Garmin launches its first smartphone fitness app

By: Chris Gullo | Oct 25, 2011        

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garminThe past year has seen the arrival of a number of new fitness gadgets including Jawbone’s Up, Wellcore’s NewYu, Fitbit’s Ultra, and Basis’ Band. It’s about time that one of the fitness gadget industry’s incumbents answered back. This week Garmin did. It made its first move into the world of mobile fitness apps.

Garmin unveiled its first mobile fitness app, Garmin Fit, for iPhone and Android this week. The $0.99 app works in conjuction with a $49.99 ANT+ wireless adapter to track running, cycling, and heart rate metrics collected via Garmin wearable sensors.

According to Garmin’s website, compatible accessories include its Foot Pod, both the regular and premium heart rate monitor, and speed/cadence bike sensor. Garmin currently only offers the ANT+ adapter for the iPhone, but the Android version of the app will allow users to track time, distance, speed, and calories burned.

The ANT+ adapter plugs into the iPhone and transmits data from wearable sensors via short range wireless. Last June, ABI reported that by 2016 there would be 80 million wearable wireless fitness sensors on the market. In the report, analysts cited the establishment of short-range wireless standards, including ANT+ and Bluetooth, as a key reason for spurred growth.

The workout data collected by Garmin’s app can then be uploaded to the free Garmin Connect online fitness community. The data is aggregated as charts, graphs, reports, and map representations of the route traveled during a workout, gathered via GPS.

“Garmin Fit is the ideal solution for users who are new to the fitness tracking landscape and for those looking to stay totally connected,” stated Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales, in a press release. “To be able to utilize Garmin’s powerful fitness accessories with the same device that plays music, makes calls and uploads workouts automatically to share and analyze, makes Garmin Fit a must have app.”

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Survey: 18 percent of consumers have PHR apps

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 25, 2011        

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Usage Health Tech DevicesAs previous studies have shown, a new survey conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on the big Consumer Electronics Show (CES) each year, has found that 36 percent of consumers are interested in using wireless health technologies to better communicate with their physicians.

The CEA told MobiHealthNews in an email that the study included responses from 1,679 US adults who participated in an online poll. The qualitative portion of the survey included responses from 60 in-depth interviews conducted by the CEA research team.

The CEA included a few other sample metrics in its press release that it gleaned from the study, called The New Role of Technology in Consumer Health and Wellness, more charts and graphs from the report’s executive summary to follow:

  • 33 percent are interested in managing their health records online
  • 32 percent would be willing to consult with a doctor via online video
  • 44 percent of consumers are interested in connected weight scales
  • 40 percent are interested in vital sign monitors
  • 37 percent are interested in devices that track fitness metrics
  • 51 percent have downloaded a nutrition tracker mobile app
  • 36 percent have downloaded a fitness-related workout app
  • 32 percent have downloaded customized music apps for exercise

Next, which type of consumer was most likely to use a health monitoring device? Keep reading>>

Numera offers iOS app for medical device data collection

By: Chris Gullo | Oct 25, 2011        

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numeranetNumera announced this week the launch of a free iOS app, NumeraNET, for uploading health data collected from connected devices to an online portal. The app supports data collected from consumer weight scales, pedometers and blood pressure monitors via an ANT+ gateway, with more device support expected in the future.

Numera recently launched Numera Social, a white-labeled platform for care coordination that is embedded within Facebook or delivered as an iPhone app.

“Mobile devices are a primary way patients communicate everyday, so it’s a natural progression that they’ll use their smartphones as a primary tool in managing their care and wellness on a daily basis,” stated Tim Smokoff, CEO of Numera, in a press release. “We want to eliminate the barriers between consumers and their ‘coaches’ — family, friends, colleagues, and caregivers — to ensure that real-time, accurate health information can be accessed by the broadest population of consumers to enhance overall health and wellness.”

Next year the Palo Alto Medical Foundation plans to work with Numera to test the NumeraNET app with hypertensive patients. Patients in the study will upload data from a weight scale, blood pressure cuff, and monitor activity cuff, and activity monitor to iPhones.

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Wireless vital sign monitoring startup goes to India

By: Chris Gullo | Oct 25, 2011        

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961 Isansys LifeTouchReal-time patient monitoring startup Isansys Lifecare, a UK-based company founded by a former CEO of Toumaz, announced this week the opening of Isansys Lifecare Systems, an India-based venture that aims to capitalize on that country’s emerging healthcare industry. The Bangalore-based company officially formed this past July.

