3 areas where the biosensing wearables market needs to expand

The biosensing wearables market will need to expand in three core areas--functionality, reliability and convenience--to scale beyond early adopters, according to a new Rock Health report, "The Future of Biosensing Wearables."

The San Francisco venture capital fund evaluates more than 100 start-ups in the market in its 15-month study and takes a deep look at products, technology strategies and consumer use. It finds that many devices are "failing to engage users over meaningful periods of time." That said, the fund states it is "optimistic" on the future of wearables.

"A long tail of evolved biosensing wearables, enabled by platforms, has the potential improve health outcomes and lower costs," the report's authors say, noting that venture funding has increased five times in three years. "Only time will tell if the reality matches the promise."

The report reveals that 80 percent of consumer device use drops off after 18 months, and that three vendors account for 97 percent of the market. While Google Glass may be a hot commodity in terms of wearables product, Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike fitness tracking bands have been the three prevalent products driving the market. Nike, however, is moving away from development of wearables hardware and recently decimated its Band hardware team.

Newcomers may eventually propel the market forward. Apple debuted its HealthKit earlier this month, describing it as a virtual service framework that will foster data sharing between patients, caregivers and third-party devices, such as Nike's FuelBand. Not even two weeks later, reports have surfaced that Google plans to launch a health platform called Google Fit that will aggregate data from fitness-tracking devices and health-related apps.

Prior to Apple's announcement Samsung debuted a digital health initiative using open hardware and software platforms for mHealth technology advancement and innovation.

Such big-name vendor interest could lead to what Rock Health believes is necessary for the market to grow and thrive.

"We expect biosensing wearables will need to leverage their consumer learnings and evolve into highly functional and accurate devices in order to gain adoption in the industry," the report's authors say.

For more information:
- read Rock Health's report

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