Accuracy should be a priority for wearable tech according to survey

Hydration and stress tracking on the wish list for next gen wearables
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We're always keen to learn more about what people think about wearable tech and a recent survey has revealed some interesting insights into expectations and attitudes towards fitness trackers, smartwatches, smart clothing and the rest of the wearable fraternity.

The survey was conducted by the MEMS & Sensors Industry Group and Valencell, a company that provides biometric sensor technology for wearables and currently has its tech inside Jabra's Pulse Sport headphones and the Atlas Wristband gym tracker. We recently spoke to Valencell to get its thoughts on the big optical heart rate accuracy debate.

Essential reading: The future of tracking in 2017 and beyond

It only polled 706 US consumers, of which 43% already owned a wearable device and 63% believed accuracy as a highly important feature. That was followed by comfort (57%) and battery life (47%).

80% felt owning a wearable has had a positive impact on their life while 74% would consider buying one if the accuracy could help them to better manage their health.

Dr. Steven LeBoeuf, president and co-founder of Valencell commented on the findings that consumers demanded more accuracy saying, "More consumers than ever before are looking to biometric wearables to monitor their health and fitness, and wearables that cannot be trusted for accuracy will ultimately lose-out to wearables that have been properly validated."

More than step counting

Other interesting findings included what consumers wanted beyond the standard tracking with the breakdown as follows:

- 55% would like to monitor stress
- 48% would like to monitor hydration
- 46% would like to monitor blood pressure
- 38% would like to monitor sunlight/UV exposure
- 35% would like to monitor key vitamin and supplement levels

One insight that we've definitely heard before is the idea that many decide to ditch their wearable tech after a few months of living with it. According to the survey, more than a third gave up using one with the reasons for doing so including the hassle of recharging, the lack of accuracy and not trusting the data.

While it might not be the biggest survey, it does highlight some issues we've been very vocal about. Particularly the importance of accuracy, with Fitbit among the companies to come under scrutiny over whether its heart rate data is reliable.

The demand for stress tracking is interesting too as it's something we thought would be a big deal and made it into our Wareable 50 gamechangers list for 2016. It will no doubt be a source of good news for devices like the WellBe and the Zenta biometric bracelet currently being developed by London startup Zenta, both of which promise to monitor stress.

Do you agree with the findings of the survey? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Accuracy should be a priority for wearable tech according to survey

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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