The wearables technology market — which includes smartwatches and fitness trackers — continues to grow, but nagging questions remain: Where and how will these devices be used? Will they live up to the hype that they will transform consumers’ lives? Proponents compare their potential to that of smartphones and tablets, both of which helped usher in a new era of personal computing, while sceptics see narrower opportunities.
We see the health sector as the most promising area for wearables adoption. Several emerging consumer and professional healthcare trends, which dovetail with advances in health technology over the past five years, are driving interest in wearables. And where wearables are most commonly used for fitness-tracking purposes at the moment, they show great potential for widespread adoption in the healthcare sector.
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we examine the use cases for wearables in health, ranging from consumers collecting fitness data to healthcare providers and insurers using wearables to improve health outcomes. We also explore barriers to widespread adoption of wearables in healthcare and how tech giants, including Apple, Google, and Samsung, are developing devices and platforms that will help bridge the gap between fitness tracking and actual medical care.
Here are some key points from the report:
- While adoption levels are growing, the wearables market is still in the early phases of expansion. We estimate global shipments will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.8% over the five years, reaching 162.9 million units in 2020.
- Emerging consumer and professional healthcare trends are driving interest in wearables. For consumers, interest in quantifying personal health metrics is translating into demand for fitness tracking devices and smartwatches. Meanwhile, businesses in a variety of industries have been quick to sense the opportunities for harnessing health data from employees, consumer, and patients to help drive efficiencies and enhance services related to healthcare.
- Barriers remain blocking the widespread adoption of wearables in the healthcare sector. Device accuracy and regulation are two major sticking points for device makers and technologists to address. Concerns surrounding privacy and a lack of utility must also be addressed.
- Consumer-facing products will eventually be used for more advanced medical care. Tech giants, including Apple, Google, and Samsung, are investing significant resources into developing devices that will help bridge the gap between fitness tracking and actual medical care. Future products will serve both consumer and professional markets.
In full, the report:
- Looks at areas of the healthcare sector where wearables may have a tangible impact in years to come.
- Examines what broader trends in healthcare and technology are driving wearables adoption.
- Discusses how major tech players, including Apple, Google, and Samsung plan on transforming consumer wearables into powerful healthcare devices.
- Identifies the top hurdles to wearables adoption in the healthcare sector.
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