Every day we see reports of new ways in which consumer medical wearable technology can positively impact our lives and improve our health and wellbeing. 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, the roll-out of 5G connectivity and improvements in the range and efficacy of devices.
Recent data showed that the global wearable healthcare market is projected to reach USD 30.1 billion by 2026 from USD 16.2 billion in 2021. Furthermore, 320 million consumer medical wearables will ship globally in 2022 (according to Deloitte).
At Cisco AppDynamics, we recently conducted research exploring consumer attitudes and behaviors in relation to wearable technology. It revealed that 85% of people around the world believe wearable technology now has the potential to positively transform both their own personal health and public health services as a whole. As a result, 37% of people say that they are already using at least one wearable technology device and as many as 73% plans to increase their use of wearable technologies and associated applications over the next 12 months.
Digital experience is key for wearable technology to fulfill its potential
Of course, the medical wearables market is about more than the devices. Most devices are primarily data collection vehicles that 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. 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’s 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.
Our new study indicates that when it comes to wearable technology and digital health applications, the stakes around digital experience are even higher. 75% of people claim that they would stop using a specific wearable device or application if they had a bad digital experience; and, alarmingly, 56% of people claim that a bad digital experience with one wearable device or application would put them off trying other health or wellbeing wearable technology.
Whether it’s 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. 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.
Put starkly then, 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.
Wearable technology providers need unified visibility into IT performance to meet customer expectations
The message for the brands behind wearable technologies and digital health applications is clear — they have to ensure that they’re able to deliver seamless digital experiences to customers at all times. They simply cannot afford any slip-ups.
In order to do this, application providers need to adopt the latest tools to manage and optimize 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. And 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 the early adopter stage through to mass adoption. Indeed, we found that 81% of consumers feel excited about the potential benefits that wearable technology could bring.
The important thing now is for application providers to ensure that 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.