When Apple introduced watchOS 4 news in the opening keynote of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017, it took the opportunity to basically define its watch as an increasingly complete platform for human body monitoring. Measuring metabolic levels or your physical activities, Ma's accessory is there for just that (besides showing the time with Buzz Lightyear, which is obviously more important).
Now, Watch's potential as a health device is once again reiterated by an important name in the medical industry. Kevin Sayer, CEO of Dexcom (manufacturer of connected blood glucose monitors), granted an interview to 9to5Mac stating that Apple's watch especially with the upcoming watchOS 4 is a "watershed" for patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions.
According to Sayer, the big leap of the cat in watchOS 4 is the inclusion of Core Bluetooth, a new communication protocol that allows so-called connected health monitors to interact with Apple Watch much more fully. Talking about Dexcom's blood glucose meters, Bayer states:
The way we designed our transmitter to pass blood glucose data many years ago consists of two Bluetooth channels so it can communicate with two devices at the same time. Because our sensor also connects to Android devices and at the same time communicates with certain models of insulin pump. A patient who is an Apple Watch user can now enjoy a direct connection to the watch and another direct connection to another device. For our patients, I think this is a watershed.
It is explained: until watchOS 3, to connect a continuous monitoring device to the Apple Watch, it was necessary to first synchronize it with an iPhone so that the phone then passed the information on to the watch. With this, the data appeared in the accessory with a certain delay without mentioning that, if the patient wanted to leave without the smartphone, monitoring would be effectively interrupted.
Now, with the Core Bluetooth protocol, things change: You can connect the monitors directly to the Watch and dismiss the middleman. Bayer further stated that current Dexcom devices will have their firmwares updated to support technology; meaning no one needs to invest in new blood glucose monitors to enjoy the benefits of Core Bluetooth. The iPhone will still only be needed, however, for initial device setup.
About the possibility that Apple itself was developing a technology that would allow the individual to monitor their blood glucose levels through Apple Watch itself (or a possible new bracelet), something that would effectively make Dexcom's entire product line obsolete, Sayer was surprisingly kind:
() For years people have been trying to create solutions that do not involve anything under the skin (to monitor blood glucose levels), similar to what Apple Watch would do with some kind of luminous technology that would reflect on the skin and bring back people who manage their diabetes intensively. They need extremely accurate information, because insulin is a drug that can save or kill you. If anyone can solve this problem, it would be bad for diabetics, but we have not seen anyone do this work better than we have done, and we know how difficult it is to do it.
He further explains that at Dexcom, the ultimate goal is to create a coin-sized device that can be used as a band aid and monitor various aspects of metabolism. And if Apple is willing to collaborate, the company is open, Sayer said.
It's always good to see companies collaborating and making themselves available for the general advance of things especially if the subject matter is as important as our health, isn't it?