Smart watches become health tools

With a growing focus on fitness, especially amid the pandemic, there has been strong growth in the adoption of premium, high-end smartwatches that constantly monitor vital health statistics.

R Rajhans, a retired pharma professional living in Indore, had a lucky escape as the ECG app in his Apple Watch alerted him about an atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat). This prompted him to immediately visit a cardiologist, which led to a surgery that saved his life.

Rajhans’s son wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook, and was pleasantly surprised when Cook responded back, saying, “Thank you for sharing this. I am happy to note that your father received medical attention in time and I hope he is feeling better now.”

With growing focus on fitness, especially amid the pandemic, there has been strong growth in adoption of premium, high-end smart watches that constantly monitor vital health statistics.


Products from Apple, Samsung, Garmin and Fitbit (now owned by Google) have seen a surprising growth in demand, perhaps aided by the rising concerns of people around the coronavirus and also their sedentary lifestyle during periods of lockdown. The trend has prompted Samsung to make watches in India, while Fitbit is also exploring local sourcing.

Smart watches become health tools

The smart watches, especially by established global brands, cost over Rs 20,000 and promise early vital health indicators that are way beyond the ‘fitness-only’ features offered by smart bands and low-end watches.

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Samsung’s Watch 3 comes with a blood oxygen feature that helps you measure and track oxygen saturation over time, something critical during Covid times. Also, when a potential fall in oxygen level is detected, the person’s location is sent immediately to pre-designated contacts, helping one to get prompt medical assistance. Mohandeep Singh, senior VP at Samsung India, said the company is seeking clearances to offer the ECG and blood pressure monitoring functions.

Apple’s latest watch series, apart from being a style statement, also offers tracking of blood oxygen levels, sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection, and new workout types. Apple’s COO Jeff Williams said the new device “becomes even more indispensable by providing further insight into overall well-being”.

Alok Shankar, country GM for Fitbit India, said that “consumer interactions” with devices have gone up manifold since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Ali Rizvi, director at Garmin India, said that Garmin watches now even come with solar charging options that ensure there is minimum need for regular charging.
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