Monday, January 17, 2022

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Are Fitness Trackers and Smart Watches in Trouble?


Everyone wants an easy solution to their problems. This alone is the reason why the world went crazy when fitness trackers and smart watches first hit the stores. It makes sense too. They offered something that wasn’t experienced before. The answer to all your health needs. A promised land which gives you all insights about your habits, right on your wrist. It felt too good to be true and may be it was. A recent study done by Stanford Medicine shows that fitness trackers and smart watches may not be as effective at calculating body metrics as they claim to be. 

The study was conducted on 60 volunteers, each given a different fitness tracker to use while performing different exercises. The scientists also measured the same health metrics via medical equipment. When the results were cross matched with the fitness trackers, a surprising discrepancy was seen. Albeit the research was conducted on 60 volunteers only, the evidence was clear that the fitness trackers are not as accurate as they claim to be. Maybe this is the reason of a steady decline in fitness trackers’ sales.

Fitbit is a renowned name when it comes to fitness trackers but since the beginning of this year, their sales have seen a sharp decline. The have shipped 50% fewer devices this year than they did at the end of 2016. These statistics are more or less similar for all major fitness technology manufacturers. This means trouble for the whole industry. These manufacturers will have to opt for a different approach if they want to rescue their sales.

To redeem themselves, many giant firms are trying to explore more consumer centric options. Apple, famous for their smartwatches, are trying to create a prototype that can calculate blood sugar levels noninvasively and to incorporate that technology in their watches. Similarly, companies should try and expand their research for a more niche product. Something which offers more specific health data that caters to a more specific audience. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should monitor and regulate the effectiveness of these products, to ensure their high quality and accuracy. Even if these strategies are implemented soon, it will take time to revive the markets.

The future of wearable technology is unpredictable for now, despite of having a sea of opportunities for businesses and developers.

Laraib Zafar
A final year med student, tripping on tea, trying to figure out how to adult.

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