Smarten up your fet­tle and get well

China Daily (USA) - - HONG KONG - Sally@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

When Shen­zhen en­tre­pre­neur Gong Yu came to re­al­ize the daunt­ing num­ber of Chi­nese peo­ple be­ing trou­bled by chronic dis­eases, she was de­ter­mined to do some­thing mean­ing­ful.

Ac­cord­ing to a World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion re­port in 2016, about 110 mil­lion peo­ple on the Chi­nese main­land — nearly 10 per­cent of all adults — were liv­ing with di­a­betes. With­out ur­gent ac­tion to im­prove their ex­ist­ing life­style, like lack of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, the re­port warned, that num­ber is ex­pected to soar to 150 mil­lion by 2040.

Most pa­tients know that in ad­di­tion to med­i­ca­tion, sports can help im­prove their sit­u­a­tion. But, the key is­sue is that they don’t know how to do sports in an ef­fi­cient way in or­der to achieve the best out­come, says Gong, who is chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Getwell Health Ex­er­cise Tech Co.

“What is the most suit­able way and in­ten­sity for them? It’s not to say the more sports they do, the bet­ter. Un­sci­en­tific ex­er­cise may have op­po­site ef­fects,” she tells China Daily.

“In the health man­age­ment sec­tor, a num­ber of achieve­ments have been made in med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy. But, in sports, there are few break­throughs.”

With the idea of “mak­ing sports more ef­fi­cient” in mind, Gong and her team de­vel­oped Getwell T1 — a health man­age­ment hard­ware de­vice.

By mon­i­tor­ing oxy­gen con­tent in users’ blood cap­il­lary and an­a­lyz­ing the data it re­ceives, Getwell T1 as­sesses their in­stant phys­i­cal sit­u­a­tion and judges whether they should con­tinue or need to stop.

The de­vice also for­mu­lates in­di­vid­ual schemes for users based on their per­sonal needs and phys­i­cal con­di­tion, guid­ing them to im­prove the qual­ity of ex­er­cise.

Tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion and a grow­ing aware­ness of phys­i­cal health among the gen­eral pub­lic have spurred the de­vel­op­ment of health man­age­ment-re­lated in­tel­li­gent hard­ware on the Chi­nese main­land, with var­i­ous brands flood­ing into the mar­ket.

How­ever, they are show­ing in­creas­ing ho­mo­gene­ity, as most of the prod­ucts are de­signed to mon­i­tor one’s heart rate.

Ac­cord­ing to Gong, the heart rate can eas­ily be af­fected by ex­ter­nal fac­tors such as noise, tem­per­a­ture change or in­take of medicine and, there­fore, can be un­sta­ble.

“That could lead to a re­duc­tion in the ac­cu­racy of mon­i­tor­ing,” she ex­plains. “We’ve now come up with this new way of mea­sure­ment with higher sta­bil­ity and ac­cu­racy.” The mar­ket for med­i­cal health-re­lated in­tel­li­gent hard­ware on the Chi­nese main­land ex­panded re­mark­ably in 2015 — from 340 mil­lion yuan ($51.2 mil­lion) in 2014 to 720 mil­lion yuan — rep­re­sent­ing a 112-per­cent growth, ac­cord­ing to mar­ket re­search firm iRe­search. The mar­ket amounted to 940 mil­lion yuan last year, but growth slowed down to 31 per­cent year-on-year. The sta­tis­tics didn’t in­clude smart band and smart watch prod­ucts for sports. Gong says her com­pany will fo­cus on two ar­eas. One is to help pa­tients with chronic dis­eases re­cover.

It is cur­rently work­ing with 13 hospi­tals on the main­land to­ward that goal. At a hospi­tal af­fil­i­ated to He­nan Univer­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy in cen­tral He­nan prov­ince, 300 pa­tients with di­a­betes have used the de­vice in an ex­per­i­ment.

The re­sult shows their health has im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly with Getwell, ul­ti­mately en­abling them to do sports, says Gong.

In an­other ex­per­i­ment in the lab­o­ra­tory of the Nan­jing Sport In­sti­tute in east­ern Jiangsu prov­ince, the smart de­vice was made to com­pare its ac­cu­racy with large med­i­cal equip­ment.

“The ac­cu­racy rate of our de­vice in test­ing aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity reached 85 to 92 per­cent com­pared with the pro­fes­sional Gong Yu, fa­cil­ity,” says Gong.

The other fo­cus area is fit­ness. “We plan to co­op­er­ate with 100 to 300 fit­ness clubs within a year. That will help fit­ness in­struc­tors make bet­ter plans for sports en­thu­si­asts and make fit­ness more ef­fi­cient.”

The Getwell T1 is ex­pected to de­but on the main­land mar­ket by the end of next month.

Feng Chao, an an­a­lyst at Bei­jing-based con­sul­tancy Analysys In­ter­na­tional, says health man­age­ment is a ma­jor sec­tor for smart hard­ware man­u­fac­tur­ers to tap into and that has led to ho­mo­gene­ity.

“At present, smart hard­ware de­vices on the mar­ket are mainly sleep, blood pres­sure or heart rate mon­i­tors. Peo­ple, es­pe­cially the el­derly group and those with chronic dis­eases, have strong de­mand for such de­vices,” she says.

“More­over, this kind of mon­i­tor­ing tech­nol­ogy has ma­tured and the de­vices are able to pro­duce ac­cu­rate re­sults. That’s why many man­u­fac­tur­ers have marched into the mar­ket.”

In fu­ture, Feng reck­ons, health man­age­ment-re­lated de­vices may be­come the core of the smart hard­ware mar­ket.

Right now, smart hard­ware func­tions to­gether with mo­bile phones, by link­ing with an app. “With the de­vel­op­ment of screen tech­nol­ogy, health man­age­ment smart de­vices are ex­pected to make greater break­throughs, with the func­tion of in­stant cal­cu­la­tion in­te­grated into them. That will, to some ex­tent, sup­ple­ment or re­place the role of mo­bile phones and make them be­come a helper in our daily lives,” says the an­a­lyst.

In the health man­age­ment sec­tor, a num­ber of achieve­ments have been made in med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy. But, in sports, there are few break­throughs.” chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Getwell Health Ex­er­cise Tech Co

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