Huawei, Samsung turn to partners to add senior-focused features to smartwatches

By Dave Muoio
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Consumer electronics maker Huawei has partnered with mCareWatch, an Australian aging in place technology company, to include additional health monitoring and alert capabilities with the Huawei Watch 2. The new software would extrapolate various health data from the fitness measurement tools of the 4G sim-enabled wearable and link these data to mCareWatch’s existing app platform, as well as to other Bluetooth biometric devices.

The Huawei Watch 2 includes GPS, optical heart rate monitoring, and built-in activity-monitoring software, as well as the capacity to measure blood pressure and weight with the assistance of peripheral devices. Along with integrating these health diagnostics, mCareWatch’s software would take advantage of GPS functionality to alert family members or caretakers whenever an unwell individual stops moving or leaves designated “safe zones.” Further, the software adds an SOS Button pre-set with caretakers’ photos and phone numbers, gives medication and appointment reminders, and intermittently asks the wearer to answer a series of questions to assess their wellness.

“The Huawei Watch 2 is a quality product that addresses the need for 4G connectivity in a water-resistant watch that our clients can wear in the shower,” Peter Apostolopoulos, managing director of mCareWatch, said in a statement. “[Huawei Watch 2] complements and enhances our software, user, and connectivity requirements.”

The additional functionality contributed by the software would especially improve care for the elderly and the disabled while relieving those watching over them, Eric Zhai, managing director of the Huawei Consumer Business Group Australia, said in a statement. The Huawei Watch 2 will be the first 4G sim-enabled watch for sale in Australia, he added.

In their recent quarterly statement, IDC reported that wearables shipments grew 10.3 percent year over year, reaching 26.3 million during the second quarter of 2017. Most of this growth was in the smartwatch market. Meanwhile, competing consumer electronics company Garmin and other electronics producers announced new fitness monitoring-focused wearables at IFA this past month, while Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview that the juggernaut electronics company is “extremely interested” in the health care space.

Yesterday, Samsung also announced partnerships that would add similar monitoring software to their own Samsung Gear S2 and S3 smartwatchs. A platform developed by Reemo tracks the vitals of elderly or infirm wearers and provides a quick contact option for caregivers. Another, from Ability Wearables, is designed to monitor worker's fatigue levels, and a third Samsung Gear-based platform developed by SoloProtect focuses on ensuring the safety of solo workers who may not be able to seek help on their own.