While a smartwatch in itself is far from a medical device, both in terms of intended go-to-market strategy of manufacturers but also sensor capability, there are others ways to catch the attention of the medical community. Accessories and apps are leading the way in this regard.
AliveCor, known for its mobile EKG cases for smartphones, recently announced the KardiaBand, an accessory for Apple Watch that promises medical grade EKG – the first of its kind. There is no price information available yet but the band will probably retail between $99-149. IHS expects that more use-case specific bands and accessories will be introduced for the Apple Watch and other smartwatches within the next three years. Similar to accessories, apps are enabling use-cases for wearables in medical and will increasingly do so with Apple CareKit.
In terms of processing and sensors, smartwatches are essentially mini-smartphones worn on the wrist but innovation in accessories and apps will transform the wearable into a much more versatile product, allowing it to perform tasks not possible on a smartwatch. This will inevitably justify the existence of the smartwatch category since receiving calls and notifications has not.
For questions or inquiries, please contact Roeen Roashan, Roeen.Roashan@ihs.com