Tag Archives: wearable

How Wearables Help Fight Covid-19

Man hands with watch and phone with app health

The Covid-19 pandemic forced lifestyle changes to the global population unlike any other event in recent history. As companies like Amazon and Zoom reap major profits from increased demand for online ordering and teleconferencing, wearable app developers are taking a particular interest in how they can do their part to help quell the pandemic.

It’s easy to take a wearable device that tracks key health metrics and market it as helping to detect Covid-19. It’s much harder to create a device with a proven value in helping prevent the spread of the disease. Here’s our rundown of what you need to know about how wearables can help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

WEARABLES CANNOT DIAGNOSE COVID-19

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In an ideal world, your smartwatch could analyze your body on a molecular level to detect whether you have Covid-19. Technology has not evolved, yet, to where this is possible. The only way to diagnose Covid-19 is through a test administered by a health-care professional.

Fortunately, there are several ways in which wearables can help fight the spread of Covid-19 that do not involve direct diagnosis.

WEARABLES CAN DETECT EARLY SYMPTOMS

Wearables make it easy for their users to monitor general health conditions and deviations from their norms. Although wearables cannot detect the difference between the flu and Covid-19, they can collect data which indicates early symptoms of an illness and warns their users.

Fitbit CEO James Park hopes the device will eventually sense these changes in health data and instruct users to quarantine 1-3 days before symptoms start and to follow-up for confirmation with a coronavirus test.

Oura Ring

Oura Ring

Another big player in the Covid-19 wearables space is the Oura ring. The Oura ring is a smart ring that tracks activity, sleep, temperature, pulse, and heart rate. Since the outbreak, it has emerged as a major tool for detecting early symptoms like increased resting heart rate. Most notably, NBA players in Orlando, Florida use the device to monitor their health and detect early symptoms.

WEARABLES HELP KEEP FRONTLINE HEALTH WORKERS SAFE

John A. Rogers, a biomedical engineer at Northwestern University, has been developing a wearable patch that attaches to the user’s throat and helps monitor coughing and respiratory symptoms like shortness of breath.

Wearable patch developed by John A. Rogers of Northwestern University

Wearable patch developed by John A. Rogers of Northwestern University

One of the planned uses of this wearable is to protect frontline health-care workers by detecting if they contract the virus and become sick.

In addition, wearables can help monitor symptoms in hospitalized patients. This will reduce the chance of spreading the infection and exposing infected patients to workers.

ASYMPTOMATIC CARRIERS ARE ANOTHER STORY

Although wearables can collect and identify health data that points toward potential infections, recognizing asymptomatic carriers of the Coronavirus is another story. When carriers show no symptoms, the only way to determine if they have been infected is through a test.

TAKEAWAY

Unless there are significant technological leaps in Covid-19 testing, wearables will not be able to detect infections directly. However, they can help catch symptoms early to prevent the spread. Their ability to assist the pandemic represents a major growth sector. We look forward to seeing how wearable developers will innovate to protect the health of users and our future.

Safety First: Mobile Security Is More Than Worth the Investment

Having established the top mobile app trends for 2016 with our blog App to the Future, the Mystic Media blog is currently exploring each of the top trends in greater detail with a five-part series. This week, in Part 3 of our Top Mobile App Development Trends series, we will be examining security.

2015 saw several major data breaches, including 87 million patient records from Anthem and 21.5 million security clearance apps from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The European Union is currently crafting a General Data Protection Regulation designed to strengthen and unify data protection.

Gartner correctly predicted that over 75% of mobile applications would fail basic security tests in 2015. Many mobile companies are sacrificing security to attain quicker turn-around on smaller budgets, and the result has been disastrous for many. Even Apple hasn’t been safe from mobile app hacks.

Mobile application security is an integral part of the app development process worthy of the same level of attention as app creators give to design, marketing and functionality. With that in mind, here are some of the top app security trends for 2016:

DevOps Protocol on the Rise

In a recent RackSpace Survey of 700 IT manager and business leaders, 66% of respondents had implemented DevOps practices and 79% of those who had yet to implement DevOps planned to by the end of 2015.

DevOps is an approach to app development that emphasizes collaboration between software development, IT operations, security and quality assurance through all stages of the app development process under one automated umbrella. Utilizing a DevOps protocol improves app security by bringing the IT security team in at an early stage to guide the development process away from potential security threats. App Developers gravitate toward DevOps since it speeds up the time to market while increasing innovation. Like a conveyer belt, DevOps puts a system of checks and balances in place at all stages to ensure that the product will be sufficient for delivery.

