Cupertino, CA. – Not the apple that grows on a tree rather the Apple company that has more than a billion active products in use. One of those products, the Apple Watch, is currently being used within a secret group of biomedical engineers at Apple to revolutionize the way we monitor blood glucose levels: without a pin prick.
Initially envisioned by the late Steve Jobs, this team is working to utilize the Apple Watch’s sensors to shine light through the skin to measure glucose. This would bring the millions of people suffering from diabetes a quick and painless solution to daily monitoring, a feat many before Apple have failed at resolving. And this would turn the Apple Watch from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ device for millions of diabetic patients.
Five years in the making, this initiative is already popping up in clinical trials throughout the Bay area as well as working through regulatory logistics signaling a resolve could be potential in the near future. But Apple isn’t alone in the current race to help diabetic patients monitor glucose more easily. Google’s Verily life sciences team has also been working for years to develop a contact lens and an application similar to the size of a bandage to monitor blood sugar more easily.
Why This Matters –
Technological advances are nothing new to us as consumers. We can order an Uber with the touch of a button, control our home thermostat with an app and even order pizza through voice recognition. But due to regulatory restrictions, it makes it challenging or even desirable for pharmaceutical companies to attempt similar advances.
However, this is a perfect example of how emerging consumer expectations are changing the way we think about something that has always been done the same way such as monitoring blood glucose levels. So how are expectations changing to create this new method of testing?
In the book, Trend Driven Innovation, they discuss the ‘expectation economy’ we live in and the three strands of expectation – Rising Quality, Positive Impact and Personal Expression.
The first strand, rising quality, really hits home on why a company like Apple would spend so much time and money on a new way to test glucose. One of the forces driving the new expectations of quality is easy experimentation – consumers are eager to test new products and services, knowing they will help refine into something new to a higher quality output.
In the end, as Apple and Google continue to make strides in this space, consumers (as well as brand and marketing professionals alike) sit idle with the hopes these companies can reach the expectations for millions of diabetic patients and their circles of influence – a simple and non-invasive glucose testing method.