Wearables were a big disappointment in 2013 – consumers were looking for more from their fitness tracker than a pedometer. However, what if tracking your fitness resulted in real tangible advantages? Well, Withings and AXA have done just that – the two announced a partnership today which offers AXA customers a free Withings Pulse (retail price: 99€) as well as the possibility of getting up to 100€ off of their insurance (and discounts on future Withings purchases), if they walk 7,000+ or 10,000+ steps per day for a period of one month.
The initial offer is good, but not fantastic; however, it will take time for AXA to prove the model works. If AXA customers are in better shape, they will require less physical care in the future – that’s the theory at least. Perhaps fitness trackers will find their market fit by teaming up with insurance players. But then again, if it’s easier to segment who’s in shape and who isn’t, then the logical conclusion is that out of shape people pay more, while in shape people pay less (assuming that in shape people cost insurance companies less).
Extending this idea, we could imagine Kolibree, the connected toothbrush that had a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year, could team up with dental insurance providers to provide discounts to individuals who brush twice a day, as recommended. In their Kickstarter campaign, Kolibree showed how dentists can monitor their patients remotely on a day-to-day basis, and not just every visit. So third party access to personal data is already a tangible future.
Then again – do consumers really want insurance companies to have a better predictive knowledge as to who will get sick, who will require more care in the future? On the other hand, if there is a financial incentive to have good hygiene and stay in shape (other than the inevitable health costs in the unforeseeable future), perhaps that would motivate people to stay in shape.
We’ll be discussing the Connected Life at the Connected Conference on June 18th-19th – Grab tickets today and hear from many of today’s leading quantified self/wearables players on how data can translate into tangible value (and, maybe, saving money)
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