Y’all know Apple Watches save life, right? Not just because you read it here. Common sense tells you any device that gives you a heads-up when your heart starts doing the clave (rather than a solid disco beat) will save your proverbial bacon. The same device that detects falls and calls the cavalry. The same device that can detect COVID-19 infection before symptoms appear. As smart watches evolve . . .
They will get better at saving lives.
Doctors are already “prescribing” smartwatches for patients with cardiac or pulmonary issues; Docs download the data for more comprehensive and thus accurate analysis. The increasing array of smartwatch sensors combined with increasingly sophisticated AI-directed diagnosis makes the smartwatch increasingly integral to all health care.
And that’s without considering the fitness and diet-related smartwatch apps that are key to preventative care. (Who doesn’t take the shot at an open goal?) Bad news: this is all leading to an [even greater] assault on the traditional watch. cbsnews.com:
Insurers can lessen the rising cost per patient by using wearables as a means of increasing customer life value. Wearable technology incentivizes behavior that reduces hospital visits and readmissions due to poorly managed personal health – 75% of users agree that wearables help them engage with their own health.
Companies are also seeing benefits in offering wearable healthcare technology to employees. According to Insider Intelligence, healthier corporate culture is shown to reduce employee turnover – employers who offer five or more well-being ‘best practices’ had an average turnover of 18%, compared to 29% for those that offer two or fewer.
It’s only a matter of time before insurance companies clock the fact that Apple Watches save life (i.e., reduce payouts) and offer big discounts to customers who agree to wear an approved smartwatch.
In other words, the insurance industry will charge more for your coverage if you don’t wear a smartwatch. (Yup: a hidden tax on traditional watches.) There’s so much money at stake, smartwatches are so inexpensive, I reckon insurers and watchmakers will one day offer smartwatches for “free” with your policy.
Will employers seeking significant health insurance discounts make smartwatch wear mandatory? Sure! Don’t worry about us monitoring you! We won’t do that! You know we’re only making this smartwatch policy because we care about your health and well being.
The downside is obvious: Big Brother. Check this announcement from Tim “Apple Watches save life” Cook [via asia.nikkei.com].
“This fall, Singapore will become the first country to leverage the benefits of Apple Watch by offering incentives for people to use it to stay healthy and active,” Cook said.
The initiative by Apple and Singaporean government, named LumiHealth, is a two-year program aimed to encourage healthy activity and behaviors using any series Apple Watch. Starting next month, Singaporeans and residents will be able to download the LumiHealth app and complete weekly activity goals.
Participants can earn up to 380 Singaporean dollars ($278) in rewards over the two-year duration of the program by completing goals. An Apple Watch is necessary to participate in the program, as is downloading the LumiHealth app from the App Store, according to the announcement.
That’s the carrot. Let’s talk stick . . .
Who holds all that fitness data, including user location and app usage? In this case, it’s the Singapore government, famous for surveillance and human rights abuses, including “detention without trial for up to 12 months if the home affairs minister is satisfied that the person ‘has been associated with activities of a criminal nature,’ and ‘that it is necessary that the person be detained in the interests of public safety, peace and good order.'”
Couldn’t happen here? Who says it isn’t happening already? (Other than Apple and that’s not entirely convincing.) Given the way our politics are going, the potential coercion side of the equation isn’t as far-fetched as it once was.
And then there’s the “I don’t want to die” factor. Take it from a 61-year-old living alone (save a bull terrier named Rex): there will come a time when you’ll want a health monitor on your wrist.
What can traditional watch lovers do about all this? Either give smartwatches and the gov the middle finger, wear your trad watch and take your chances with your health, or double wrist. There are simple wrist-borne health devices that aren’t connected to the web or cellular. For now.
Traditional watch buyers, no matter how you slice it, a hard choice is coming. Or, frighteningly, not.