Only a few years ago the thought of implanting oneself with a chip, seemed closer to a dystopian future than a reality. Fast forward to 2020 and it seems more like a matter of time, rather than an ‘if’. In retrospect, we could have said the same about wearables only a few years ago, monitoring biomarkers and communicating with your mobile phone. Something many people rely heavily on today. As biomedical technologies develop, a world of opportunities opens for us to explore.
Technology advancements mean that we live in an ever-changing world with constant disruptors shifting our expectations and the way we go about our daily lives. We’re familiar with buzz words such as big data, human monitoring for enhancement, technology stacks and the IoT (internet of things).
All of the above are influenced by the culture of instant gratification and the need for constant answers at our finger tips. People look for convenience and accuracy and are no longer satisfied with delayed responses and the feeling of not being fully in control.
Implantables speak to these needs, providing people with up-to-date health information, allowing them to closely monitor their wellbeing and detect any abnormalities. In addition, implantables allow for ultimate convenience, they cannot be lost or forgotten, and integrate seamlessly into the technological contactless environment we have built.
The current ecosystems (encompassing wearable devices/phones, apps and app stores) are mature. Apple health for example cannot take more measurements than is possible from outside of the body, and google wallet has the restriction of running out of battery. Thus, the introduction of implantables will further enrich the eco-system and advance our abilities.
Many people ask the question, whether implantables can be seen as the replacement of wearables. We prefer to look at it as a broader ecosystem, which integrates both wearables and implantables, allowing these two devices to function alongside one another. Implantables have very specific current use cases.
Adoption of Implantables
Impli recently performed market research that gave insight into what people in Europe thought about implantables. With a staggering 45.9% of people saying they would get an implant, we might be getting closer and closer to commercial adoption than we thought.
One of the biggest areas of focus is the psychological barrier vs benefit discussion. At what point will the benefit of having an implant outweigh the implantation. What is driving people to get an implant? See the five key usages:
Functions of Implantables
Naturally, there is an important learning curve that will coincide with the adoption of implantables. The different functionalities of these devices comes as a surprise to many people. Below we have outlined some use cases and the timelines of adoption in the future. In no way is this an exhaustive list – rather just a brief overview of the various use cases:
Most of the use cases mentioned above are not limited by the technology available, however are limited by their ecosystem. Loyalty cards for example are not yet near field communication (nfc) based and vehicles still use powered long range portable devices and have only recently slowly been adopted by wearables and mobile phones.
Impli is working towards a broader ecosystem and associated use cases that will have a significant, positive impact across multiple life domains. A focus on optimising technologies, accessibility and the integration into a rich technological environment will be key to seeing mass adoption of implantables.
Authors: Jason Cooper and Anna Luisa Schaffgotsch