Living longer with wearable tech

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Published: March 23, 2015 12:10:35 AM

Fitter people will be early adopters of connected wellness technology, says a new Ericsson report

wearable tech, wearable technology, Ericsson ConsumerLabAccording to the report that measures the impact of the internet on consumer attitudes to health and fitness, smartphone owners expect quantifying and regulating stress will increase life expectancy by two years and the quantification of such behaviours today starts with wearables.

Consumers are now more interested in exploring the wellness aspect of technology using wearables and smart devices, a recently released report by Ericsson showed. According to the report that measures the impact of the internet on consumer attitudes to health and fitness, smartphone owners expect quantifying and regulating stress will increase life expectancy by two years and the quantification of such behaviours today starts with wearables. However, those who are very satisfied with their wellness need both style and function: 55% say product design is important, while 59% buy technology devices to fulfill specific needs.

Ericsson ConsumerLab is a global consumer research unit that studies consumer use of, and attitudes to, ICT in more than 40 countries annually. Their new report examines how satisfied consumers are with their overall wellness, and how it relates to their use of the Internet for health and fitness purposes. The report draws together data from several recent consumer surveys covering up to 49 countries.

Michael Björn, head of research at Ericsson ConsumerLab, said, “Those already satisfied with their wellness say they are the first to try new health approaches. Rather than typical tech adopters or those with health issues, we therefore see people who are satisfied with their wellness being early adopters of wellness technology. This group has very specific requirements related to cloud, privacy, design and functionality that they want to be fulfilled simultaneously. Fulfilling one or two of these simply won’t be enough.”

The report also identified that some people also see a range of cloud-based services giving them the potential to live healthier and longer lives—whether the technology can be worn or not. It also shows that hopes for increased life expectancy even go beyond personal devices and services, making individual wellness a societal concern.

Further explaining the report, Björn said, “Consumers in cities facing bigger environmental challenges show higher interest in society-related health concepts, such as a bracelet that checks for smog, or a wearable that helps with eco-friendly commuting, and could potentially drive a faster pace of change. Interest in wellness on a personal level may therefore inspire transformation on a societal level.”

Björn added, “Given that the main service providers are expected  to differ widely, the ecosystem to join this will be complex. People think medical information is highly sensitive, and those likely to adopt wellness services early on value the integrity of that information more than others.”

As per the report, with 12% of consumers around the world already using wearables, they are no longer just a novelty. Instead, consumers are clearly starting to use these devices as part of a project to improve their wellness, when it comes to both looks and health. In fact, consumers expect that wearables will make it possible to monitor and correspondingly adjust behaviours, and as a result, will let them live healthier and potentially longer lives.

However, the report observes that people are at least as interested in using wearables to handle stress as they are in improving their physical fitness. Consumers believe that monitoring and regulating their stress levels could increase life expectancy by two years on an average.

Traditional jogging apps and other technologies monitoring physical activity are still sought after, with consumers believing they will increase their life expectancies by 1.9 years.

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