Samsung recently held its Voice of the Body launch, timing the event ahead of any potential Apple announcement set for the Apple a week later.
Samsung announced to two pronged strategy to help drive wearable devices within mhealth and place the company at the center of an emerging ecosystem that draws consumer devices and healthcare services together.
The two announcements were:
· : A wristband design with embedded sensors and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity that has multiple sensors, using optical, electrical, and physical methods of collecting heart rate, blood flow, temperature, and carbon dioxide and oxygen levels. It also has a screen to show results, as well as space for additional sensors to be mounted. UCSF and the University of Chicago are two institutions that are already working with Samsung and the Simband.
· : A data collection platform with open API’s and no format or structure requirements for sensor data. This aims to be the secure cloud repository for multiple sensor device data streams, providing the basis for big data analysis of both worldwide and personal health trends.
Samsung is hoping to draw sensor designers and software developers to embrace these platforms as a way of developing new products without having to reinvent common parts that can instead come from Samsung. It is also hoping that by bringing as much data as possible to the Simband and SAMI platforms, the industry will avoid the fragmentation that has prevented faster adoption of mHeath products and their integration into healthcare provision.
The development of mHeath to date is one that has failed to bring sufficient consumer numbers or market heft to drive adoption and push into healthcare provision. However, more and more consumers are using connected activity trackers. Samsung rightly sees the potential for these types of devices to develop into collecting more data, more efficiently, more accurately, and for that data to be shared and mined to improve healthcare provision.
Samsung has not only put some foundations in place, it has also underlined the direction in which healthcare is moving. It is the scale of Samsung and its evident commitment that make its plans all the more important. Underpinning the extent of the company’s reach, even during the Voice of the Body presentation, Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer at Samsung, had to back track a little. He stated that Samsung can't do everything on its own; that it isn't a healthcare company and it needs partners, before adding that Samsung does in fact produce medical devices and runs a few hospitals.
Samsung set down a bold marker for a new wave of potential within mHealth; the value and the potential of its developments will be judged more fully when we will see what kind of competition Apple might bring.