A 'Matter for wearables' standard could transform consumer health tech devices, and integrate them with our home devices too.
That's according to Aaron Goldmuntz, who chairs the Health and Wellness Working Group at the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), who spoke to Wareable.
The CSA's announcement that it's started work on a unified standard for health wearables certainly caught the eye – especially after the success it has enjoyed with Matter.
The creation of Matter brought together Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon – among many others – to bring order to the Wild West of smart home device compatibility.
And now the Alliance turning its attention to wearables.
The exploration of healthcare in the home
The CSA has already outlined that its 'Matter for wearables' will initially focus on aging in place.
That means bringing devices together that would enable caregivers and doctors to monitor people at home, and enable elderly people to stay in their homes longer and reduce the burden on services.
“We're going to start with aging in place. It's a great intersection. The aging population is a demographic that's very important.
"Our generation is interested in taking care of, and supporting, our loved ones living independently as they age,” said Aaron Goldmuntz who is also Chief Operating Officer of the Centre for Medical interoperability.
“This is the exploration of healthcare in the home and all its forms and fashions,” Goldmuntz said.
“What the Connectivity Standards Alliance with Matter has done with the smart home ecosystem creates a ripe opportunity to extend that to healthcare in a meaningful way.”
And Goldmuntz, who works in the healthcare sector, sees a far bigger prize ahead – with at-home medical care now normalized in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
“We think it has a lot of implications for more advanced use cases for home healthcare, such as post-discharge and remote patient monitoring. Because once you connect those devices in a secure private way, with scalability, it will help those markets as well,” he continued.
The end goal is to create something that can help keep people in their homes longer – whether that’s by managing conditions, or by making smart home devices compatible with health ones.
“Hypertension is a big problem in the US and a lot of elderly people are living with multiple chronic conditions,” Goldmuntz continued.
And he doesn't see Matter smart home standards are separate – but parallel, where health wearables and devices in the smart home can work seamlessly – as well as integrating data from a range of difference sources.
“It could be how well they're eating, and you could start to integrate appliances and some other things like that to provide some more valuable information.
"But then you layer on top of that blood pressure monitoring, and share that information with friends and family or caregiver who could help them manage it,” he said.
Goldmuntz also highlighted other examples, where fall detection features could talk to smart door locks to allow access for first responders.
But first, there needs to be a common standard for all these devices to talk to one another – which is the aim of the Health and Wellness Working Group.
A rising tide lifts all boats
And for that to happen the CSA needs to get as many stakeholders involved as possible.
That means getting every major player, such as Dexcom, Abbott, Omron, and other huge medical device companies to align with each other, and consumer wearables brands too. And that means dealing with regulated devices. It won’t be easy.
“I do think that it's going to be a process bring all of the players together. But if we were able to do it with some of the biggest, the biggest giants in the smart home ecosystem, I think we're collectively up to the challenge,” said Michelle Mindala-Freeman, Head Of Marketing & Member Services at the CSA.
“We need to inspire these companies to look at this problem in a way that where standardization is going to be able to help. And understand that a rising tide lifts all boats,” she said.
And this is part of the process. Brands need to be signed up to affect the standard that’s created – else they could be on the outside later on.
“We've been doing this for 20 years now. So we have it down to a science. We ballot an early specification so that we can have feature lockdown. We validate that spec. Then development begins,” Mindala-Freeman explained.
It’s a huge challenge, but off the back of successfully launching Matter, there’s a huge buzz about what else can be achieved.
“It’s a world of possibility, and we're looking for folks to come and join the party. Come and help us shape this new space.”
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