Last week, Microsoft made headlines with the announcement of their new wearable fitness band. Many news outlets paid much less attention to the unveiling of Microsoft Health, a new cloud-based service that gathers data from devices ranging from fitness bands to other wearable devices and user-entered sources. The service can then aggregate and analyze the information to automatically deliver insights to help users reach fitness and health goals. It also can deliver the data to a user’s Microsoft HealthVault, a repository for health information that you can share with healthcare professionals.
Microsoft describes its vision for Microsoft Health as “an open platform” and the company is actively recruiting developers and manufacturers to create devices and applications that will link to the service. The company’s website asserts that it is designed to work “no matter what phone you have.” This would appear to put it in direct competition with Apple HealthKit. It’s unlikely that both systems are going to become major factors in this space, and there is still enough “foam” in the nascent wearable Health Tech space that it’s entirely credible that some third option could turn out to be the winner.
It does seem clear that consumers and healthcare providers (not to mention insurance companies and employers) will find enormous benefits from accessing the data created by these wearable devices. Whether or not Microsoft will provide the platform for all this remains to be seen, but they certainly want a shot at that role.