Good news for anyone who thought Fitbit's move toward the smartwatch market would be a move away from health: The wearable maker has just announced a partnership with Dexcom that will bring data from the company's continuous glucose monitor directly to the display of Fitbit's upcoming Ionic smartwatch.
Athough Fitbit's have been used in the management of chronic diseases in a number of hospital studies, the company's D2C strategy has mostly been fitness and wellness-based. However, the move shouldn't be seen as a complete surprise for either company. Fitbit partnered with Dexcom competitor Medtronic late last year, and at the time VP of Digital Health Adam Pellegrini told MobiHealthNews the deal was a sign of things to come. And Dexcom has been integrating with Apple Watch in a similar way for some time.
“The strength of our brand and our ability to track critical health metrics continuously for up to 4+ days, coupled with Dexcom’s market leadership in CGM, present a powerful combination that we hope will help millions of people better manage their diabetes,” James Park, CEO of Fitbit, said in a statement. “With Ionic, we are focused on driving positive health outcomes and more health focused tools, and this collaboration is a wonderful example of how we plan to bring that vision to our users.”
The integration will allow users of the FItbit smartwatch to display their glucose values alongside their activity tracking data on the wrist -- whether they use an iOS or Android device.
“The collaboration between Dexcom and Fitbit is an important step in providing useful information to people with diabetes that is both convenient and discreet,” Dexcom CEO Kevin Sayer said in a statement. “We believe that providing Dexcom CGM data on Fitbit Ionic, and making that experience available to users of both Android and iOS devices, will have a positive impact on the way people manage their diabetes.”
That flexibility is one way Fitbit will compete with Apple Watch, but Apple Watch has an edge on Fitbit as well. While the Ionic will still require the phone be present as an intermediary, Dexcom recently announced that the next generation of the Apple Watch will be able to display CGM readings without the phone present.