Readers going through the tech news may feel as if the technology industry is working round the clock to make people healthier. The reality is it will take a long time to alter people’s habits and integrate new technologies with the healthcare system before the technologies effectively help people to have healthier lives.
There are two categories of wearable – medical and consumer. The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration)’s approval is needed for medical devices. The same is not required for consumer devices. Non-medical devices firms and startups opt for consumer wearable as it is a hassle free process. Few entities would want to wait for two or more years for government approval.
Both Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Apple Watch and Fitbit belong to the consumer wearable category. But they are far from similar devices. Apple Watch is an iPhone accessory and has the capability to do a host of other things beyond monitoring user health. Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT)’s wearable are mainly about monitoring health even though they offer a few products that are capable of other functions such as intimating the users of phone calls or read out text messages.
Apple Watch has failed to live to its expectations and cannot hold a candle to Apple’s iPhone. Moreover the former consumes too much power. It is difficult to see the time on the Apple watch as at certain times the screen is not activated by using hand movement. The devices’ map function is hard to utilize for walking directions. Even though it is the best available smartwatch, there is not sufficient cause to purchase it. The only area it scores is in terms of looks.
Fitbit’s range of products is simple and tracks the user’s physical activities. But with six products launched, its brand is not positioned right. It is not clear whether it focuses more on fitness than fashion. In terms of aesthetics Fitbit range of products falter.
As per data, 39% (4.2 million) of consumers who purchased a Fitbit last year did not utilize it the last three months of the year, Clear one-third of buyers cease using it in under a year or less. Given these statistics, at $8.7 billion Fitbit is grossly overvalued. The company lacks clarity of whether it is a fashion enhancer or health booster.
The genuine change in user behavior will happen when all the generated physical activity data is seamlessly integrated with healthcare systems and the introduction of measurement of inputs such as diet, external atmosphere, mental condition apart from just physical activity.