Fitbit has been collaborating with The Scripps Research Institute and Stanford Medicine on research aimed at using Fitbit data to help detect, track and contain infectious diseases like COVID-19. However, Fitbit’s fitness tools are not accurate enough to detect COVID-19 symptoms, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Shabnam Pervez, analyst at Thematic Research, comments: “Research by Oxford University has stated that smartphones cannot have reliable built-in oximeters to monitor blood-oxygen levels, while Fitbit has previously clarified that its products are not designed to be used as medical devices. Wearable tech has accelerated in popularity and functionality since 2014, but its ability to provide evidence of COVID-19 systems is as yet unproven.
“Trying to slow COVID-19 is hard enough without adding concerns over Google-owned Fitbit’s accuracy levels, and the fact that Google makes most of its profits through the collection and use of personal data. Fitbit should stick to simple fitness tracking and leave COVID-19 tracking to the professionals.”
The wearable tech industry was worth nearly $23bn in 2018.