Rock Health Is Bullish On Biosensing Wearables

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Nike’s recent decision to shut down its FuelBand line and exit the activity tracker market has had a cooling effect on the overall wearables market, causing many to conclude that the market is bloated and that its future is grim.

Prior to this shift, the excitement in the booming wearables market was feverish. 2013 kicked off with Jawbone’s massive $100 million acquisition of BodyMedia. Other big names, like Adidas, Reebok, and Withings, were quick to jump on the wearables bandwagon by introducing their own products. Next, iWatch rumors began to surface, suggesting that Apple was also betting big on the future of biosensors and wearables. New activity trackers were hitting the market at a relentless pace, most from new players wanting to cash in on the excitement. By early 2014 skeptics were beginning to call the wearables market oversubscribed and overhyped. The downturn in excitement wasn’t enough to sour BASIS’s $100 million acquisition by Intel, but it was enough to create a gloom and doom outlook on the future of the market at large.

In response to critics, Rock Health today unveiled its newest digital health report, The Future of Biosensing Wearables, in which it rigidly defends the excitement seen in the marketplace. In the report, Rock Health explains that biosensing wearables have grown from the traditional activity trackers to now include smartwatches, smart clothing, connected patches and tattoos, ingestible sensors, and more.

In an ideal world, Rock Health sees three major consumers of biosensing wearables:

  • Payers hoping to drive consumer behavior change and earlier diagnosis of conditions.
  • Providers using the devices to support remote patient monitoring platforms.
  • Pharmaceutical companies interested in using biometric capture to support clinical trials and post-market analysis.

These monetization avenues have not been realized by any of the major players in the market today, and consumers remain the primary focus of sales and marketing efforts. Rock Health attributes this to the fragmented nature of the market. No companies are able to offer an end-to-end platform that delivers on the needs of payers, providers, or big pharma, but, says the report, this will all change. Rock Health predicts that market demand will overcome fragmentation and interoperability will win over, resulting in the kind of data liquidity between devices, apps, and major organizations that has the power to attract new corporate consumers.

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Rock Health points to Apple and Samsung as the hero’s of the wearable market. According to the report, by building a central platform where hardware can integrate with software and the new datasets can be exported and shared, the companies are actually building the much needed core platforms that will overcome data fragmentation and eventually help entice corporate consumers into the wearable tech market.


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