Today, Fitbit, Garmin and Oura are household names in wearable technology. They have become heavily integrated into how people navigate and manage their physical health.
Over the past five years, digital wearables that measure biometric data, provide personalised health insights, monitor sleep analysis and evaluate wellness in real-time have revolutionised the health and fitness space.
We have already seen wearable technology evolve from wristbands to smaller and more fashionable accessories such as the Oura ring, which can easily be mistaken for a wedding band. We can expect to see these gadgets become far more prevalent throughout society in the years and even months.
Here’s what we expect for the future of wearable technology and the impact we predict it will have on our health.
A brief history & bright future ahead
We have witnessed wearable technology advance in leaps and bounds in recent years compared to centuries before. After glasses were invented in the 13th Century, 300 years passed before wearable clocks were invented. Centuries passed again before the hearing aid became available in the 1980s. It wasn’t until 2002 that Bluetooth arrived and opened the door to wireless technology, changing the world forever.
Catapulting us into the age of the wearable in 2009, the early Fitbit model clipped to the user’s clothing and used an internal motion monitor to track steps, calories burned and sleep quality. This was a far cry from the hundreds (maybe thousands) of capabilities today’s models present to users.
Fitbits and other smartwatch models are no longer considered fancy pedometer; and instead, they have transformed into a smartphone that lives on your wrist. Every day people of all ages, genders and backgrounds are using wearables to monitor daily physical activity, tick off personal goals and connect with friends through the application of cross-user activity, which allows users to share and compare progress with others.
The wearables phenomenon has changed users’ attitudes and behaviours towards health and fitness. It has also uncovered an invaluable source of health data.
Health companies, Government sectors and third party organisations worldwide are already investing in this data as these devices also offer opportunities surrounding patient monitoring for doctors and other healthcare professionals.
In late 2021, the Australian Government announced it was investing $10 million in research projects using the latest digital and mobile technology to improve primary health care delivery.
Part of the funding will go towards testing and implementing new applications of existing wearable electronic devices to allow individuals to better manage their health and lifestyles in line with advice from their GP.
This is a testament to the growth potential the health sector sees in the sustainable future of wearable technology.
Know your health like the back of your hand
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, smartwatches were used to measure blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), alerting people with low SpO2, which can be life-threatening and hard to detect. Some wearables also have sensors that can measure blood volume variables and other sensors that provide insight into stress levels and heart pattern anomalies. This technology is also advancing toward monitoring blood pressure which can help detect chronic hypertension, which can cause heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
Adding to this, wearables can help people to better monitor and understand their health by making them aware of their daily calorie intake and time spent resting. A popular feature of the Apple Watch is the activity rings which the user must ‘close’ by completing sufficient physical activity within the day. The rings serve as a visual reminder to keep users active and accountable.
There are some concerns about the data’s implications and the challenges surrounding privacy. With cyber-attacks in Australia at an all-time high, this is an area to watch closely, and users must remain alert to the risks as we move forward.
Wearables and Evolt 360
We are often asked how Evolt 360 complements wearable technology and how the two can provide the best possible health outcomes for users.
To answer this, the Evolt 360 and wearable technology; such as smartwatches and the Oura ring; all serve different purposes yet collectively help the user achieve their desired health and fitness goals. Each complements the other as wearable devices track activity and movement in real-time, whereas the Evolt 360 is slightly different in that it measures the quality of change over time.
Evolt provides users with a benchmark and integrates with wearable technology to track success and progress across the duration of the health or fitness journey. The Evolt 360 is a great starting point and endpoint for users to assess their weight, body mass and physical measurements and all other metrics that wearable technology can’t (yet) tell us.
For businesses, the Evolt 360 ecosystem gives gym owners the ability to re-engage their membership through the power of data and health metrics and this experience is enhanced through the application of wearable technology. While PTs and gym owners cannot access data captured through clients’ wearables, the Evolt 360 and the 40 measurements it takes with each scan give visibility to clients’ overall health and fitness. By harnessing the data captured through scabs, the platform turns information into inspiration to drive new membership sales and boost retention.
Wearable technology fits as comfortably in the future of digital health as it does on the back of our wrists and in the palms of our hands today. There’s no question that machine learning software and tools that analyse data transmitted or collected from wearable medical devices currently drive the industry and will continue to do so in the future.
Together with technology such as the Evolt 360, the health data capabilities of wearables give both individuals and businesses more visibility around their health and fitness.
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