Wearables and health monitors are nothing new: we've seen bundles of fitness trackers, bands, smart scales and more from a variety of manufacturers. Which is why Philips' personal health programmes suite of products is an interesting take on the health market, for it focuses on not only maintaining health but also managing chronic conditions.
The products, sold separately, are made-up of the Health Watch, a £250 continuous heart-rate monitor and wrist-worn hub to the system; blood pressure monitor (£90 for the upper-arm one, £70 for the wrist-worn one); Body Analysis Scale (£90) to measure weight, estimate body fat percentage and BMI calculation; and even an ear thermometer (£45) for taking temperature.
Packages from competition such as the Under Armour HealthBox total £349 for wearable, scales and chest-strap heart-rate monitor, which makes the more practical Philips wrist-worn combination of Health Watch and Body Analysis Scales more affordable. And let's not forget that a large part of the Philips business is based in supplying medical-grade products to healthcare businesses.
The hub of the system, the Health Watch, which communicates with an associated app on phone or tablet, is able to measure heart-rate and even sleep patterns for around four days at a time, Philips claims. After which it will need a 40-minute stop to recharge. No interchangeable batteries means this might not always be practical, but that's an issue with most current products in this sector.
The Health Watch will auto detect raises or drops in heart-rate and associate these to exercise, such as running or cycling, or sleep, as a means to assess stress. Being able to look back over these will act as a means to identify stress factors in given days or weeks and take action. If you have high or low blood pressure then integrating a monitor for this to your package may further assist with countering ongoing conditions.
The system can also handle food data input, whether via the app or the watch itself, the Body Analysis Scales obviously being the means to continually measure and, the theory being, hit your goal of weight/mass gain or loss.
The Philips personal health programmes products have been a long time coming - we've seen the Health Watch before now - but will finally go on sale in September 2016. Looks like a serious take on health monitoring - we'll be pulling together the full suite for a long-term ongoing review as and when it becomes available.