Spotlight on wearable devices


Joe Byrne
Joe Byrne

The appetite for wearable technologies is soaring, but brands are walking a tightrope when it comes to digital experience

By Joe Byrne

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Published: Thu 12 May 2022, 12:08 PM

At Cisco AppDynamics, we recently conducted research exploring consumer attitudes and behaviours about wearable technologies. The results illustrated the scale of consumer demand and expectation in this area — 88 per cent of consumers in the UAE plan to increase their use of wearable technologies and associated applications over the next 12 months. Another 95 per cent believe that wearable technologies now has the potential to positively transform both their health and public health services as a whole. But while it might seem that nothing can halt the inexorable rise of wearable technologies, it’s important for brands not to take for granted the growing consumer appetite for new devices and new applications.

Applications drive consumer uptake of wearable technologies

Think of wearable technologies, and the chances are that you’ll picture a watch or bracelet. However, while wearable technologies devices are undoubtedly important, the reality is that the vast majority only perform as data collection devices. They gather health and well-being data from the individual and feed this data back to the digital health applications that consumers now use to monitor and manage a growing number of different aspects of their health, fitness and well-being. Consumers have access to more than 350,000 digital health applications, and the number might rise further over the next year. With so much excitement and anticipation building around the potential impact of wearable medical technologies on individual and population health, brands mustn’t overlook the critical role that the health applications will need to play if these future benefits are to be fully realised.

The success of wearable medical technologies depends on the performance of supporting applications

Wearable technologies and application providers need to recognise that consumer expectations around digital experience have skyrocketed over the last two years. A Cisco AppDynamics report last year found that 73 per cent of the UAE consumers (16 per cent higher than the global average) said that brands have ‘one shot to impress, and if they fail to offer a good digital experience they will move to a competitor, possibly forever’. That is the reality to which all digital brands are having to face up. But when it comes to digital health, which is by its very nature so important to people and where trust is of paramount importance, the stakes around digital experience are even higher. Indeed, in our new study, 92 per cent of respondents from the UAE report that trust is a critical factor when choosing a wearable medical device or application. An equal number state that they expect companies offering wearable technologies and applications to demonstrate a higher standard of protection for their data than any other technology they use.

But it’s not only about data privacy and security where people have zero tolerance for poor experiences. From slow or unresponsive applications to difficulties with downloading and installing applications — consumers are completely unforgiving when they encounter poor experiences. Sixty-five per cent of people in the UAE claim that they would stop using a specific wearable device or application if they had a bad digital experience. Alarmingly, 54 per cent of people claim that a bad digital experience with one wearable device or application would put them off trying other health or well-being wearable technologies.

The brands behind wearable devices and health applications and the industry as a whole, have a clear message. They ensure that they are delivering first-class, seamless digital experiences at all times; otherwise, they risk seeing a big chunk of their customers walk away.

With this in mind, technology providers need to ensure that they have the right tools and insights to monitor and manage IT performance and availability at all times. This means generating real-time visibility into performance across their entire IT estate so that they can identify potential problems and resolve issues before they impact the end-user experience. By ensuring their technologists are equipped to deliver seamless digital experiences for customers, digital health application providers can meet new levels of consumer expectations and fully deliver on the promise of

wearable technology. By doing this, they will be perfectly placed to take maximum advantage of the massive excitement and momentum that is building in this space.

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— Joe Byrne is executive CTO at Cisco AppDynamics

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