This new generation of wearable devices goes far beyond how many steps you have taken or how long you slept. What sets this new class of wearable devices and trackers apart is that they now include things like heart rate monitors, GPS and other trackers that measure things like perspiration and even breathing.
Now, manufacturers like Samsung are even taking the steps to make these trackers (some even built in to the phones themselves) available to developers. This opens interesting new opportunities for health and wellness marketers to connect customers with the products and services that will help them the most.
Now you can leverage a much more personal set of data for building apps or even targeting ads. Consider the following examples:
Want to get healthier just by shopping for groceries? Now when you go to the grocery store, you can use your store app to get coupons and discounts on the products on your shopping list – with a new twist. You want a coupon for candy bars? Walk 500 steps in the store at an elevated heart-rate. If the app leverages beacon technology, the app can actually direct you around the store, routing you past key promotional items that you may be interested in.
Want to get a better running shoe? Launch your Nike, Adidas, Puma (insert your favorite shoe company here) app and follow the prompts to run 20 minutes at your target heart rate. The app will import the step, activity, distance and heart rate data — and analyze it to determine your length of stride, gait, and whether you run heel-toe, or toe-heel. It can then tell you which running shoe you should get, and give you tips to improve your running.
Shopping for a new mattress? Connect your smartphone or wearable 2.0 to the in store app and import your data for a proper analysis of your sleep patterns. Since your phone tracks ambient temperature and humidity when you sleep, the app can combine the data with your sleep patterns and heart-rate throughout an average sleep night to help you understand what’s right for you. From what type of mattress, sheets, pillow, even pajamas that you should use to get the best night’s sleep.
But those are app based examples for specific brands. Can this be applied to Web sites and media units? Why not? Google Chrome asks for access to your location data when it does web searches, why couldn’t it ask for access to your heart-rate monitor and fitness information. The potential is almost unlimited.
Surf ESPN.com on your mobile device for the latest golf scores and you soon may see a banner unit that asks you if you have experienced a set of symptoms that you normally ignore – fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain. These are signs of a common hearth rhythm disorder called Atrial Fibrillation (coincidently, if you do have these symptoms, please go see a doctor. Like now.)
experienced a few of these symptoms last weekend while you were golfing, and always seem to be out of breath when walking from meeting to meeting, you decide to click on the banner for more info. But
this banner is different, instead of a giant “CLICK HERE” button, it simply says “Analyze your Heart Rate.”
After giving permission to access your data, the banner expands and displays your current heart rate and beat pattern, as well as analyzes your heart rate history. Detecting some frequent anomalies, the banner suggests “You may want to have your physician or a cardiologist take a closer look,” and gives you a link to get more information on the condition.
Now, I am not suggesting that a mobile banner unit is going to diagnose you for any condition (that’s a couple of years away), but it can certainly screen you and provide a suggested course of action for you. But what about that permission to access health data? What if that permission extended to device history when browsing? How many lives might be saved by delivering an online experience based on the frequency of an abnormally elevated heart-rate when walking at a normal pace or when climbing a flight of stairs?
Wearables 2.0 is ushering in a brave new world of open data that is allowing both marketers and consumers to better utilize personal health data, like heart-rate, to save lives or simply improve quality of life by providing relevance and meaning to the collected bits and bytes.