Why Connected Devices Could Revolutionize Health Care

But is the indus­try ready for the rise of wear­able tech and con­nect­ed devices?

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

2015 is already being tout­ed as ‘the year of the con­sumer’ and nowhere was a sense of this more preva­lent then at CES 2015. One clear trend that emerged at the show: a grow­ing momen­tum for smart, con­nect­ed devices, each look­ing to estab­lish a new prece­dent in improv­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. New tech­nol­o­gy for the health care indus­try was par­tic­u­lar­ly excit­ing. What will the intro­duc­tion of con­nect­ed devices bring to the indus­try, and why should brands and providers adapt to the immi­nent change?

The Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show has typ­i­cal­ly been dom­i­nat­ed by estab­lished tech­nol­o­gy play­ers, but now even health and fit­ness brands such as Adi­das, New Bal­ance, and L’O­re­al are look­ing to meet con­sumer demands for new tech­nol­o­gy and inno­va­tion in fields such as wear­ables.

Today, smart brands across indus­tries are look­ing to zero in on the intri­ca­cies on the way con­sumers use and expe­ri­ence prod­ucts, cre­at­ing a gen­er­a­tion of new, con­nect­ed devices that are designed to empow­er and com­ple­ment our abil­i­ty to ful­fill mod­ern, dig­i­tal lives.

Brands are look­ing bring us dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences in new and inno­v­a­tive ways, beyond the smart­phone.

One indus­try see­ing such a rev­o­lu­tion is con­sumer health care prod­ucts. Aller­gy pens, baby bot­tles, hel­mets and more prod­ucts are being rein­vent­ed, dig­i­tized, and con­nect­ed in an effort to improve a par­tic­u­lar aspect of con­sumers’ lives.

Are we set to expe­ri­ence a “dig­i­tal renais­sance” – a boom of inno­va­tion where every­day devices are rein­vent­ed and smart, con­nect­ed devices? If so, the ques­tion is how should health care brands pre­pare for the poten­tial dis­rup­tion a new Inter­net of Things could bring to the indus­try.

Connected Devices Set To Change Consumer Health Care

The con­di­tions are giv­ing way to the cre­ation of many new prod­ucts in the health care indus­try. Prod­ucts that are inno­v­a­tive, con­nect­ed, and unique, cater­ing to, and focus­ing in on par­tic­u­lar needs and require­ments of patients and con­sumers. Let’s look at a few.


EpiPen is a device designed for those who suf­fer from aller­gic reac­tions. Unlike non-dig­i­tal­ly enabled devices, when con­nect­ed to the asso­ci­at­ed Veta app, users will be alert­ed if they have for­got­ten their EpiPen, and the Veta app can even warn fam­i­ly if the user is hav­ing an aller­gic reac­tion.


EpiPen has the poten­tial to save lives and is a great exam­ple of the way tech­no­log­i­cal­ly-enabled devices can be used to seam­less­ly improve con­sumer expe­ri­ences.


While it’s far from life or death, anoth­er gad­get on show at CES seeks to save users embar­rass­ment when they’re suf­fer­ing from a spot of bad breath. Cal­i­forn­ian com­pa­ny Breath­ome­ter have exhib­it­ed their mint breath­a­lyz­er, a device that enables users to mea­sure the amount of volatile sul­phur com­pounds and bac­te­ria in the mouth.


As was the case with Epipen, the device seam­less­ly con­nects with a user’s smart­phone via a Blue­tooth con­nec­tion. Using one lets users know when they ought to fresh­en up or need a drink.

Baby GlGl

Even babies are get­ting con­nect­ed. Baby GlGl, from Slow Con­trol, (short for “Glug Glug”) is a smart baby bot­tle that does every­thing from mea­sur­ing how much a baby is drink­ing, to indi­cat­ing the per­fect angle to feed a baby to min­i­mize air bub­bles.

Concept Cycling Helmet

Anoth­er piece of tech­nol­o­gy look­ing out for con­sumers’ well being, and one that made quite a few waves at CES, was the con­cept cyclist hel­met from Vol­vo and POC – a device that con­nects to sim­i­lar­ly enabled Vol­vo cars that can warn dri­vers when a cyclist is approach­ing, or rid­ing pre­car­i­ous­ly in a vehi­cle’s blind spot.

The device hopes to use the pow­er of con­nect­ed tech­nol­o­gy to reduce the num­ber of cycling relat­ed acci­dents.

Is Health Care Ready For An ‘Internet Of Things’?

From a con­sumer per­spec­tive, the short answer is yes. It’s no sur­prise that a con­sid­er­able num­ber of new prod­ucts unveiled at CES served the health care indus­try; recent research has pro­vid­ed strong indi­ca­tions that con­sumers are will­ing to try new prod­ucts that serve to mon­i­tor and ben­e­fit their health.

