The growing market of wearable technologies is attracting a lot of interest in the consumer electronics and digital health arenas. Between tech-savvy consumers who want to more accurately monitor their health and rising healthcare costs, the shift to digital health and wearables is a natural outcome. Expertise and creativity could be the difference between a successful product and one collecting dust on a shelf. Here are some important considerations:
Recently people have been talking about the natural evolution of consumer wearables to include “medical grade” wearables and “ther-ables.” This conversation is happening as companies are thinking about how to broaden their markets, differentiate their offerings and improve value propositions. Many of the companies considering the jump to medical grade are currently selling products into the consumer fitness-tracking market. This market is lead by companies like Fitbit (2015, $1.8B revenue, 21.4M units sold) and players in the space are beginning view healthcare as an attractive adjacent market.
Stratos President Sean MacLeod is challenging Seattle – it’s time to disrupt healthcare’s status quo. In his TEDxTacoma talk entitled “Wearable Devices, Seattle Poised to Disrupt Healthcare,” he noted that, while the potential for wearable health devices is really exciting, at this point they’re a failure.
Stories about how wearable electronics will change our lives appear daily in both industry and mass media. Designers are continually inspired to find solutions for our health, our pets, and even our sexuality.
However, at this point, the only true wearable technology that has seen universal adoption is the smart phone.