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Kyocera Hopes Sensor-based Service Will Promote Healthier Lifestyles

The Japanese electronics company is offering Daily Support—a solution for tracking physical activity, sleep and food intake—to employers, health-care providers and insurance companies.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 15, 2015

Japanese electronics firm Kyocera is looking to help consumers identify behavior trends that they can change in order to boost their health. This fall, Kyocera released Daily Support, a new health-monitoring system, to a select number of health-care providers, employers and insurance companies throughout Japan. It will then, based on the responses it receives from the initial customers, make any necessary changes and commercially release the solution in high volume in that country. The company says it does not yet have a timeframe for when that commercial release will occur.

Daily Support consists of a wearable wireless sensor device known as a TSUC (based on the words "Tomorrow Success," and a play on the Japanese word "tsuku" which means "attach"), as well as an iOS or Android app that runs on a user's smartphone or tablet, and cloud-based software from Kii to manage data from the sensor device. The TSUC has sufficient built-in memory to store seven days' worth of data, which it transmits to a user's mobile device via a Bluetooth connection. The system allows users to track the number of steps they walk or run, the calories they consume, their length of sleep and their amount of visceral fat, and to share that data with their employer, physician or insurance provider.

The TSUC, available in several colors, clips onto a user's belt.
Daily Support is being marketed only in Japan to health-care providers, such as nurses, as well as to employers and health insurers, who would then invite their patients, employees or customers to purchase from Kyocera the TSUC device, as well as access to the service. The device is priced at 7,000 yen ($57), while the monthly service fee to access the data is 600 yen ($5). The employer, doctor or insurance company can then help manage the data from the system as the user goes about his or her life while wearing the TSUC.

Approximately 30 percent of Japan's medical expenses are related to treating lifestyle-based diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, circulatory conditions and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to Hiroaki Naito, Kyocera's senior manager of new business development division. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has called for the development of a "Data Health Plan" to help reduce such diseases, by allowing individuals and their health-care providers to better understand and manage their lifestyle choices. The collected information could also be shared with health-insurance companies so that they, too, could make recommendations for members to improve their health and ultimately require fewer health-care services and medications in the future.

Kyocera responded to the Ministry of Health's call by developing Daily Support, Naito says. "It is an unprecedented service that assists with lifestyle habit improvements through sharing the data with health professionals," he states, allowing users to receive guidance based on their activities and diet. This, he says, allows individuals to practice what is called the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle—a four-step management method used in business for controlling and improving processes.

The TSUC weighs 11 grams (0.39 ounce), including its battery, and measures 48 millimeters by 29 millimeters by 13 millimeters (1.9 inches by 1.1 inch by 0.5 inch)—small enough to be clipped onto a user's belt. The TSUC begins operating once a user installs the battery, and its multiple sensors then go about measuring conditions. That includes not only how many steps that person takes, but also whether he or she is walking, running or riding a bicycle. The device can also determine if an individual is riding an elevator (as opposed to taking the stairs, for instance).

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