Prediction: Smartwatch adoption will approach fitness tracker adoption by end of 2016

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 27, 2015        

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The NPD Group is predicting that 9 percent of American adults will own a smartwatch by the fourth quarter of 2016. Around 21 million Americans will own smartwatches at that point, NPD predicts, while 32 million will own dedicated activity trackers.

NPD Group tracker:smartwatchBut the firm projects that activity tracker adoption will peak at 32 million, while smartwatch adoption will continue to grow, potentially eclipsing activity trackers over the next few years.

“The smartwatch will clearly begin to take a bite out of the activity tracker market moving forward,” Eddie Hold, vice president of NPD’s Connected Intelligence group, said in statement. “The fact that the health and fitness apps on smartwatches are a key marketing focus will help draw consumers away from the simpler trackers.”

NPD Group points out that activity trackers have a problem with stickiness, as 40 percent of activity tracker owners stop using the device within six months. Smartwatches, on the other hand, give consumers a lot of reasons to wear them beyond health and fitness applications, and may be more likely to garner continuous use.

Not all activity trackers will meet the same fate though, Hold said. Those that target dedicated athletes might fare better than those aimed at the general populous.

“The good news for activity trackers is that we are seeing a clear opportunity at the more sports-focused end of the landscape,” he said. “There is demand for a more sophisticated class of activity tracker that supports GPS and heart rate monitoring, while also being a little more rugged and waterproof. And while we see the simpler fitness trackers potentially hitting a wall, these advanced devices will continue to drive adoption.”

The fate of the smartwatch, on the other hand, will depend on the quality of the health and fitness apps available for devices like the Apple Watch.

“While all of these new products will definitely help drive demand, the real test will be the apps for the smartwatches,” Hold said. “There will definitely be a demand for these devices and the use-case will follow, but smartwatch manufacturers and app developers need to make these products become ‘need to haves’ rather than ‘nice to haves’.”

Last week, ON World made a similar prediction about the dedicated activity tracker and smartwatch markets. ON World predicts that in five years, general purpose smartwatches with fitness apps, such as the Apple Watch, will make up more than 70 percent of the smartwatch market, as supposed to last year, when half of the smartwatch market was made up of dedicated sports devices.


Rock Health invests in video visits, smart scheduling, health-sensing jewelry

By: Aditi Pai | Apr 27, 2015        

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CaedenSeed fund Rock Health has invested in three new companies: telepsychiatry service 1DocWay, provider analytics company Arsenal Health, and wearable technology maker Caeden.

While the investment amounts were not disclosed, Managing Director Halle Tecco told MobiHealthNews the fund allows them to invest up to $250,000 in a startup.

Rock Health first launched as an accelerator, but in the last year, they pivoted and are now a seed fund. Still, the types of digital health startups that they focus on has remained similar.

“We continue to have a pretty broad view of digital health and we are excited about investing across the digital health spectrum from enterprise to consumer — that’s really remained the same,” Tecco said. “…When we started Rock Health, most of the stuff we were doing was really early idea stage, and now many of the companies — actually the three companies that we just announced on the east coast — they all had revenue. They all figured out their business model and we’re coming in at a stage to really help commercialize and help get them to the next level.” Keep reading>>

Apple Watch already has 264 health apps, unused pulse ox functionality, and a hospital pilot

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 27, 2015        

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Mayo Clinic Synthesis

Mayo Clinic’s Apple Watch app for doctors

As the Apple Watch begins to find its way into the hands of consumers, it’s also becoming clearer that there’s a lot of interest in the health features of the device. On April 24th, the day the Apple Watch began shipping, MobiHealthNews found 264 Apple Watch apps related to health or fitness in the Apple AppStore, including apps from Humana, Cerner, the Mayo Clinic, athenahealth, and Walgreens, to name just a few.

Although a majority were fitness and workout apps, we found 13 apps related to medication adherence, 15 apps specifically for doctors or patients, 12 hydration tracking apps, and 13 apps for tracking fertility and/or pregnancy. And that was just on day one.

We’re also learning more about the sensors in the device. The big (and often misinterpreted) news about Apple Watch’s health features is that they were not what they could have been. The Wall Street Journal broke the story that Apple initially planned a much more ambitious health device, but concerns around accuracy and regulation stymied those plans.  Keep reading>>

Fitness tracking devices still outsell smartwatches, but that could change soon

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 23, 2015        

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Apple Watch Sport sensorssA survey of more than 1,000 consumers from ON World showed that fitness is the most important application for wearable users. More than half of likely wearable device owners would use their devices, either activity tracking devices or smartwatches, for fitness.

The mobile sensing sports and fitness part of the connected mobile sensor market will have $10.5 billion in annual revenues this year — three times what it made in 2014. By the end of 2019, ON World predicts, over 1 billion mobile sensing devices that support sports and fitness will have been shipped worldwide.

“Over $1 billion in venture funding, more than 600 products and expanding offerings from the mobile/IT industry promises to make 2015 the year of mobile sensing,” Mareca Hatler, ON World’s research director, said in statement. “With standards-based mobile sensing solutions becoming widespread due to the popularity of activity trackers and smartwatches, the market for mobile sensing devices supporting fitness apps will more than triple this year.” Keep reading>>

EyeNetra launches in-person, optometry house visits in NYC

By: Aditi Pai | Apr 23, 2015        

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Blink EyeNetraSomerville, Massachusetts-based eye diagnostic tool maker EyeNetra has launched a new service called Blink, which brings eye tests to the patient, in New York City. Blink emphasizes that the appointments are only for users who need to be tested for glasses, not eye health.

Blink is using EyeNetra technology, which includes a smartphone peripheral they developed, called Netra-G, that measures nearsightedness, farsightedness, age related blurriness, pupillary distance, and astigmatism.

Users can schedule an optometry appointment 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Then, a “visioneer” will visit the patient at their home or work to oversee the test. The tools include software running on a smartphone, which Blink explains is the “eyes and brains” of the test and the Netra, which measures the optical power of the user’s eyes. Blink said it takes 20 minutes to complete the test, which will measure the user’s visual acuity, refractive error, and pupillary distance (PD).  Keep reading>>

Remote monitoring pilots may drop hospitalizations, but what happens when the program ends?

By: Jonah Comstock | Apr 23, 2015        

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Partners HealthCare Center for Connected Health's 2010 Progress Report, Forward CurrentsA retrospective matched-pair cohort study of 348 patients in Partners HealthCare’s Boston-area hospitals shows that remote monitoring in congestive heart failure patients can reduce 120-day hospitalizations and mortality. Interestingly, while the reduction in mortality held beyond the 120 days of the study, the hospitalizations for the monitoring cohort actually went up after the monitoring stopped.

In the study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Partners used EHR data to match 174 control patients with 174 patients enrolled in the Connected Cardiac Care Program, or CCCP, based on age and gender. Participants in the four-month CCCP used connected devices to monitor relevant physiologic parameters like blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and blood oxygen saturation, and answered questions about heart failure-related symptoms on a touch-screen computer each day. Information was then sent to nurses, who monitored the data and reached out to patients in the case of unusual readings. Patients also received biweekly educational sessions by phone on topics like diet, exercise, and proper monitoring. Keep reading>>