Heart attack is sometimes called the “silent killer.” In spite of the way it may be portrayed on television and in the movies, it’s possible to have a heart attack with little or no chest pain. The only symptom might be a shortness of breath or fatigue. Yet one of the most important factors for survival is rapid treatment.
iBeat is a new company in San Francisco that hopes to address this problem. They are designing a new smartwatch that will monitor the wearer’s heart activity around the clock, and analyze the results. If it detects a dangerous condition, it can alert the wearer, as well as family members and emergency responders. It will include 3G cellular wireless communication, as well as a medical-grade heart rate sensor. The company has indicated that it will pursue a “Wearable-as-a-Service” business model for the product.
This is an interesting development, but it has a long way to go before it will be successful. Its feature set is limited compared to other smartwatches, and most users will likely want more from a watch. While the company currently intends to pursue producing its own product, it may well be that its future lies in providing technology and support services to smartwatch companies that want to provide a medical-grade heart monitoring function and emergency notification service. If the iBeat technology can be “bolted onto” an existing smartwatch platform, it may find broader acceptance.