The Week in Wearables June 19

Consumer Wearables

Interesting perspective here from watch retailers on smartwatch margins, which reinforces the fact that smartwatches and mechanical fashion watches are two completely animals – different economics, distribution, product lifecycles, value proposition, etc. As mechanical fashion watches take on more “smart” functionality it will be interesting to see how the dynamics shift. Here.

Future Fitbits may try to diagnose and monitor sleep apnea. This will require different sensor hardware than is currently in Fitbit’s, but the more interesting aspect is the diagnostics because it may require FDA clearance if they are making a medical claim. Unlikely they will go down that path, but it remains to be seen how the product is positioned and what exactly it’s doing. Here.

Nokia is officially killing the Withings brand, although most of it’s products will carry on with new versions and updates. Here.

Medical Wearables

New biosensor technology – known as a lab on a chip – that could be used in hand-held or wearable devices to monitor your health and exposure to dangerous bacteria, viruses and pollutants. Here.

Data

Medical wearable devices projected to grow over 26% CAGR through 2027. Here.

IDC says the global wearables market will nearly double by 2021, with over 240M units shipping in that year. Here.

More from IDC, this time VR/AR headsets which are expected to growth at 58% CAGR (off a relatively small base) over the next 5 years. 98% of the unit volume in 2016 was VR headsets. Here.

The Week in Wearables June 5

Consumer Wearables

Apple’s WWDC was big news as always. A few highlights:
– Apple Watch will now connect with gym equipment from most of the top equipment makers. Details are scarce at this point, but this appears to be a one-touch data sharing after a workout is complete. The Watch shares HR and calorie info, the gym equipment shares speed, distance, pace, and other data. Here.
– watchOS4 will support core Bluetooth in the watch, which opens up many different opportunities for the watch to connect directly with Bluetooth enables devices. One example shared by Apple was to connect Dexcom glucose monitors to the watch to display info from the CGM. Here.
– Here’s a good summary of all the wearables-related announcements from Apple this week. Here.

DC Rainmaker did an excellent analysis of the recent wearables study published by Stanford that got a lot of headlines. Among other things, this demonstrates the challenges that even the best research organizations seem to have in testing biometric wearables. Here.

Medical Wearables

Results from an Ericsson survey of over 4,500 people across 5 countries showed interesting results regarding wearables and mHealth from healthcare decision makers: “Although consumer-grade wearables are being widely used for preventative measures, 55 percent of healthcare decision makers from regulatory bodies say these devices are not sufficiently accurate or reliable for diagnosis. In addition, for liability reasons it will be very difficult to rely on patients’ smartphones for connectivity.” Much more data here.

Apple has reportedly hired Sumbul Desai, MD, executive director of the Stanford Medicine’s center for digital health to promote health uses for the Apple Watch. Here.

Another effort at a digital health tricorder. Here.

Samsung’s S-Patch 3 wearable health monitoring system could be nearing availability after FCC filing. Here.

Data

IDC released it’s quarterly data on the wearables market. A few things of interest here:
– Fitbit fell out of 1st place in market share for the first time since IDC started tracking, down to 3rd place after Apple and Xiaomi.
– Samsung doubled their unit shipment volume YOY.
– The “others” category continues to grow in market share, now up to 48% in 1Q17, up from 39% in 1Q16

Note

I’m taking a few days off this week, so The Week in Wearables will too. The newsletter will resume the week of June 19.

The Week in Wearables May 29

Consumer Wearables

Vibrating wearable designed to help people with visual impairments. The current form is bulky, but the function is similar to how the maps function on the Apple Watch will indicate directional change, so you can imagine the form factor rapidly scaling down into something more wearable. Here.

Fitbit released a study showing some of its devices track different stages of sleep accurately. Here.

Hearables continue to gain new capabilities and momentum in the market. Here.

Misfit announced the ability to customize the color, strap style and material on some of products. Misfit has always been ahead of the curve in recognizing that design and personalization are key elements in wearable adoption. Here.

Medical Wearables

Mary Meeker reported, among many other tech trends, that 25% of Americans own a wearable and the healthcare industry is at a “digital inflection point”. Her report is always worth the read. Here.

10 ways the internet of medical things is revolutionizing senior care. Here.

Scientists have found a way to power medical implants by harvesting energy from the human body. If this works, there’s obvious applications to wearables as well. Here.

Researchers at MIT have created biosensor inks that measure the shifts in interstitial fluid in your skin, changing color based on the levels of glucose, sodium, or pH in your body. Here.

Amazon is offering a $125,000 prize for the best use of Alexa to combat diabetes. Here.

Data

IDC’s first quarterly report on VR/AR headsets reported 2.3M units shipped in 1Q17, 98% of which were VR headsets. Samsung lead the way, despite being the only vendor that saw a decline in YOY shipments. Here.

ABI predicts the enterprise wearables market, including smartwatches, smart glasses, and wearable scanners, will exceed $55B by 2022. Here.
One Fun Thing

Wearables are now being used on farm animals. Apparently connected networks of cows, pigs, and chickens exist. Here.