Low energy is best for health and fitness devices

Smartphones are becoming smarter and this is increasingly being recognised by the medical community.

We are seeing an increase in medical apps measuring body parameters such as body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure and the recently released Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standard is rapidly gaining traction as one of the best ways to link these devices wirelessly to the phone.

By building the new capabilities on the existing Bluetooth standard used in every smartphone, BLE is increasingly the obvious choice for anyone developing devices to monitor health or fitness.

Using the phone as the monitoring centre and data aggregator allows manufacturers to develop smaller and cheaper devices, using the phone to provide a great user interface.
But!! Is this really true? There are other radio connectivity technologies which are equally suited to medical apps such as ZigBee and ANT+

IMS Research has predicted that BLE will dominate, saying half of the ICs shipped for health and fitness applications in 2015 will be BLE devices.

I’m inclined to disagree and think that there is great scope for these other technologies particularly with the Continua Alliance working to promote interoperability between medical devices.

I would be interested in hearing other opinions in the industry on this moot point – I am sure there is plenty of room in the industry for many communication platforms as there are some very bright people out there and why shouldn’t they use their incredible knowledge to make the world a healthier place?

This post is by Joe Lomako, Business Development Manager, TRaC