Tracking our fitness and wellbeing with wearables: What’s in it for you?
Do you remember the days in the early 2000s when lots of people wore colourful wristbands to show their support for various initiatives like the Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong campaign? Some years later, wristbands were seen everywhere, this time containing iconic power and supporting the wellbeing of their owners. Today there is another class of such wristbands, just to name a few: UP by Jawbone, Nike FuelBand and Fitbit, with spending on the devices, nearly doubling in 2015 from 2014, according to the NPD Group.
In the past, these wristbands disappeared as soon as they showed up, just like any other fashion trend. But it seems, this time, the short-term trend has changed into something substantial that could bring a lot of fun, usability and comfort for the user while also providing a lucrative revenue stream for the manufacturer and associated industries.
In 2015, wearable devices, including smartwatches and fitness trackers — saw an increase of 57.7 percent over 2014 in the US, and this growth will continue in 2016, with 81.7 million adults using wearables by 2018, eMarketer, the research firm predicts.
What’s in it for you?
With fitness bands, you can control your daily activities: what does your day look like and how much rest did you get at night? They can track your exercise routines, eating habits and even help you develop personal diet plans to fit your lifestyle. I personally use my band or rather the app that comes with it, to connect me to my training partners’ apps. This enables me to see their activities and compare my own results to theirs. We can easily schedule our training sessions together – sometimes through competitions that force us to be more active. Since I started using it, I’ve actually kept to the ambitions I’ve set. It motivates me and supports me to change my habits to make me healthier, like taking the stairs over the lift.
What’s in it for fitness providers?
People like me, who share their training sessions on social networks, are a great target for fitness companies. With the data collected through the fitness bands, they can create tailored offers for target users, at times when they’ll be more receptive to offers, or provide dedicated goods like new shoes after running a certain number of kilometres. These can bring additional revenues from consumers that may previously have been a very difficult target to reach.
What’s in it for hospitals?
The medical industry can benefit from the information collected through fitness bands by predicting and preventing illnesses. They can see their patient’s activity and access information on their heart rate, which they would otherwise have had to collect themselves. Diagnoses could be identified more quickly because the examination can be more efficient. There is often great pressure on medical equipment which could be relieved if specific data was available up front. For health staff, it’s easier to find out details about their patients and in emergency situations, there are even functions in apps that allow the user to provide the key insurance data on a locked phone. This could save valuable time and therefore lives.
What’s in it for insurers?
The benefits to insurers are twofold: on the one hand, they could optimise their premiums, give rebates or create special offers depending on the type of sport the user was taking part in, to strengthen their membership. On the other hand, the treatment times for people who bring in their own set of data records would be reduced and as such, insurers’ costs could be cut down.
Lots of stakeholders can benefit from these wearables and the greatest advantages will be realised by users who ideally live a healthy lifestyle. But the prerequisite for all these benefits is ensuring data security and trustworthiness of providers. If both are covered sufficiently, there is more to be gained for all involved parties. It is now crucial that these advantages are used and that fitness wristbands are not treated as a mere fashion trend that will disappear soon. Instead, it should expand to smart clothes or other wearable devices that can improve the health and wellbeing of individuals.
The potential for wristbands in the B2B market is huge and my colleagues will be exploring some use cases in future posts. In the next blog of the series, Hendrik Hodam will give insight into some of the payment possibilities using wearable technology.