Smart watches

Smartwatches become health tools

NEW DELHI: R Rajhans, a retired pharmaceutical professional living in Indore, was lucky to escape when his Apple Watch’s ECG app alerted him to atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat). This prompted him to see a cardiologist immediately, which led to surgery that saved his life. Rajhans’ son wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook and was pleasantly surprised when Cook replied saying, “Thank you for sharing this. I am happy to see that your father received timely medical attention and I hope he is feeling better now.
With a growing focus on fitness, especially amid the pandemic, there has been a surge in the adoption of high-end premium smartwatches that continuously monitor vital health stats.
Products from Apple, Samsung, Garmin and Fitbit (now owned by Google) have seen surprising growth in demand, perhaps helped by people’s growing concerns around coronavirus and also their sedentary lifestyles during periods of locking. The trend has prompted Samsung to manufacture watches in India, while Fitbit is also exploring local sourcing.

Smartwatches, especially those from established global brands, cost upwards of Rs 20,000 and promise early vital health indicators that go far beyond the “fitness only” features offered by low-end smartbands and watches.
Samsung’s Watch 3 comes with a blood oxygen feature that helps you measure and track oxygen saturation over time, which is essential in times of Covid. Additionally, when a potential drop in oxygen level is detected, the person’s location is immediately sent to pre-designated contacts, allowing for prompt medical assistance. Mohandeep Singh, senior vice president of Samsung India, said the company is seeking permissions to offer the ECG and blood pressure monitoring features.
Apple’s latest series of watches, in addition to being a style statement, also offer blood oxygen level tracking, sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection and new types of coaching. Apple COO Jeff Williams said the new device “becomes even more indispensable by providing greater insight into overall well-being.”
Alok Shankar, Country Managing Director of Fitbit India, said “consumer interactions” with devices have increased multiple times since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Ali Rizvi, Director of Garmin India, said Garmin watches now even come with solar charging options that ensure a minimum need for regular charging.