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09 Thinking Healthcare Wearables Strategy

Function over fashion

Not so long ago, many healthcare businesses were anxiously asking: what’s our social media strategy? In fact, some are still working on that question. Now, tech-savvy people in forward-thinking companies have a new hot issue: what’s our wearables strategy? It’s a question that has become even more pressing in the wake of CES 2014 and SXSW Interactive where “wearable tech”  was the meme of the moment. In fact, Intel delivered a keynote to the gathered geeks at CES focusing on its lines of wearable and perceptual technology. A few weeks later, the mighty chip maker bought wearables maker Basis in a deal thought to be worth around $100 million.

Wearables are like a wild futuristic fantasy brought to life, so it’s understandable if tech insiders and tech watchers feel a heady rush of enthusiasm as they contemplate all the possibilities. The proliferation of wearable gadgets has unleashed a new wave of creative thinking and a whole lot of ideas. Any one of them could catch on in consumer markets and become the next big thing. The wearables frenzy has even prompted a website that generates frivolous ideas for satirical effect.

While the ideas on the site are deliberately flakey (e.g., T-shirts that glows red when you drink too much coffee, bracelets that throbs when you run out of milk), there’s a serious truth underlying all those random combinations. Joking aside, there are an infinite number of ideas that are technically possible with wearables. The hard part is not dreaming up individual technologies and applications; it’s finding robust combinations that not only sound cool, but also deliver a winning mix of usability, functionality, and benefits.

3rd November 2014

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