Published: December 5, 2013
In the latest foray into wearable technology, there’s a lot of buzz when it comes to health and wellness applications. You’ve probably heard of the Fitbit, Nike’s Fuel Band or the higher end Up from Jawbone. Regardless of your preference, one thing is clear — technology is advancing and we’re starting to see it even more ingrained in our day-to-day activity, not as an ancillary device but as a ‘smart’ companion helping us tackle our tasks.
But as devices get smarter and people rely on them more and more, the real expectation lies on the shoulders of companies. What does technology mean for the future of your business? The future of how you reach out to your customers?
In order to explain the implications wearable technology and data gathering have on business, let’s start with a brief overview of the Fitbit.
Fitbit is one of three primary competitors in the digital health and wellness space, using a wristband and a mobile app for wireless Bluetooth syncing to track behavior like activity, sleep, breathing, calorie intake, and other overall wellness goals. As with the competition, the app provides the real value as opposed to the piece of technology that goes along with it in the wristband — at least from a user perspective.
In our experience with the Fitbit, we’ve concluded that the device is very good at collecting data, but not as good at leveraging it to provide value added to the user. Since we started testing the device, we’ve experienced issues with syncing that may pose problems for accurate and valuable use of the data it stores. And at the end of the day, it’s the data collection that will provide the greatest value to companies and users alike.
So, how does health and wellness technology bridge a divide and have implications for your business?
Implications for the Future
These devices are the first foray into contextual data, or big data, through wearable technology for the layperson and more importantly, for companies. Aside from Google Glass, wellness bands like the Fitbit offer one of the first opportunities for a technology to literally “live” with a person 24/7 — all while gathering and interpreting important data about customer habits and behaviors. Imagine what you can do with in-depth behavioral knowledge of your customer.
According to Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, “every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.” If you are looking to stay ahead of the game, now is the time to consider what technology like this means for the future of business. Here are a few thoughts:
- Wearable technology — Before you know it, technology will start to drive actions, becoming entrenched into our day-to-day. Wearable technology, a big part of the Internet of Things, allows for touch feedback as opposed to traditional audio and visual notifications. This means that signals from your device will stay out of your way and with you literally 24/7.
- Big data — Contextual understanding and smart devices add value to day-to-day users but also have large implications for companies when it comes to gathering data, understanding and catering to buyers. Many devices of the future know where you are and what you’re doing, and as a result, serve up information based on your surroundings and actions.
- It’s not about the device — It’s not about the technology. You don’t have to be a technology company or interactive to leverage wearable technology. Under Armor is grabbing startups left and right when it comes to technology opportunities with their products — all of which help them better understand and relate to their customers. It’s not specific to tech; it’s about knowing the audience.
The Fitbit might not affect your company or industry directly, but you best pay attention to the leaps and bounds that are occurring when it comes to advancements in technology that not only add value to the user experience, but create tremendous opportunities for user generated data and analytics analysis for business.
A wise closing note from Schmidt, “I spend most of my time assuming the world is not ready for the technology revolution that will be happening to them soon.”
Looking for ways to embrace wearable technology? Let’s chat!