Glimpse into future wearables at the mHealth Summit

From the mHealthNews archive
By Eric Wicklund

Want to see where wearables are headed? Check out LifeFuels.

The Virginia-based startup is marketing a smart water bottle that goes well beyond data collection. Paired with an app, it tracks vitamins, supplements and hydration, then dispenses nutritional supplements tailored to the user's needs.

Speaking during the Wearables + Things symposium on Sunday at the mHealth Summit, company CEO Jonathon Perrelli, a 20-year mHealth veteran, sees his smart bottle as evidence of the evolution of the industry. It's part of the new wave of disruptive wearables, he said, that takes data, analyzes it and delivers personalized care management back to the user when and where needed.

Just think what can be done when you add the doctor to the mix.

[Learn more about the 2015 mHealth Summit.]

"Without the healthcare provider, it's just not as useful," said Perrelli, one of several presenters during Sunday's daylong event at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center. The symposium was designed to shine the spotlight on some of the nearly 350 different wearables on the market, from smart bottles to smartphones to smart watches – amounting to almost 46 million shipments this year. And that number is expected to soar to 130 million by 2019.

Perrelli sees those numbers as evidence that the market is expanding beyond the early adopters and self-motivated consumers that have been the standard for the past few years. The average consumer is starting to care about health above and beyond the annual checkup, he said, and they're looking for products that don't just take information, but give it back in the form of advice and recommendations.

mHealth advocates have always held that health and wellness will be the eventual bridge between consumer-facing wearables and healthcare providers. Nutritionists and dieticians may be the first to use the LifeFuels smart bottle, developing personalized health maintenance plans for consumers. But eventually doctors will tap into these devices, Perelli asserted, pulling in and analyzing data and delivering medicine in that same form factor.

Looking out over the crowded conference room, Perrelli asked how many were monitoring their hyrdation. Five hands were raised.

Next year, he said, there will be many more hands raised.