55pc plan on using wearables to improve their health: report
May 13, 2014
Wearables are projected to become more mainstream
A study by mobile engagement provider Mobiquity Inc. has found that 55 percent of today’s mobile health application users plan to introduce wearable devices to their health monitoring over the next few years.
Specifically, more than half said they will use pedometers, with 48 percent interested in wristbands and 45 percent favoring smart watches. A total of 63 percent surveyed said they will use wearable devices on a daily basis, and 73 percent of respondents attributed their good health to tracking nutrition and fitness goals on mobile.
“For health and fitness brands, now is the time to get serious about the mobile opportunity presented in the app and wearables market,” said Scott Snyder, Ph.D., president and chief strategy officer of Mobiquity, Wellesley, MA.
“When thinking about design and user experience, it’s essential to focus on how the mobile solution becomes indispensable to the user both in form and function, such as providing information about consumer’s health and fitness progress and clearly translating these insights into practical ways to use the mobile app/device to achieve positive behavior change,” he said.
“Our research showed that one in three people stop using health and fitness apps – their top-cited reasons include, ‘I forget,’ ‘it takes too much time’ and ‘it’s too hard.’
Driving healthier lifestyles
For the “Get Mobile, Get Healthy: the Appification of Health & Fitness” report, Mobiquity commissioned a survey of 1,000 mobile health users.
The feedback reveals the opportunity for healthcare professionals and organizations to leverage mobile to drive positive behavior change and healthier patient outcomes.
Accordingly, 34 percent of mobile health and fitness app users said they would increase their use of apps if their doctors actively recommended it.
The research also finds that 70 percent of individuals are using mobile apps daily to monitor calorie intake and physical activities, and 69 percent believe using mobile technology to track their health and fitness is actually more important than using their smartphone for social networking or mobile shopping.
IMS research estimates that the wearable technology market will reach $6 billion in revenue by 2016, as consumers become more interested in seeking more data on personal health and fitness.
"Get Mobile, Get Healthy" infographics
During a workout, wearables can track speed, distance, calories burned and monitor heart rate to maximize exercises.
These devices allow users to track their progress in real-time and provide an integrated approach to collecting fitness data. Aside from the typical consumer, coaches and medical professionals can also use feedback from wearables to develop improved and personalized workouts or make improvements in accuracy and efficiency for surgical operations, remote paramedic guidance and wireless patient monitoring.
The impact and potential applications of these technologies are still broad and just beginning to be explored.
For instance, Philips Healthcare released a demo of how Google Glass could make its mark in the operating theatre, with patient records and information readily available both prior to and during surgery. Doctors and surgeons need only need to glance upwards to see a patient’s statistics and information instead of moving away to a screen and using a keyboard and mouse.
Procedure implementing Google Glass
Moreover, in the 2012 Major League Soccer All-star game, players were fitted with the Adidas miCoach Elite system and television viewers were allowed to see players’ real-time fitness levels. For athletic companies, fitness tracking technologies are another way to interact with consumers, ultimately leading to better utilization of products and building customer loyalty.
Adidas miCoach used at the 2012 MLS All-Star game
Currently, wearables face issues of short battery life, non-intuitive navigation and tethered connectivity – plus, they are not yet aesthetically cool. For example, Google Glass is not mainstream because for many people who are not required to wear glasses, the current form factor is awkward.
In order for the wearable trend to take hold, these devices need to blend with everyday apparel or accessories, or be designed into something consumers want to wear. In addition, brands will need to tread carefully when it comes to health information that might be sensitive, knowing that privacy could become an issue.
The end of Nike's Fuelband is a recent example of a large brand pulling out of hardware, possibly to focus on leveraging the consumer insights and data with another wearable company.
The Fuelband failed to become a multi-purpose lifestyle tool
Overall, consumers expect information about their health journey to be not only accessible and actionable, but also immediate and personalized. The universality of health information has caused a lifestyle shift where people desire insights and resources at their fingertips, and the industry must be ready to deliver on this emerging demand.
“As wearable technology grows in popularity, the brands who will win are the ones that are mindful of consumers’ expectations for design and user friendliness,” Mr. Snyder said.
“Enabling consumers to control what health data to share and with whom to share it will help overcome barriers to widespread adoption amongst consumers,” he said
“Lastly, brands will need to decide if they want to be in the hardware business or just leverage their knowledge of the consumer to partner with other wearable manufacturers to deliver the experience consumers want.”
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York
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