Nokia's health and fitness divisions are reportedly being shifted away from the creation of new commercial products, following several new announcements at CES 2018 which took place earlier this month. The company now claims to have decidedly more noble goals in mind than generating novel products with slight improvements over previous iterations. Specifically, the firm wants to enhance the utility of its current line of products and associated mobile software in hopes that it can help its consumer base address real health problems.
According to the chief of Nokia Digital Health, Rob Le Bras-Brown, the new focus will be on using the data collected by its range of products to begin addressing chronic illnesses, i.e. act in a preventive manner. In particular, one area the executive sees massive potential in is in the prevention and monitoring of diseases related to heart health since the majority of data collected by Nokia devices – including weight, heart rate, and activity – can be used to gauge that. Moreover, the company wants to find ways to project a trajectory for users, with regard to the likeliness that those problems will occur and changes they can make to prevent them. Moreover, the company wants to add incremental utility in order to ensure the products it offers integrate into people's lives "seamlessly." That work has, in fact, already begun, Le Bras-Brown says. That's because its current health and fitness related devices don't require frequent recharging and don't warrant consumers to think too much about using them, if at all. Meanwhile, they are all linked to a central application called Nokia Health Mate, which already acts as a platform for providing useful metrics. Nokia wants to take things further, though, and turn the app into a place users can get advice and accomplish health-related goals. Through the implementation of machine learning and A.I., it hopes to turn the app into a system that knows its users and can help them improve their health more actively, rather than being viewed as just another fitness application.
Le Bras-Brown says the company is aware that there's still a lot of work to be done before such a vision can be realized. One major point of focus moving forward, he says, will be in continuing to build new partnerships to bring an increasing number of manufacturers on board. More directly, he seems to indicate that the company knows it can't achieve its new goal without enlisting the help of others. That's because the alternative will be to convince more users to buy its own ecosystem of products in order to get its main benefits. As a relatively new company to the health tracking market, that would be difficult, if not impossible, the executive suggested.