The Week in Wearables April 24

Consumer Wearables

Wearable start-up Whoop announced an agreement with the NFL players association. Interesting for a couple reasons: 1) The deal is with the players, not with the league, which some see as a way to at least partially level the playing field for players against teams collecting massive amounts of data about them, and 2) the deal allows players to independently monetize their data. Here.

Fitbit had a rough beginning of the week with reports of a Fitbit device that “exploded” on a woman’s wrist causing 2nd-degree burns. However, by Friday Fitbit had investigated and disputed the claims, indicating “external forces caused damage to the device”. No indication what those “external forces” were, but Fitbit must have found some very conclusive information to quickly and decisively dispute the claims. Here.

TechCrunch makes some interesting points about the challenges Android Wear is having in differentiation across hardware platforms and the increasing number of wearables makers building their own OS – Garmin, Samsung, Swatch, Ticwear, etc. Here.

Putting the Apple Watch’s progress in perspective – “These two facts are both true: Apple Watch sales are a rounding error compared to the iPhone, and Apple Watch is a smash hit compared to traditional watches and other wearable devices.” Here.

Click-bait headline, but some valid points about the next generation of wearables. Here.

Medical Wearables

Boston Children’s Hospital has developed the first health skill for Amazon Alexa-enabled devices and is putting the devices in ICU rooms. Patient-specific data is not available through the service because it’s not yet HIPAA-compliant, but AWS has HIPAA-compliant data centers, so likely headed in that direction. Here.

Wearable tech used for concussion detection, interestingly in the mouth guard, not the football helmet. Here.

Good overview of digital health progress in the UK. Here.

Microsoft announced a partnership that will create “B2B commercial grade wearable” and it will run on Windows 10 IoT Core. Here.

Data

2016 saw $6.2B invested in IoT start-ups, up from $4.2B in 2015, according to Silicon Valley VC firm Wing. There was a noticeable increase in mid-sized rounds between $5 million and $30 million, indicating follow-on rounds for these companies. Good to see investment in health wearables that are more specialized and insightful – tracking sleep, mitigating asthma, etc. Here.

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