Friday, 12 September 2014

If only Nike+ could connect the dots...

Having finally suffered from the dreaded Fitbit Sweat Rash, I've bought three new straps for my Flex.

Looking at the new straps, I really hadn't realised just how hammered the original two pink straps had become.

Coincidentally, yesterday I got an email from Nike reminding me to replace my running shoes every 300 km. Interestingly, according to Nike+, my current pair have done almost 600 km.

If software was connected to sales, it could offer me a discount.

But, as with so many aspects of the health/fitness wearable industry, there's plenty of data in the system, but few smarts on how to use it effectively.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Apple Watch - a sub-standard health wearable?

Amidst all the hype, there was an interesting take on the Apple Watch from one expert.

Although Apple hasn't revealed full details about HealthKit and how it will integrate with the watch - which won't be out until early 2015 anyhow, Niharika Midha, who covers medical devices for GlobalData called the Apple Watch a "robust offering".

But noted its, "health and fitness trackers are largely dependent on the iPhone's WiFi and Global Positioning System capabilities, which is a considerable drawback in comparison to other vendors.

"For example, the Samsung Gear S has a built-in GPS and can be used to track activities without requiring connection to the handset."

Indeed, GPS seems to be surprising omission, as many sports watches have this feature as standard. It seems unlikely size would be an issue, although the impact on battery life might be.

"At present, the product is not substantially superior to existing devices in terms of health tracking mechanisms," Midha comments, although adding that presumably Apple will make a watch with standalone GPS functions at some point.

Indeed, when it comes to dedicated medical wearable devices, it's not even clear that a watch configuration would be optimal.

"Google's development of smart contact lenses targeted towards monitoring glucose levels in diabetic patients is potentially groundbreaking," he notes. 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Signal, noise and Apple Watch

I'm always interesting in people making predictions, particularly after reading Nate Silver's The Signal and The Noise.

The nicest thing we can say about them is that they're always wrong. Still, we can learn a lot from their mistakes.

Currently I'm pondering the 'news' that Analysys Mason reckons 1 million smart watches will be sold in 2014. That's likely not a terrible prediction. It's a nascent market, with the Pebble still having the largest install base.

However, Analysys Mason reckons 13.6 million smart watches will be sold in 2015.

An oddly precise number, but the uplift is - of course - predicated on the news that the Apple Watch won't be released until "early 2015".

What's interesting about the prediction, however, is that to my mind it assumes that more than 85 percent of smart watches sold in 2015 will be Apple Watches.

(That's assuming growth of 100 percent for the non-Apple devices that no one cares about. Even if they sell 3 million units, Apple takes 78 percent of the market.)

In that sense, then, Analysys Mason isn't predicting the growth of the smart watch market but the growth of the Apple Watch market; a market that currently doesn't exist.