Samsung sees health moving into the home, and the company believes there are huge opportunities in the older adult market.
Wearable devices like the ones Samsung offers are creating new ways for health care providers to collect information such as body composition, heart rate and sleep patterns — and therein lies a growing opportunity, according to Hon Pak, who is chief medical officer at Samsung Electronics.
“With wearables, particularly with the aging population, it’s a different way of engaging them than mobile devices,” he said during the SXSW 2022 conference, according to Fierce Healthcare. “This device on our wrist, it started out as a toy for measuring steps, and now it’s headed toward colliding with medical devices that are being manufactured.”
According to Fierce Healthcare, Pak added that he believes that within five to 10 years, wearable devices will be able to relay continuous information to health care providers, such as blood glucose or blood pressure.
“Once you start doing that, it will fundamentally change how we practice medicine,” he added.
Aging-in-place for older adults is not a new focus for Samsung, which for years has worked to adapt its technology for use with seniors.
Samsung is among an increasingly crowded field of tech giants executing on health care strategies that could disrupt senior living, including Amazon, Google, Apple and retailer Best Buy.
Best Buy in particular is forging ahead with a health strategy revolving around older adults. The company in 2017 introduced Assured Living, through which consumers can buy remote monitoring equipment such as movement-tracking sensors and smart home technology such as voice-enabled thermostats.
A year later, the company invested $800 million to acquire GreatCall, which develops and sells smartphones, smartwatches, medical alert devices and other technology designed for older adults.
The company also offers guidance and troubleshooting for customers through its Geek Squad and In-Home Advisors. Additionally, Best Buy Health gives customers 24/7 access to “social care experts,” with services such as “loneliness calls” and help with appointment scheduling.
Although companies like Best Buy could present a threat to senior care providers, adapting and working with them also poses an opportunity for senior living companies given the large amounts of money the tech giants are investing in the space.
That sentiment was reflected in the comments of Best Buy Health President Deborah Di Sanzo, who reportedly said during SXSW that “technology is moving into health, and health is moving into the home.”
“If you were a consumer electronics retailer five years ago, and you said to yourself, ‘Where is consumer electronics going?’ you’re going to say ‘Well, it’s going with all the great tech that Samsung is coming up with and putting in our house.’” Di Sanzo said, according to Fierce Healthcare. “At the same time, people are getting older, they’re aging, and people need to take care of themselves in their homes.”