A new partnership with BodyMedia shows that Sprint has finally woken up to the consumer health opportunity.
BodyMedia, which develops connected fitness devices and mobile applications, has inked a deal with mobile operator Sprint to embed 3G cellular connectivity into its BodyMedia FIT Armband. BodyMedia already offers a number of devices that help users track calorie burn, activity levels and sleep, but those devices transmit data to users' nearby phones via Bluetooth. The new deal with Sprint enables BodyMedia's devices to continuously transmit the collected fitness data to the user's mobile phone no matter where it is.
In July 2009 we noted that Sprint had been supporting the healthcare industry for some 30 years but that support has largely focused on helping physicians and hospital staff become more efficient. To date, the opportunity to leverage the mobile phone and other wireless technologies to further the rise of the empowered patient is an opportunity that third party apps and other mobile operators have done more to realize than Sprint. Sprint has offered the industry Celio's Redfly mobile companion device for physicians, mVisum's EKG mobile app, Calgary Scientific's Resolution MD imaging app for physicians, AirStrip's mobile vital sign monitoring apps for clinicians, and many more.
The Sprint 3G-enabled BodyMedia FIT Armband is compatible with three Android phones that run on the Sprint network: LG Optimus S, Sanyo Zio and Samsung Transform. The apps, which are set to be officially unveiled at this week's CES event in Las Vegas, will be free to Sprint subscribers who have one of the phones above as well as an Everything Data plan. The New York Times notes that BodyMedia's current Armband devices carry a monthly subscription fee.
Sprint stated that BodyMedia FIT Armbands are already an "important part" of Sprint's employee health and wellness program, which echoes recent news that WellDoc's DiabetesManager will become available to a select group within AT&T's employee population.
“We’ve just taken our first baby-steps into mobile platforms with the recent launch of our Bluetooth-enabled Armband," Christine Robins, CEO of BodyMedia stated in a release. "With Sprint as our development partner, we now have the opportunity to create an innovative platform of wireless body monitoring systems that will revolutionize the body monitoring industry.”