The chal­lenge is per­haps more com­pli­cat­ed for brands oper­at­ing with­in the indus­try. Inno­v­a­tive new con­sumer prod­ucts are show­ing that health care is poten­tial­ly approach­ing a new era which could see a shift in which con­sumers receive care from ded­i­cat­ed prac­ti­tion­ers and health care insti­tu­tions, toward a more per­son­al­ized, informed, and pre­ven­ta­tive form of care with­in their own homes, empow­ered by dig­i­tal devices able to mon­i­tor and guide con­sumers.

At the moment it may be inde­pen­dent star­tups that are cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the oppor­tu­ni­ty to serve con­sumer appetite for new prod­ucts. How­ev­er, suc­cess here pre­cludes greater uptake with­in estab­lished health care insti­tu­tions and indus­try play­ers, which will (as all sec­tors have already or will soon do so) be sub­ject to the changes of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion that con­sumers have come to demand expect.

There remains, how­ev­er, a chal­lenge for the health care indus­try. Health care, per­haps by virtue of a long estab­lished author­i­ty and tra­di­tion, has per­haps been shield­ed from the change that dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy has brought to con­sumer lives.

What health care orga­ni­za­tions must under­stand is that patients are also con­sumers, and they have been inter­act­ing with brands and busi­ness­es via dig­i­tal chan­nels for years, if not decades. They have a high lev­el of expec­ta­tion for things like: user expe­ri­ence, con­tent and util­i­ty, and rel­e­vance,” said John Simp­son, pres­i­dent of Dig­i­tal Health Strate­gies. “Health care orga­ni­za­tions and brands must deliv­er on all of these demands because they are not only com­pet­ing with each oth­er; they are com­pet­ing with all of the oth­er dig­i­tal mes­sages, prod­ucts and ser­vices that con­sumers receive from oth­er brands and orga­ni­za­tions on a dai­ly basis.”

Ulti­mate­ly it paints a sim­ple mes­sage for health care providers and it’s one, accord­ing to Simp­son, “that oth­er indus­tries have been say­ing (and liv­ing) for a long time: Your patients now hold sig­nif­i­cant pow­er and you must view them as an active part­ner in the deliv­ery of care. The onus is on health care orga­ni­za­tions to be relent­less­ly user-focused, and to put prod­ucts in front of con­sumers at the right time, on the right plat­form, and with a clear val­ue propo­si­tion.”

It means that health care as an indus­try needs to meet the same lev­el of expec­ta­tions that con­sumers are expe­ri­enc­ing from mar­ket-lead­ing brands from oth­er indus­tries, to empow­er “a qual­i­ty user expe­ri­ence, and then proac­tive­ly pro­vide [con­sumers] with rel­e­vant, valu­able con­tent and util­i­ty on an ongo­ing basis” Simp­son said.

Customer-Centricity Is Key For Connected Devices To Succeed

The prod­ucts unveiled at CES are excit­ing, but more than ever they need to fit in to an indus­try that is able to sup­port their exis­tence. Brands need to pro­vide the very high­est lev­el of cus­tomer-cen­tric­i­ty, to pro­mote chan­nels for con­nec­tiv­i­ty, engage­ment, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and to ensure new prod­ucts adhere to the val­ues – sim­plic­i­ty, speed, and ease of usabil­i­ty – that the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion has instilled with­in con­sumers. As Michael E. Porter’s Har­vard Busi­ness Review arti­cle, “How Smart, Con­nect­ed Prod­ucts Are Trans­form­ing Com­pe­ti­tion”, indi­cat­ed in Novem­ber 2014:

As with the inter­net itself, smart, con­nect­ed prod­ucts reflect a whole new set of tech­no­log­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties that have emerged. But the rules of com­pe­ti­tion and com­pet­i­tive advan­tage remain the same. Nav­i­gat­ing the world of smart, con­nect­ed prod­ucts requires that com­pa­nies under­stand these rules bet­ter than ever.”

The oppor­tu­ni­ty for health care brands will be in con­nect­ing inno­v­a­tive prod­ucts with the con­tent and chan­nels con­sumers are accus­tomed to via dig­i­tal chan­nels, in order to raise aware­ness, pro­mote the ben­e­fits of the tech­nol­o­gy, and empow­er their lives.

Can con­nect­ed prod­ucts enhance user jour­neys and expe­ri­ences?

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

Discover why brands and agencies choose Linkdex

  • Get started fast with easy onboarding & training
  • Import and connect data from other platforms
  • Scale with your business, websites and markets
  • Up-skill teams with training & accreditation
  • Build workflows with tasks, reporting and alerts

Get a free induction and experience of Linkdex.

Just fill out this form, and one of our team members will get in touch to arrange your own, personalized demo.