Why are wearables not better targeted toward the people who might need them the most?
Analysis of the J.C. Herz article at Wired.com
SUBJECTIVE: Abstract from the article titled, "Wearable Are Totally Failing The People Who Need Them Most" posted on Wired Magazine: "As the Internet of Things becomes an actual thing, more steps are being counted, more sleep patterns are being logged, more activities are being appified. What isn’t appearing in the data is much common sense or ambition. Instead, developers continue flocking to a saturated market filled with hipster pet rocks, devices that gather reams of largely superficial information for young people whose health isn’t in question, or at risk."
OBJECTIVE: There is a strong point to be made that many of the latest gadgets are not designed in a way to be more usable by the elderly and people dealing with some level of disability. Part of the article's premise is that many of these areas include FDA and HIPAA related regulations that can feel like a lot to weed through when you are working on getting a start-up technology out the door.
ASSESSMENT: The author is spot on in noting that fitness trackers and health apps are usually abandoned by users with a fairly short time period, but that long-term commitment for these types of technologies are made by people who are trying to manage chronic conditions that require observations of daily living. The article notes that, "People with chronic diseases don’t suddenly decide that they’re over it and the novelty has worn off. Tracking and measuring—the quantified self—is what keeps them out of the hospital. And yet there are more developers who’d rather make a splash at a hackathon than create apps and devices for people who can benefit hugely from innovation in this area."
PLAN: Be familiar with services such as the FDA's Medical Devices website or if you are suffering from a chronic illness then look for non-profit organizations that provide reviews of devices and apps for your particular condition so that you aren't influenced by the hype of someone trying to sell you something. For example, look below for an attached document that provides a review of diabetes related apps and devices from the American Diabetes Association.