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Digital experience is key to maximizing the benefits of wearable technology on population health and wellbeing

Every day we see reports of new ways in which consumer medical wearable technology can positively impact our lives and improve our health and wellbeing. The market for consumer medical wearables is one of the fastest-growing sectors in tech today, driven by a range of contributing factors — including consumer responses to COVID, the roll-out of 5G connectivity and improvements in the range and efficacy of devices.

In a new study by Cisco AppDynamics, findings reveal that when it comes to wearable technology and digital health applications, the stakes around digital experience are even higher. 75% of people claim that they would stop using a specific wearable device or application if they had a bad digital experience; and, alarmingly, 56% of people claim that a bad digital experience with one wearable device or application would put them off trying other health or wellbeing wearable technology.

Key global (and UK) takeaways from the report include:

  • 85% (75% in the UK) think wearable technology has the potential to transform both their personal health and public health as a whole
  • 73% (57% in the UK) say they intend to use more of these types of wearable technologies or applications in the next 12 months
  • 37% (40% in the UK) say they currently use at least one wearable health tech device
  • The biggest components of a bad digital experience are application or device crashing (55%; 59% in UK), slow run time / unresponsive (54%; 58% in the UK) and data privacy / data security leak (51%; 57% in the UK)
  • 75% (77% in the UK) say a bad digital experience may stop them using a specific wearable device or application and 56% (54% in the UK) say it may put them off trying other health or wellbeing wearables or applications
  • 86% (82% in the UK) say reliable, real-time access to health data and accuracy of this data is critical to a good user experience

Whether it’s slow or unresponsive applications, data privacy and security issues, sign-in and password problems or difficulties with downloading and installing applications, consumers simply won’t tolerate sub-par experiences. In fact, 86% of people state that they expect companies offering wearable technology and applications to demonstrate a higher standard of protection for their personal data than any other technology they use.

Digital health applications are fundamental to the experience that people have with wearable technology. No matter how sleek and innovative the device, it’s the ability to get real-time access to trusted health and fitness data that shapes people’s views on the usefulness and impact of wearable technology. Indeed, 86% of consumers believe that having reliable, real-time access to health data and accuracy of this data is critical to a good user experience.

Joe Byrne, Vice President of Technology Strategy and Executive CTO at AppDynamics, comments: “The message for the brands behind wearable technologies and digital health applications is clear — they have to ensure that they’re able to deliver seamless digital experiences to customers at all times that will keep customers happy and maintain the incredible momentum that has built up around wearable technology. They simply cannot afford any slip-ups.”

“In order to do this, application providers need to adopt the latest tools to manage and optimize performance and availability across what is now a far more complex IT environment. This means ensuring their technologists have access to a single, unified view of IT performance, right across the IT estate — what’s called full-stack observability. And alongside this, technologies need to be able to connect this IT performance data with real-time business metrics, so they can cut through data noise and pinpoint the issues that really could do serious damage to customer experience (and, ultimately, to the business itself).”

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