We come DexcomONE…. (Sorry Faithless….)

Dexcom ONE Sensor - 3-Pack

DexcomONE. Something new from Dexcom. And boy doesn’t that applicator look like a Dexcom G6… But it’s only been talked about in a few places, and most notably, it doesn’t seem to be in the broader Diabetes news. Why wouldn’t it be? Well there may be some good reasons for this.

Firstly, it’s only been launched in a few countries. At the time of writing these are: Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. And soon Croatia, so it’s limited in terms of access and that’s why you can’t find it. But when you do, you discover that the price is a little different from the G6. In the UK, this is what you’d pay for three sensors:

Whereas, for three sensors of the One, you pay this:

At the time of writing, €118.90 is £100.34. Three sensors of G6 are more than 50% more expensive.

So DexcomONE must be an inferior product, right, if it costs so much less to buy the sensors?

Well…. Yes and no.

What are the differences?

The major differences between Dexcom G6 and Dexcom One relate to the app. The list below is pretty clear:

  • There is no Dexcom Share, so caregivers are unable to follow a user;
  • It has a single bluetooth connection, i.e. unlike the G6 which has two, one for the phone and one for a pump/receiver, it will only connect to a single alternative device;
  • The app contains no predictive alerts;
  • The included Glucose reports are much more clarity like than on the G6 app, which doesn’t have anything like this;
  • The codes for the ONE start with a different character compared to the G6;
  • It is not possible to calibrate the ONE

From this we can see that you’re paying half the price, but losing some key features. For many the lack of follow and single bluetooth connection won’t be a big issue but there are plenty of people who will be aghast at this. Personally I think removing the predictive alerts from the App is a petty action as many G6 users have come to rely on this.

And finally, no calibration. While many might think that this is a big no-no, Dexcom have in the past said that they originally were going to release the G6 with no ability to calibrate, as it wasn’t required, but changed their minds with user feedback. It’s also worth bearing in mind that it’s not clear whether this is simply removing the ability to send calibrations from the app, or whether it’s actually a change to the hardware to not be able to adjust when calibrations are sent. Given the similarity to the G6, my money is on the former.

What are the similarities to G6?

The hardware and sensor look identical. Those who have used both have confirmed this.

The reported MARD and accuracy data between the ONE and G6 are identical. This is the published data for the ONE:

Looking at the ONE, the hardware similarities are stark. One wonders whether it might even by a G6 with a different badge?

What can we take away from this?

The first thing is that this is a less functional version of the G6 app, retaining the same calibration free accuracy. It’s been launched in Eastern Europe presumably in place of a G6 launch and at a very clearly lower price point. So much lower that if you were to use the monthly subscription package that’s available on the one, it would cost you £100.34 per month, compared to the £159 per month that you get with the G6. So it’s vastly cheaper (as we discussed earlier).

It also works with Loop directly from the ONE app on an iPhone. So it shouldn’t be all that difficult to do the same thing on an Android phone with AAPS or using Logger on OpenAPS. And finally, as long as the codes can be provided to xDrip, you should be able to use it with xDrip eventually as the developers update the software, giving ONE the ability to have a “follow” function once again, via NightScout.

It appears to also be a slightly knobbled piece of hardware, without the ability to connect to a pump (or receiver), making it a sort of standalone CGM (except where systems use the phone bluetooth connection anyway).

Will it ever arrive in other regions? Who knows. Maybe we’ll just see the G6. But perhaps we’re starting to see Dexcom making cheaper more affordable products available. Which isn’t a bad thing for many, and especially not for health services who may not be able to afford to supply their current products.

What’s clear then is that the ONE is a personal device for those who don’t need share/follow and who are happy with it only connecting to their phone. Those wanting additional functionality, like care giver support, will have to pay more. Whether this will change with the G7 remains to be seen.

Given my use the Dexcom system, would I pick the ONE over the G6 and save myself £50 per month? You bet I would, and right now I reckon there are a lot of others who would too.

9 Comments

  1. I presume you can use the Dexcom One sensors with a G6 transmitter and lose nothing and just get cheaper sensors.

    I guess they are testing the market whilst still trying to provide some pressure for people to upgrade. I personally think they are still missing their opportunities. The transmitters should be dirt cheap, the features should be the best they can make, and they should be making their money on the sensors.

    • The sensor calibration codes are different, but they have already been converted eg a g6 code of 9117 equals a ONE 7135

      You might also have support issues when they ask for lot #’s etc

      But otherwise are identical

  2. I’m using a Dexcom ONE sensor with G6 “80….” transmitter for about 12 days now. Using no code, calibration session. After the initial inaccuracies during day one, accuracy has been spot on, calibrations rarely deviate more than 0.2 mmol. Im used to getting 20+ days from a single sensor using the G6 sensors, so I’m hoping ONE will give me similar mileage.
    Apart from the price, biggest selling point is the fact that I no longer have to jump trough millions of hoops to order from Dexcom UK, who require an actual adress in the country to ship the sensors to.

  3. G6 sensors have a very high return rate compared to any other type of consumer good. Dexcom has no problem selling the G6 sensor despite its shortcomings because it’s better than the G5 was. That ends the day that a G7 sensor is available at the same price at the G6 was.

    This is the same thing that happens every time a new computer processor chip is introduced a new laptop models using that chip are manufactured even though there is no usable improvement in performance of the people who buy the newer model, “newer is better”. At the same time, few people want to go from what they have to something older in a technology item. Dexcom isn’t going to lose many G7 customers who switch to Dexcom One.

    There are no electronics in the sensor. Chemistry can’t be much different, so the only way to get the cost down is use a cheaper way of making it and expand the market.

    Loosen quality control is easiest way to reduce cost. Increasing production volume using the same Capitol plant is the 2nd easiest.

    Dexcom has fully amortized manufacturing facilites for producing the G6. The G7 requires new tooling and assembly lines that are easier to build in parallel with existing ones than to upgrade the old.

    If they can continue to sell the G6 sensor after introducing a new product the G7, every G6 sensor that they sell is to a customer who wasn’t “upgraded” to the G7 is increased revenue.

    The sensor wire is undoubtedly the same for the One, the G6 and the G7. The One and G6 can utilize the existing production assembly line until the total demand cause the reject rate to make the incremental profit go negative.

    if you can take sensors that don’t meet spec but are pretty close you could determine an optimum cutoff level by selling them at a reduced price in a limited market measure the rate of returns due to failure. That extends the production line life by selling Dexcom Seconds, aka Ones.

    They could extend the line life further by increasing the quality of the G6’s sold as the G7 is first coming to market. That requires better final inspection standards. Improving reliability of a consumable product retains customers who aren’t as thrilled today as they initially were, and have other options. It keep Dexcom customers who are reluctant to replace what works with something new to them.

    • There is only one point I’d make in relation to your supposition. The cost of managing consumer replacements.

      It is already an expensive business managing the sensor replacement process globally for Dexcom. Shipping sub-standard sensors at a cheaper price would elevate this even more.

      For sure, the ONE is a way to prolong the amortised manufacturing plant for G6, but it’s highly unlikely the sensors are of inferior quality. What they seem to have done instead is remove access to the back-end infrastructure for Follow, which will also reduce the cost of the product, without increasing the cost of managing returns.

  4. cant quite follow all of PS Doff’s message but sounds like a potential outline of Dexcom’s business model.

    My impression was that the Dexcom One is old tech with features disabled by Dexcom via the app so that they can sell newer models at a higher price point.

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