“A lot of people discount the power of walking, but it is basically the fundamental thing we’re supposed to do and we don’t do enough of it,” Apple's director of Fitness and Health Technologies, Jay Blahnik, said last week.
“I think it’s really powerful to see where it goes as technology impacts health and fitness,” said the former Nike Fuelband consultant, speaking at Q&A sessions at Apple Stores in Australia, China and Japan.
Also read: 12 Apple Watch tips you need to know
Blahnik noted that he is learning lessons to suggest the path to healthy lifestyles isn’t solely about taking exercise or joining a gym. “We’re seeing that people are solving health issues by going after things we may not have thought…, things like meditation, breathing, sleep….” Might this be a hint at future Apple solutions for Apple Watch?
Introducing holistic health solutions isn't just good Karma, it also makes rock solid commercial sense -- those countries most enthusiastic about holistic health solutions also happen to be economically vibrant (is there a connection?)
“Holistic enthusiasts are most likely to be found in China, Germany, or India, where 79 percent say that both men and women who “age naturally” are more attractive than those who undergo cosmetic surgery,” a Havas Worldwide report points out.
Andrew Benett, global CEO of Havas Worldwide said: “As technology changes every aspect of our lives, it’s given people around the world a greater awareness of their own well-being, and a new arsenal of tools to track and improve their health.
"To change lifestyle behavior, you have to meet people where they are. Digital health provides that flexibility,” said Omada Health CEO Sean Duffy last week.
Blahnik touched on the holistic nature of the Apple Watch Activity app earlier this year. “Generally speaking, health and fitness often gets hijacked to be about one number, ‘You lost ten pounds, now you’re done,'” he said.
This focus on one number means people miss the reality of their situation:
“Plenty of people move enough, but they don’t ever hit the level of a brisk walk. And plenty of people get their exercise, but they also sit too much during the rest of their day. And some people don’t sit too much, but they also don’t move enough. The Activity rings make it easy to see the whole picture in one glance,” he wrote.
Globally, seven in 10 prosumers already approve of health tracking devices, according to a Havas Worldwide study, ‘iBody: The New Frontier.' That’s the kind of interest that has driven Gartner to predict 68.1 million wearable devices will ship this year.
Fears surrounding privacy and security pose a challenge to more rapid adoption of these technologies. Consumers are genuinely (and appropriately) concerned about the impact of these devices on their privacy.
Regulators are beginning to take note of this. For example, French authorities are sufficiently concerned that the Commission Nationale de l’information et des Liberties (CNIL) is investigating how digital health devices, apps and other online services monitor people's behaviors in order to determine if the sharing of information is occurring with people's consent.
Given the importance of sensors within the Apple Watch product, it makes sense to anticipate new sensors will debut in future models, likely including diabetic readers and breathing monitors as the company seeks out ways to enable customers to take better control of their overall holistic health patterns.
And it will be even more interesting to see what insights this information provides as ResearchKit, Apple and IBM figure out the health data analytics insights that may guide future lives.
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