Fitbit is looking to expand its health monitoring capabilities beyond just fitness tracking, so the company is teaming up with a major medical device maker to help people manage diabetes directly on their wrists.
Fitbit just announced a new partnership with glucose monitoring device company Dexcom. The first initiative to come from the deal will bring Dexcom’s data to the upcoming Ionic smartwatch, where glucose levels will be accessible right alongside steps, heart rate, and other stats tracked by the device.
The partnership won’t give the Ionic continuous glucose monitoring capabilities on its own — patients will need to connect one of Dexcom’s devices to their Fitbit app — but putting the data right on the smartwatch should make keeping track throughout the day an even more seamless experience.
The new functionality isn’t just big news for Fitbit fans with diabetes — the company’s shareholders have reason to be excited, too. Fitbit shares jumped up 13 percent immediately following the announcement, according to MarketWatch. The prices were the highest for the company since January, when it laid off six percent of its staff and first declared its plans to make a smartwatch.
The Ionic will be released sometime next month, but it won’t launch with the Dexcom functionality. The two companies say they’re “aiming for 2018” to roll out the connectivity, and more areas of collaboration are also in the works.
Fitbit isn’t Dexcom’s first wearable deal. The company’s tech was also named as an upcoming feature for the Apple Watch at WWDC back in June. People using Dexcom monitors can already use the Apple Watch to view their data — but it’s just a projection from the iPhone app, not a connected experience.
Apple is rumored to be working on its own non-invasive continuous glucose monitor for a future version of the Watch, a feature that Fitbit could be gunning to include in its products as well. The wearable makers will have to settle for partnerships to bring diabetes monitoring to their products for now — but it might not be too long before your wearable can handle your blood sugar, too.
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