Wearable technology has been widely successful in the market and smart wearable devices have found fans across all age groups. However, recent studies indicate that companies manufacturing wearable fitness and health tracking devices haven’t fully capitalized on the opportunity because users mainly use them as a sole piece of hardware and remain highly dissatisfied with the poor quality of wearable applications software.

The study carried out by Argus Insights analyzed over 136,000 user reviews of the most popular wearables and pre-installed brand apps. Here're some noteworthy facts from the study:

  • Lumo Body Tech, Samsung and Fitbit devices demonstrate the highest ‘customer delight’ factors when it comes to hardware
  • Among wearable apps, Jawbone emerges as a clear winner, followed by Nike apps and Fitbit apps
  • The margin of ‘customer delight’ factor separating the respective apps from wearables is quite high for all the manufacturers. Most of them have actually won 5-star customer reviews for their device hardware, but failed in terms of apps quality. For instance, discrepancy between customer satisfaction with hardware versus software was really huge in Samsung, Lumo Tech, Microsoft and Garmin (see image below):

consumer perception of wearable devices versus apps

  • Jawbone is the only device maker showing high satisfactory levels for both apps and device hardware
  • The most favorite features across all wearables analyzed are health tracking, calorie / diet tracking, and heart rate monitoring.
  • The most frustrating features as chosen by users are the sync data options and regular app crashing.

The research illustrates well that most customers tend to use such wearables as fitness devices only. And this is mainly due to the device manufacturers' failures to convert data collected by these devices into meaningful intelligence and seamless UX, which can be incorporated and used across many healthcare platforms. This affects long-term usefulness of such devices and represents a serious challenge manufacturers have yet to overcome.

Let's note that the data collected by these fitness and health tracking wearables is of immense significance. Wearable market represents a large category of the Health IT (HIT) market that's expected to be valued at trillions of dollars due to Big Data revolution in the upcoming years. In a data-oriented healthcare system of the future, doctors and physicians will have continuous access to real-time patient behavior and involvement, which will become an important part of their EHR (Electronic Health Record) system configuration.

Such seamless access to real-time data will have huge effects on the quality of preventive care. This will be especially useful for treating chronic diseases that have caused the largest percentage of mortality in recent years. In the future, such wearables will not be perceived as mere fitness trackers, but will become a valuable source of remote healthcare.

Yet, in order to achieve so, device makers and application developers will have to make substantial improvements in their software design and usability so that users can easily sync their activity data with online silos which can be accessed easily and from anywhere by healthcare professionals. Without the capabilities of analyzing certain data sets and data points collected in real-time and converting them into actionable medical intelligence, the devices per se will remain useless.

Intersog's custom built applications for smart health monitors and fitness trackers boast a very high user satisfaction rate. Feel free to contact us below to learn more about how we create highly secure and engaging wearable health applications.

Are you looking to build a wearable health or fitness tracking app and in need of professional assistance with estimation, specs, PoC, prototyping, software development and QA?
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Sarah is our marketing and tech writing intern. She studies Communication and Media / English Language and Literature at DePaul University.

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