The digital experience is ‘key’ to maximising benefits of wearable technology

22-Jun-2022

BBH speaks to Joe Byrne (pictured) of Cisco AppDynamics about why the quality of digital experience is so crucial to the adoption of wearable devices and the success of healthcare services

The value of the wearables market within healthcare is expected to double by 2026 to more than bn dollars

The value of the wearables market within healthcare is expected to double by 2026 to more than bn dollars

Everyday, we are seeing reports of new ways in which consumer medical wearable technology could positively impact our lives and improve our health and wellbeing.

From heart rate monitors that could be used to detect long COVID, to bracelets which aid ovulation prediction and conception; the benefits appear limitless.

At the same time, there is a seemingly-insatiable consumer appetite for wearable technology.

The market for consumer medical wearables is one of the fastest-growing sectors in tech today.

Driven by a range of contributing factors – including consumer responses to COVID, rollout of 5G connectivity, and improvements in the range and efficacy of devices – the opportunity for vendors is phenomenal.

And this applies to all types of organisations, from challenger brands to established tech giants.

A global market

Recent data showed that the global wearable healthcare market is projected to reach $30.1billion by 2026 from $16.2billion in 2021.

Furthermore, 320 million consumer medical wearables will ship globally in 2022, according to figures from Deloitte.

At Cisco AppDynamics, we recently conducted research exploring consumer attitudes and behaviours in relation to wearable technology.

And this revealed that 85% of people around the world believe that wearable technology now has the potential to positively transform both their own personal health and public health services as a whole.

Evidently, the potential for wearable technology to play a pivotal role in both the prevention and treatment of disease and injury is huge, and the sheer pace of innovation within the sector suggests that many of these future ambitions will become a reality before too long

As a result, 37% of people say they are already using at least one wearable technology device, and as many as 73% plan to increase their use of wearable technologies and associated applications over the next 12 months.

Wearable technology is no longer just seen as a means to track and manage general physical fitness.

People are now looking to these devices and applications to manage and improve a whole range of different areas of health and wellbeing, both for themselves and their loved ones.

We found that 82% of consumers are interested in how health technology, including wearables, can help to manage chronic or ongoing health conditions; while 86% would want to be able to identify the early warning signs of life-threatening illness or diseases, such as cancer, through wearable technology.

Prevention and treatment

Evidently, the potential for wearable technology to play a pivotal role in both the prevention and treatment of disease and injury is huge, and the sheer pace of innovation within the sector suggests that many of these future ambitions will become a reality before too long.

But the digital experience is key for wearable technology to fulfil its potential.

Of course, the medical wearables market is about more than the devices that people wear around their wrists, fingers, or elsewhere.

Most devices are primarily data collection vehicles which feed vital statistics to a website or application.

There are over 350,000 digital health applications currently available to consumers, with 47% focused on managing specific health conditions. And this number is expected to increase even further during 2022.

These digital health applications are fundamental to the experience that people have with wearable technology.

No matter how sleek and innovative the device, it is the ability to get real-time access to trusted health and fitness data that shapes people’s views on the usefulness and impact of wearable technology

No matter how sleek and innovative the device, it is the ability to get real-time access to trusted health and fitness data that shapes people’s views on the usefulness and impact of wearable technology.

Indeed, 86% of consumers believe that having reliable, real-time access to health data and accuracy of this data is critical to a good user experience.

And this is where technology and application providers need to tread extremely carefully.

The stakes are high

A Cisco AppDynamics report last year found that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have become more reliant on applications and digital services as part of their everyday lives. But, at the same time, they have also become more demanding and intolerant of poor digital experiences.

According to our research, 58% of global consumers said that brands have ‘one shot to impress’ and if they fail to offer a good experience they will move to a competitor.

Our study also indicates that when it comes to wearable technology and digital health applications, the stakes around digital experience are even higher.

Whether it is slow or unresponsive applications, data privacy and security issues, sign-in and password problems, or difficulties with downloading and installing applications; consumers simply won’t tolerate sub-par experiences.

People expect companies offering wearable technology and applications to demonstrate a higher standard of protection for their personal data than any other technology they use

In fact, 86% of people state that they expect companies offering wearable technology and applications to demonstrate a higher standard of protection for their personal data than any other technology they use.

Significantly, the consequences for brands that fall short of customer expectations are severe, with 75% of people claiming they would stop using a specific wearable device or application if they had a bad digital experience; and, alarmingly, 56% of people saying that a bad digital experience with one wearable device or application would put them off trying other health or wellbeing wearable technology.

Put starkly, then, it is the digital user experience that health and wellbeing application providers are able to provide customers that will, to a large degree, determine the success of the whole wearable technology sector.

A seamless experience

And, in the worst case, poor digital experiences could be the defining factor in whether many of these potentially-life-changing technologies are able to deliver the game-changing impact that they could, and should.

The message for the brands behind wearable technologies and digital health applications is clear – they have to ensure they’re able to deliver seamless digital experiences to customers at all times; and they simply cannot afford any slip-ups.

In order to do this, application providers need to adopt the latest tools to manage and optimise performance and availability across what is now a far-more-complex IT environment.

This means ensuring their technologists have access to a single, unified view of IT performance, right across the IT estate – what’s called full-stack observability.

Put starkly, it is the digital user experience that health and wellbeing application providers are able to provide customers that will, to a large degree, determine the success of the whole wearable technology sector

Alongside this, technologies need to be able to connect this IT performance data with real-time business metrics, so they can cut through data noise and pinpoint the issues that really could do serious damage to customer experience and, ultimately, to the business itself.

Wearable technology has reached a defining moment in its evolution, moving from early adopter stage through to mass adoption. And, understandably, there is now a huge sense of anticipation about the impact that this new technology will deliver over the coming years.

Indeed, we found that 81% of consumers feel excited about the potential benefits that wearable technology could bring.

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The important thing now is for application providers to ensure they’re able to deliver the brilliant, seamless digital experiences that will keep customers happy and maintain the incredible momentum that has built up around wearable technology.

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