Wearable and smart devices continue to enter into mainstream healthcare and are moving beyond just fancy gadgets to devices that will really help us improve health parameters.
Recently I read this report from Verto Analytics, which shows the adoption of fitness trackers in the US. Interestingly Fitbit dominates this space, followed by devices like Samsung S, Google Fit and Nike Run. The average user of the Fitbit, used it for more than 3 hours, per month, showing that many users were active though there were still many devices, lying unused. You can see more details of the report here.
In India the Healthcare wearable fitness tracker market is one of the fastest growing segments and can be a good adjunct to physicians and corporate alike to integrate them into their wellness programs. I see such efforts on from organizations like Cognizant, ICICI Bank and Deloitte where they have incorporated fitness trackers and worked with Nutrition Tracking applications like HealthifyMe to create wellness programs.
But a lot more needs to be done and we are still not leveraging the full potential of smart devices in India.
On this account I am really excited about the Google-Novartis collaboration on the smart contact lenses for monitoring and managing diabetes. India has a large diabetic population and monitoring the condition currently involves painful pin pricks. Now patients might be able to trade that for contact lenses that would have sensors fitted into them. The lenses have LED lights installed that would change color, if the sugar levels increase or decrease beyond limits set and would have the functionality to alert the physician as well. This may be a significant first step in bringing the condition under control in India.
(Image source: HIT Consultant.net)
Interesting Google applied for the patent in 2012 and it seems the patent has been granted, the human testing on these lenses is currently on or just about to start. It would take this product about 5 years to make it to the market, so sit tight and how that the technology works out.
The other smart connected device that interests me is the Smart water bottle. India being a hot country would require, fitness and wellness enthusiasts to remain hydrated. There are many theories to the right amount of water to be consumed but currently, it is said that drinking 8 glasses of water daily are optimal. Water no only cools the system but also flushes out toxins regularly enabling the skin and other organs to function normally. Also Water is essential to our survival but in this highly connected world and working in an Air conditioned environment, we often forget to drink water regularly.
That’s why the smart connected bottle is such a important part of the wellness regime. It contains sensors that keep track of much water has been consumed from the bottle. It uses lights and sounds to remind the user to hydrate.Also it adjusts the water requirements as per the temperature, so encouraging you to drink more water when it is hot and reduce the frequency and intake in cooler temperature. Every 24 hours these devices automatically adjust themselves. The bottle is spill proof and retails from $30-40 in the US. I have not seen this in India, but in the US one can buy it. I am not sure if they ship to India but it might be worth checking it out.
The coming days we would see the launch of many such devices and technologies, But the challenge is still mainstream adoption. I still see physicians and doctors in India leveraging some of this smart tech. I know for example, Manipal Hospital has tied up with HealthifyMe for nutrition tracking and rehabilitation of patients. But these are one off cases and not mainstream. Looking forward to the future I am planning to talk more with doctors and physicians in India to explain the benefits of tech and encourage them to get more into fitness tech that before.