Isansys offers the Lifecare Platform, a web-based vital sign monitoring platform, as well as a peel-and-stick, chest-worn cardiac monitoring device, the LifeTouch HRV011. The company was formed by the ex-CEO of Toumaz and another executive, and launched this January.

In a press release, Isansys CEO Keith Errey stated that “India is a country of great interest and strategic importance to us. With a year-on-year GDP growth of 7 per cent or more, a rapidly growing and increasingly wealthy middle class, and a vastly underserved healthcare market, we see huge opportunities for delivering next-generation healthcare services, and we believe that Isansys is ideally placed to bring the valuable benefits of our unique services to the people of India, both in urban and rural communities.”

Isansys Lifecare Systems appointed Bala Kumar as managing director, whose previous experience includes executive director at Omya Healthcare and regional managing director for a division of Covidien.

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PharmaSecure gets $3.9M from ex-Google CEO

By: Chris Gullo | Oct 24, 2011        

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PharmaSecurePharmaSecure announced this week a $3.9 million investment round led by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors. Other investors included Gray Ghost Ventures, Healthtech Capital and the TEEC Angel Fund. Healthtech Capital lead a $200,000 investment round for PharmaSecure in September.

In a post for MobiHealthNews in May, Healthtech founder Don Ross singled out Eric Schmidt when writing about health tech as the next big VC opportunity, writing that “at the recent J.P. Morgan Annual Healthcare Conference in San Francisco… panelists included Eric Schmidt, Google’s then-CEO, and other technologists not typically associated with health care.”

PharmaSecure uses SMS to verify a prescription drug’s authenticity, using a unique code and phone number printed on a pill bottle’s label. One of the startup’s competitors is Sproxil, which partnered with GlaxoSmithKline in May.

The funds will be used to create new applications in response to a mandate from India’s government that all exported drugs have unique barcodes and serial numbers by July 2012. According to the company, 65 million pharmaceutical packages have been printed in India since the company started operations there in 2009, with 1.5 billion packages expected to be exported over the next year.

Innovation Endeavors’ Dror Berman stated in a press release that “we’ve invested in PharmaSecure because they are executing a game-changing approach to combating counterfeit drugs that holds huge potential for improving the safety and security of pharmaceutical products throughout the world.”

“India is leading the way in the global fight against counterfeit drugs. We are proud to have had a hand in creating applications like SMS authentication that put the power of protection against dangerous medicine literally in people’s hands,” stated PharmaSecure co-founder and CEO Nathan Sigworth in a press release. “We are investing in more applications that can ride on the mandated serialization to increase the reach and distribution of our clients’ products and better health for their consumers. With the tradition of innovation that comes with this investment we expect the regulatory requirements to provide a creative opportunity for us and our clients.”

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GPS shoe for seniors to launch in US this year

By: Chris Gullo | Oct 24, 2011        

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gps_shoe_by_gtx_corpPersonal location services device manufacturer GTX announced that its GPS-enabled shoes, developed for tracking seniors with Alzheimers, will be released later this month in the US. Aetrex Worldwide will sell the shoes, which will retail for $299.

The GPS-enabled shoe received FCC clearance in September. The tracking service will be powered by GTX’s partners Omnilink and the MedicAlert Foundation. Omnilink will offer customer service and the online store that supports sales. MedicAlert will facilitate the 24/7 location-based emergency service that powers the shoes. Caretakers using the system can download an app and be alerted when a senior leaves a designated ‘geo-fenced’ area.Omnilink also powers the Alzheimer Assocation’s Comfort Zone check-in service, which uses Sprint mobile phones to track patients.

Other companies that offer tracking services for people who wander include Lojack and Adiant Solutions. AT&T and its partners have also been developing shoes that aim to prevent falls, the wearables are called “smart slippers.”

“As the GPS Shoe transitions from vision to reality and we approach the launch we are excited and honored to align ourselves with these exceptional companies,” stated Patrick Bertagna, GTX Corp Chairman and CEO in a press release.

“Omnilink has had the privilege of building unique solutions for helping ensure the safety and security of individual’s with Alzheimer’s,” stated Kelly Gay, Omnilink’s President and CEO, in a press release. “We are very excited to now have the GPS shoe available as one of the first human-wearable, location-monitoring device options for this market.”

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