchard said that consumers in the UK are more interested in owning the latest smartphones with built-in health monitor sensors, such as the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6. In particular, the Galaxy S6 Edge, according to the device’s specification page on O2, features an S Health application and a heart rate sensor. Some providers even offer this handset along with a free Fitbit Charge wristband.
Although consumers in the UK have apprehensions when it comes to adopting wearables for health pruposes, they have the capabilities to revolutionize the business sector. “Wearables will allow employees to snack on small snippets of information that require simple response actions allowing for real time updates during tasks,” said Telefonica UK mobility expert Alson Edson.
Wearables will continue to revolutionize the world, but digital health will be its main focus, and that is exactly what we will discuss in this post.
Smartwatches and fitness bands offer the same health tracking and monitoring functions, but the former offer mobile features, such as the ability to check email in real-time via its small screen. A 2014 Gartner report revealed that 50% of people they surveyed said the mobile functions of smartwatches were the deciding factor for them when choosing the device over fitness bands. The aforementioned functions usually feature the following:
1. Heart rate monitor
4. Sleep tracker
5. Physical activity tracker
6. Tap with health and fitness apps
7. Food and diet management
8. Calorie count
Top wearables for mhealth
The top wearable manufacturers are also the leading makers of mobile devices worldwide, which include Samsung, Microsoft and Apple. Here are some of the top devices that are currently on the market.
Samsung Gear S – This is a standalone wearable device that has its own SIM slot to perform mobile functions, including making and receiving calls and texts as well as browsing the internet even without the help of a paired handset. The Gear S became popular due to the materials used to make it - the OLED bendable screen, and for being the first standalone smartwatch released by the company.
Fitbit Charge – Unlike the Gear S, the Fitbit Charge is more focused on tracking the user’s sleep levels and pattern, rather than their speed, activities, and distance. The wearable device can last for about 10 days.
Microsoft Band – Although new on the market, this budget-friendly wearable is able to provide the basic health features that users need, including sleep monitoring, pedometer reading, and GPS map tracking. The Microsoft Band is also known for being splash-proof, ideal for outdoor and adventurous users.
What to watch out for?
The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) this year noted that consumer technology will be focused on wearables and digital health that assists people with special health needs. Although not announced at the prestigious event, there are two devices that are predicted will revolutionize the mHealth industry soon:
Embrace band – This technology will be able to assist people with epilepsy. The Embrace band comes with two types of applications that gather vital information about its user. First is the Empatica Mate that calculates the stress level, sleep patterns, and physical activity data of the wearer. Second is the Empatica Alert that detects a seizure attack as it happens. It works by having a family member, friend, or a career wearing another band that receives an alert through a vibration when the patient (who is also wearing another Embrace band) is having an attack.
Google’s smart contact lens – in partnership with pharmaceutical Novartis, the search giant is currently developing a smart contact lens that is able to provide a blood sugar measurement, making it ideal for diabetics. Through a non-invasive procedure, the Google lens measures blood sugar via the user’s tear. The data can be viewed and accessed through its paired smartphone app, along with diet tips for diabetics.
Wearables will continue to adopt various innovations, such as futuristic as holograms, as demand for smarter devices in the office continue to rise. Click here for our winners in the mHealth. What other smart technology do you expect to see on wearable devices in the next 12 months?
About the author:
Lovely Clover is a certified tech blogger since 2009. She has written a myriad of tech topics connected to business, marketing, consumer-owned devices, education and more. Allie is working on following the latest developments on wearables.