Fitbit has announced plans to leverage Google Cloud in a bid to accelerate digital healthcare innovation and claw back Apple’s growing market share.
According to data last month from IDC, Apple surged past Fitbit and Xiaomi to claim the top spot in wearables. Fitbit acquired smartwatch manufacturer Pebble for $23 million last year which resulted in a marked improvement in the design and support for apps on their wearables, but now it seems Fitbit is going back to its health roots.
Fitbit will be making use of Google’s new Cloud Healthcare API to enable deeper access to health records using open standards. The idea is to build a secure platform where healthcare providers around the world can access patients’ records, and collaborate where necessary, to ensure they are providing the best care possible.
Somalee Datta, Ph.D., Stanford School of Medicine Director of Research IT, says:
"Open standards are critical to healthcare interoperability as well as for enabling biomedical research. We have been using the Google Cloud Genomics API for a long time and are very excited to see Google Cloud expanding its offerings to include the new Cloud Healthcare API.
The ability to combine interoperability with Google Cloud’s scalable analytics will have a transformative impact on our research community."
The end goal is for the platform to help train machine learning models which can help with the earlier diagnosis, and more effective treatment, of health problems.
Gregory Moore MD, Vice President of Healthcare at Google Cloud, explains:
“At Google, our vision is to transform the way health information is organized and made useful. By enabling Fitbit to connect and manage key health and fitness data using our Google Cloud Healthcare API, we are getting one step closer to this goal.
Together, we have the opportunity to deliver up-to-date information to providers, enhancing their ability to follow and manage the health of their patients and guide their treatment.”
Fitbit decided on Google as a partner for more than just its API. The company believes Google Cloud will allow it to ‘scale faster’ and provides AI and machine learning capabilities to deliver more insights to consumers on how to improve their health.
Apple has a huge development community behind its devices that it’s a struggle for competitors to match, even Google with its Wear OS platform has some difficulty. Fitbit now has most of the apps and features consumers use daily, such as payments, so focusing on using its brand identity to differentiate on health solutions makes strategic sense.
“Over the past decade, we have built an incredible foundation as the leading wearables brand, helping millions of people around the world make lasting behaviour changes that improve their health and wellness through fun and engaging experiences,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “This collaboration will accelerate the pace of innovation to define the next generation of healthcare and wearables.”
What are your thoughts on Fitbit’s partnership with Google? Let us know in the comments.
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