Get real-time data from wearables

14/02/2024 – Written by ThryveThryve in Blogpost – 2 mins read

A frequent question around tracker data centres around the timeliness of data provision. How fast is smartwatch data available for digital health services?

In short, expect smartwatch and wearables data being available in near real-time in best cases, taking less than 10 seconds for delivery.

However, a variety of factors determines the actual speed of data delivery from wearables. In this article, we provide insights on the high-level data flow of trackers, as well as the typical determinants that impact the speed of data delivery.



How does a typical wearable data transfer look like?

For a typical consumer tracker integration done via a manufacturer API like Fitbit, Garmin or Withings, the process of data generation and delivery follows along six steps:

1. User records data with wearable
2. Wearable syncs data with manufacturer app
3. Manufacturer app uploads data to manufacturer cloud
4. Manufacturer cloud sends notification to Thryve
5. Thryve retrieves the data and sends webhook to our customer
6. Customer retrieves the data from Thryve


Step 1: recording wearable data

The user records data with a wearable. As long as the device is close to the connecting smartphone, data is ready for immediate transfer to the manufacturer’s app.


Step 2: transfering wearable data to the smartphone

The wearable’s data is synced with the manufacturer’s app. This data transfer from wearable to app usually happens automatically in the background. In case of e.g. strict data or energy saving settings of the smartphones operating system, this might require a foreground activation of the app.


Step 3 : syncing tracker data from smartphone to cloud

Once the app of e.g. Fitbit has retrieved the data, it automatically syncs new information with the manufacturers cloud.



Step 4: using webhooks to stay informed about new tracker data

Whenever new data is received within a manufacturers cloud, webhooks are usually immediately sent. Polar is a notable exception, which does not yet provide webhooks for its API. From the Polar API, Thryve pulls new data at a maximum delay of 15 minutes.


Step 5: Thryve draws tracker data immediately

Thryve connects to all the manufacturers different webhooks, covering this complexity of fast wearable API integration. The time it takes from us receiving a notification by the manufacturer until we notify a customers service via webhook is usually measured in milliseconds.


Step 6: Thryve provides tracker data in an instant

Data is available for retrieval at Thryve immediately when the webhook is sent.



How real-time is consumer health trackers data?

Thryve ensures that data delivery from all manufacturer clouds is incredibly fast. Nonetheless, a fully real-time delivery depends on the availability of data at the manufacturer cloud. It does happen frequently, that the automated background data sync between wearable device and manufacturer cloud is delayed or blocked by the smartphone until the end user opens the app.

So – its safer to build for potential delays in data provision from wearables.

You can also find explanation on important things to know when working with wearable data detailed in the Thryve developer portal, with a dedicated section explaining what influences availability and granularity of data.



Are you building a service that relies on extremely fast provision of data? Have any further questions around the process of data drawing? Drop us a line to find out how Thryve makes the integration a breeze.


Acquire 500+ devices data instantly with Thryve
Book A Demo

Sources: Image by vectorjuice on Freepik