Within the Android ecosystem, Samsung has been quite successful with its smartwatch portfolio delivering on a multi-device promise that expanded what was possible with Android Wear. In 2021, Samsung and Google teamed up to revamp the Wear OS mobile platform under the new name “Wear” and combine Samsung’s Tizen and Google’s Android Wear to create a faster, smarter, and more responsive wearables experience. While we’re still waiting to see the real impact of this partnership, Samsung has remained steadfast in delivering new fitness and health features. The most recent update was the announcement of One UI 5 Watch for upcoming Galaxy Watch devices to deliver a more personalized and intuitive health experience, including improvements to sleep better, new fitness features such as the personalized heart rate zone, and safety updates such as the option to enable fall detection. activated by default for users of advanced ages to reduce the risk of emergency situations.
When it comes to sleep, this update to the One UI Watch focuses on a more holistic and complete sleep experience by understanding personal sleep patterns, building healthy habits and establishing a sleep-friendly environment. Galaxy Watch users can now use stats such as snoring hours, blood oxygen levels and sleep stages to score their previous night’s sleep.
One UI 5 Watch will be rolling out to the upcoming Galaxy Watch series for the first time later this year, with more updates to be announced soon. From May, Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch4 series users in the US can register for the beta program through the Samsung Members app.
I spoke with dr. Hon Pak, Vice President and Head of Digital Health Team, Mobile eXperience Business at Samsung Electronics, on Samsung’s desire to be a changing force in consumer health. Dr. Pak is a seasoned corporate physician with more than 25 years of strategic healthcare leadership in health information technology across the public and private sectors. He joined Samsung Electronics in 2020 as Chief Medical Officer, where he led the digital health strategy for Samsung Electronics America. His passion for empowering consumers to take greater control of their own health through technology and data was evident throughout the interview.
“We want to improve the health of billions of people who use their devices through connected care at home. We strive to connect people, their doctors and telehealth services while harnessing the power of connected devices throughout the home. There is no doubt that connected care at home is the future of healthcare as it is the cheapest healthcare center and where health can be monitored regularly,” explains Dr. Unpack.
The decision to provide more value to consumers by focusing on sleep was made for two main reasons: the impact sleep has on overall health and the immediate positive impact technology can have on improving overall health by enhancing sleep. improve.
Sleep is a vital process for our physical and mental well-being. It helps us restore our energy, regulate our hormones, consolidate our memory and repair our tissues. However, many people need more quality sleep due to various factors such as stress, lifestyle, environment or medical conditions.
Lack of sleep can negatively impact other aspects of health, such as stress and weight. When we’re sleep-deprived, our bodies produce more cortisol, a stress hormone that can increase inflammation, blood pressure, and appetite. This can lead to weight gain, cardiovascular problems and a weakened immune system. In addition, a lack of sleep can affect our mood, cognition and decision-making. As a result, we may feel more irritable, anxious, depressed, or impulsive. We may also have trouble concentrating, learning or remembering things. Needless to say, this has health implications and direct costs when you think about productivity and education.
Samsung recognizes that quality sleep is the foundation of our holistic health and wants to go beyond helping customers track their sleep to driving behavior change. Samsung said that about 50% of Galaxy Watch users track their sleep at least once a week, and 40% do it more than three times a week. Sleep coaching supports that change in habits by using a month-long personalized program that tracks your sleep patterns for seven days and then assigns one of eight sleep symbol animals to represent it, making it more recognizable to consumers. Sleep coaching then puts you on the path to learning healthy habits and routines to help you achieve a good night’s sleep.
According to dr. Pak it is becoming increasingly clear that cardiovascular disease, diabetes and all these major chronic diseases that have a significant cost to society have clear associations with sleep. Unique to sleep is also the direct positive influence on health. “With sleep, there is no latency. If you smoke now, the risk will be in 10, 20, 30 years. Same with sports. You feel a little better after exercise, but the real benefits come over time,” says Pak, adding, “The benefit of a better night’s sleep is quite immediate and we believe that starting there will be more in the future. can bring more change.’
While I was with Dr. Pak spoke, it became clear that Samsung is one of the few brands that can provide a holistic view of what affects sleep because they have such a strong presence in the home. From SmartThings and connected devices, Samsung can detect many of the things that can affect sleep, from how long we spend on our TV, PC and smartphone screens to what noise levels are around us to how often the lights are on. our bedroom is turned on at night or even how hot or cold our room is. Dr. Pak shared my enthusiasm for the opportunities Samsung has in this segment, adding that brand trust is a critical part of success, something Samsung already has in many homes. A second factor is the ability to build on a rich ecosystem of partners that can offer additional devices such as smart mattresses or services such as telemedicine.
Rolling out this type of end-to-end service is challenging, as it requires consumer buy-in first, as well as other hardware vendors, healthcare providers, and sometimes even health insurers. Still, Samsung has already had some success engaging key healthcare providers, such as Kaiser Permanente, to conduct studies on the positive impact of technology on home rehabilitation. It will be interesting to see what new features will come to the next generation Galaxy Watch expected in late summer and how many will be made available to previous generations. Although dr. If I didn’t specifically mention the democratization of personal health, I’d expect it to be part of what Samsung wants to bolster. Over the years, their core health features have always trickled down to lower price points and earlier generations as long as the hardware allowed.
Revelation: The Heart of Tech is a research and consulting firm engaged or engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services for many technology companies, including those featured in this column. The author has no stock holdings in any of the companies listed in this column.