Philips dives into global consumer health tech with new wearables ‘ecosystem’

Philips has made another substantial, if traditionally risky, move into the direct to consumer (DTC) health monitoring segment with a limited wearables ‘ecosystem’ under a new Personal Health Solutions division. It contains five FDA-cleared products for monitoring vital signs. Four peripherals download via a watch to iPhone/Android phone apps which run on version 2.0 of the Philips HealthSuite (with Salesforce1) mobile app. Earlier the apps were marketed in NL and BE.

While the release states they are globally available, initially it appears they are being marketed direct to consumer for the US only. Purchase is direct on the site. All devices are Bluetooth LE and sync with the watch and smartphone app/dashboard (available on Google Play and the Apple Store). The watch/app also tracks exercise with activity recognition, calorie tracking and sleep patterning, with the app providing some education content.

  • Watch $249
  • Body Analysis Scale (weight, body fat, BMI) $100
  • BP/pulse (upper arm) $100, (wrist) $90
  • Ear Thermometer $60

Interestingly, their existing DTC PERS enterprise, Lifeline, is not linked to or mentioned.

Prices are mid-range to high, making this a prima facie tough sell. The watch is priced on the upper end of Fitbit, for instance, and is plain vanilla compared to it and Withings, but having pre-synched devices is attractive.  Moreover, DTC without major advertising and online marketing to build awareness and motivation make it even tougher. This Editor speculates that any marketing will be held off to the fall and likely after the US election as rates are sky high till then. The real purpose may be for a different market entirely. According to North America director Eline deGraaf’s statement in MedCityNews, Philips is using it as an opening to payers, physician groups and ACOs. Business Wire release, MediaPost IoT Daily, TechCrunch

In addition to HealthSuite, Philips is acquiring in the healthcare area, the latest in July being Wellcentive, a US-based developer of population health management software solutions. Earlier this year, Philips announced partnerships with Validic to expand HealthSuite via access to Validic’s third-party device data [TTA 4 Feb] and late last year with Amazon Web Services [TTA 16 Oct 15].


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