Wearable Technology: A Game Changer for the Disabled

This article is part of ParkerWhite’s weekly series, “Health and Wellness This Week,” a roundup of the latest healthcare marketing news and what it means for your marketing strategy.We all know by now the many benefits of wearable technologies, mostly for tracking your health stats and measuring your exercise activities. However, wearable technology is going far beyond these measures. There are many new breakthroughs in these technologies that are changing what it means to be disabled. Did you know that “nearly 1 in 5 people report some sort of disability in the U.S?” (U.S. Census Bureau) These latest innovations are improving the quality of life for disabled individuals around the world by giving them back their senses and helping them in daily activities.

This week in health and wellness:

  • The story of the “bionic woman” and how wearable technology helps her navigate the streets of NYC
  • Apple Watch’s haptic technology opening new avenues of communication for the hearing impaired
  • Newly developed ADAMAAS smart glasses provide context-appropriate assistance based on what the wearer is doing

Wearable Tech for People With Disabilities

This U.S News article shares the story of a hearing-impaired PhD student in NYC who no longer has to limit her social interactions or be embarrassed when adjusting her hearing aid. Now, with her Starkey’s Halo hearing aids and her Pebble Smartwatch, she can freely wander around the city and control the volume of her hearing aid through her watch without any embarrassment. She can now live an independent life, without having to worry about her disability.

Marketing Strategy Insights:

  • Since this is a fairly new market to target, companies must ensure that they clearly present their differentiating factors and their benefits to be able to capture and sustain a substantial market share
  • Accuracy is essential. These technologies must ensure the highest levels of accuracy to gain consumer trust and avoid injuries
  • In addition to the disabled, many of these companies should start targeting the aging population.

How the Apple Watch is opening up new ways to communicate

This Mashable article discusses how the Apple Watch is providing a new level of accessibility for the disability community. By delivering taps to the wrist, the watches’ haptic technology is drastically improving the consumer’s navigation. An Apple Watch customer, Alex Jones states, "I use the haptic technology to tell me when I arrive in the city ... with the deaf community, we can feel the pulses whether to go left or right." He also expresses how valuable Apple’s technology has been to him by providing him an outlet to communicate with his deaf friends through FaceTime.

Marketing Strategy Insights:

  • As more disabled individuals start depending on these technologies, there will be new demands and expectations. Companies will need to develop assistive applications to continue improving these individuals’ quality of life
  • Other developers will start entering this market but they must be able to provide more value or be set at a lower price point than the Apple watch is currently in order to compete strategically
  • What other things can the Apple Watch assist with? The opportunities are endless. The company can start building complementary products to assist disabled individuals

ADAMAAS smart glasses to assist elderly and disabled in everyday tasks

We know what you are thinking. What’s ADAMAAS? We thought it was Google Glass. Yes, Google released their own smart glass a few years back, but there’s a new player in town. ADAMAAS stands for "Adaptive and Mobile Action Assistance in Daily Living Activities". These glasses are targeted at the niche market of the elderly and disabled. These glasses determine what the wearer is doing in order to automatically generate context-appropriate assistance in the form of text or visuals. By doing so, it is not only allowing these individuals to complete their tasks, but do them better.

Marketing Strategy Insights:

  • This approach to interactive wearables with an on-the-spot diagnosing and information sharing is unique. Barriers to entry are plenty, so if it operates effectively, ADAMAAS could have great success
  • Although they are starting with a niche market, ADAMAAS can be useful to the mass market. The scope of its future growth is drastic as it can target children, students, and many other consumers
  • Partnerships can arise as ADAMAAS can work cooperatively with information sourcing companies to be able to provide accurate information, in the proper format, at the right time
Wearable Technology: A Game Changer for the Disabled - PW