By opening up the app development process, security team members can inject security into the code early in the development process and eliminate vulnerabilities before they become threats.

Security Risks In Wearable Tech

Wearable technology is on the rise not only in the marketplace, but as a major security vulnerability for businesses. With the technology in nascent stages, developers have been more concerned with creating a functional strategy for the wearable platform than they have been with improving security. Health and Fitness apps leave users the most vulnerable by constantly monitoring the user’s heartbeat, movement and location. With limited UI and an emphasis on usability, wearables severely lack in security features. App developers looking to create safe apps for this platform will have to innovate and dictate the trends in order to create apps that don’t put the user at risk.

IoT (Internet of Things) & BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device)

With the workplace increasingly becoming virtual, malicious hackers acting through the Internet of Things are targeting personal mobile devices in order to find vulnerabilities in businesses.

Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) has increased in popularity in work cultures, each of which represents a potential vulnerability . Smartphone owners generally don’t invest in security on their personal devices with the same thoroughness as a business would when issuing work devices. Due to the boon of mobile work apps, many app developers are cutting corners to meet demand by sacrificing security in service of quicker turnover.

Wise and experienced app developers know you can’t put a price on safety, and they take the necessary precautions to protect the integrity of the app for its users and the app owner.

Major organizations must understand IoT and how it can improve or threaten their business through their employees’ mobile devices. By encouraging a culture of collaboration and welcoming unique expertise into the app development process at an early stage, DevOps practices help ingrain necessary knowledge about IoT and mobile security into organizations.

That’s it for app security! Be on the lookout for part 4 of our series on the top mobile app development trends for 2016 next week when we explore the Internet of Things.

Shaken Not Stirred: Apple Watch’s Anticipated Impact on Wearable Platform

Last year was huge for Apple products. The company announced and released a number of very important advancements, including iPhone 6, iOS 8, OS Yosemite, and Swift. The one product Apple announced but didn’t release could prove to have the most significant impact: Apple Watch.

Wearables are the next big platform for app development. While they’ve already caught on in Toronto, wearables aren’t predicted to receive mass adoption in the US until Apple Watch begins shipping in April. The function of wearables in the user’s daily life isn’t widely understood by the public. As with tablets, until consumers have the opportunity to use the devices and experience first-hand what the fuss is about, they will remain skeptical and the technological and market potential of wearables will remain untapped.

With the release and impact of Apple Watch looming, a surge in relevancy for wearable devices is imminent. As an app developer, wearables present a major opportunity upon which to capitalize: a brand new platform with new rules and plenty of room for innovation.

While the iPad acted as a bridge between the laptop and the smartphone, Apple Watch will have the smallest screen, functional for receiving information and sending out responses via voice memo and dictated text. The screen-size and lack of keyboard mean the controls are extremely simple. One would imagine very few practical applications which would work, however, this summary of the Apple Watch announcement shows how much app developers can do within the simple control scheme: The Verge Apple Watch Announcement in 6 minutes

The Honeywell application allows you to control the temperature of your home. Lutron allows you to control the lighting. Keep up to date on the latest sports scores, check text messages on the go without losing your train of thought. One of the cliche jokes about smartphones revolves around how we use them to avoid eye-contact. They disintegrate our social interactions because we’re constantly getting pulled away from conversations and sucked into the digital world. Apple Watch represents an intermediary device which will allows us to complete the bare essentials of digital communication without losing a step. The user can subtly process information sent to them without appearing rude for pulling out his/her phone.

The simplicity of Apple Watch weeds out overly-complicated unproductive applications to emphasize ways in which technology can aid the user in their day-to-day. The purpose of a watch is to help its owner have a better sense of time and time management. Apple Watch will no doubt see a host of new productivity apps released exclusive to the platform. The ability to set reminders with subtle notifications will allow professionals with busy schedules to stay focused on the task at hand without missing a beat.

Apple Watch presents a potential breakthrough for healthcare apps. Fitness tracks your daily movements and Workout allows users the ability to set goals for themselves and change their habits. Apple Watch will track glucose levels for diabetics. The ability to track heart-rate and movement also offers a host of uses for clinical applications detailed in this report.

About 35 million people reportedly want to buy an Apple Watch within a year of its release, according to Business Insider. It’s expected to be the biggest Apple release of the year and will likely initiate the widespread adoption of wearable devices. With its release looming, we can only speculate and await anxiously the future of wearable devices.

Mystic Media is an app development, web design, and strategic marketing firm located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Contact us today by clicking here or by phone at 801.994.6815