Apple and Fitbit lose out to start-ups on wearable-based social distancing

Following the announcements by Proxxi and Estimote that they are launching wearable bands with social distancing features;

Swati Verma, Thematic Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view regarding new opportunities for wearable tech companies.

“Social distancing could stay in place until 2022, creating new opportunities for wearable tech companies. However, neither Apple nor Fitbit has released social distancing apps for their smart watches and trackers. It is imperative for them to move fast or lose out.

“Start-up firm Proxxi has launched a wrist-worn wearable device that vibrates to notify the wearer of the presence of another band within six feet distance. Likewise, Estimote has released a Bluetooth-based wearable device for industrial employees to be aware of safe distances from each other.

“Wearables have failed to take off in an industrial setting, but an intensified focus on worker safety creates new opportunities, particularly in efforts to accelerate employees’ return to work. GlobalData expects that healthcare, manufacturing and logistics will be among the first adopters of this technology.

“If Apple and Fitbit do not release this functionality soon, employers will start the mass roll-out of competitors’ technology. After this time it may be too late to enter the market.”

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