The widespread availability of fitness wearables coupled with marginal use has created a relatively new trend in the market — ecosystems. After all, no one can afford to depend on the business of just a few devices and it opens up access to a bigger share of wearables users. Its also a way to add more value and ensure the longer term survival of the sector. For those who use more than one wearable, these ecosystems are helping to organize their data into useful visualization tools.
Validic has been active in the space for some time. Its FDA cleared platform has helped it developed partnerships not only with medical device companies but fitness trackers as well and integrate data from both for users.
These communities are not only about device agnostic platforms to help users aggregate their data and see the cause and effect of diet, exercise and heart rate.
Valencell represents an ecosystem of a different kind. Its sensor technology PerformTek has been used to create more accurate measures of heart rate, respiration rate, and other blood flow measures and integrated into licensing partnerships such as with earphone makers like SMS, Jabra, and iriver. CEO Steve LeBoeuf noted at CES earlier this month that it was key to embed its biometric sensor technology into products that people would use for their workout, so the tracking becomes more passive. But he also pointed out that one benefit to its approach is that for people looking to lose weight, other indicators will change before their weight begins to go down such as arresting heart rate and the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use.
“You can storyboard exciting experiences for customers based on how their biometrics are changing and improving.” He added that there will be a lot more ecosystems developed around core technology.
Even fitness garment maker Under Armour created an app called UA Record to pool together data from apps like MapMyFitness, which it acquired last year, and wearable devices such as Jawbone, Withings and Garmin, among others.
Human API is yet another example. Its clients include smartwatch maker Pebble, BodyMedia, Fitbit and Omron, as well as Bluetooth scale makers like Withings and glucose monitors such as Glooko.
Its most recent client is 4D a healthcare analytics platform. 4D CEO Star Cunningham sees participation in the kind of ecosystem Human API offers as part of a broader mission of helping consumers do a better job of managing weight, medication , diabetes and cardio together.
“There has to be a marriage of wellness devices and medical management devices to really impact patient health,” she said.