Press day took place earlier today for CES 2017, and when it comes to wearables, surprisingly, the big news came courtesy of Fitbit, who many expected to be a non-factor at this year’s show. While the company did not reveal plans for any new devices, the news they did share was just as exciting.
It seems Fitbit has been working on ways to integrate their devices with other programs to enhance and advance the users experience, and they’ve succeeded in some big ways. The announcement of new Works with Fitbit® partnerships, new features in the Fitbit® app and Fitstar™ Personal Trainer app, as well as updates for the Fitbit Blaze and a partnership with Qualcomm Life’s 2net Platform to provide custom features for the Charge 2, gives Fitbit users a lot to be excited about
Read on to learn what these new innovations are, how they work, and what they mean for existing Fitbit users.
Works with Fitbit: Customization on A Whole New Level
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Fitbit released 2 press releases today, with one outlining the new Works with Fitbit® integration partnerships with 3 of the hottest brands in the health and wellness categories: Habit, Peloton, and VirZoom.
The addition of these 3 companies to Works with Fitbit® is significant, as it gives users custom meal plans, more complex and achievable holistic goals, and credits towards VR fitness programs- right on their wrist.
Here’s how each of these brands will work with Fitbit:
• Habit: By partnering with Habit, the world’s first completely personalized nutrition solution, Fitbit users can have customized food options, recipes and nutrition plans, based on individual data.
This is more than just suggestions or general guidelines. With this feature, Charge, Blaze, and every other Fitbit user can get a tailored plan that will get them eating smarter and healthier. Habit will calculate weight, body fat percentage and calories, then use them, along with daily activity levels, to set menus that will get you results.
For instance, if you want to lose 20 pounds in a month, but only work out twice a week, Habit can adjust calories to get you closer to your goal.
• Peloton: Peloton is known for their revolutionary indoor biking experience, and with this partnership, Fitbit users and Peloton users will become one, changing how data is shared.
Now, when you ride a Peloton bike, your post-ride data will automatically upload to the Fitbit app, allowing you to see its impact on your overall health and fitness. And for those using a device like the Charge 2, which has heart rate monitoring, that data will be uploaded as well.
• VirZOOM: This partnership is one of the most innovative, and will attract a large number of young Fitbit users, as it: “gives you credit for your VR bike ride directly in your Fitbit app, providing a fun, gamified approach to meeting your workout goals” (Fitbit 2017).
With just a simple online account set-up Fitbit wearers who game through VirZoom will have their activities automatically sync. This opens up a whole new arena for users in terms of exercise options, giving them more opportunities to hit their fitness goals.
When Works with Fitbit® was first started, the goal was to let Fitbit customers easily connect to fitness and wellness apps, services, and products, to make fitness and health a part of every aspect of their lives. With this latest announcement, I think it’s safe to say that goal has been accomplished.
Fitstar™ Personal Trainer App: Taking Coaching to a Whole New Level
The unveiling of the Fitstar new Personal Trainer app is something every Fitibit user should be excited about. Fitstar has taken the concept of personalized coaching and elevated it ten-fold, with more personalized guidance, an expanded exercise library, customizable music, and new trainers to choose from.
The biggest plus to the improved app is the personalized guidance. With the new app, data from workouts and daily activities is used to provide you with personal recommendations about workouts, types of exercises and fitness level. This is important, as it matches your stamina and pushes you, without causing you to go too far too fast.
For instance, if you jog 2 miles a day, the app may recommend a session that focuses on arms and abs and allows your legs a day to rest. And if you don’t move much the app will make note of it and recommend ways to get you moving more. For those who aren’t sure how often, or how much to work out certain areas, this is great. It also helps experienced exercisers manage their time better and have a more well-rounded routine.
In addition, the new app has 2 trainers to choose from under the free version, Adrian and Lea, and you can switch between them daily of you want. Each trainer has its own personality, and being able to switch allows you to motivate yourself as you see fit at any given time.
And thanks to Fitstar Radio, you can program exactly what music you want to hear as you exercise, upping the motivation factor. Finally, the expanded library is a gem, with new moves being constantly added, so beginners and pros can continually challenge themselves.
Fitbit Blaze Enhancements
Among the exciting news coming from Fitbit at CES is the updates coming to the company’s best seller, the Fitbit Blaze. Powered by PurePulse, the continuous heart rate monitoring system, the Blaze will now have 2 new features: Cardio Fitness Level, and Relax Guided Breathing Sessions.
Cardio Fitness Level is not new, as it is available with the Charge 2, but it is new to this device. With this feature, the Blaze can give you a picture of your overall cardiovascular health.Using your user profile, heart rate and exercise data, it calculates you VO2 Max and compares it to others in your age group and gender, to see how you fare and help you get stronger over time.
Relax Guided Breathing Sessions are another great addition. With this feature, users can learn to relax and sync their breathing to their heart rate through two- and five-minute sessions. This is important, as it can help manage stress and encourages relaxation, to improve overall health.
Both these updates are significant, as the Blaze is considered a top of the line smartwatch and should have all the latest bells and whistles.
The Fitbit Community App
The Fitbit Community is a key selling feature for all their devices, so these new updates are something to look forward to. To begin, there is the addition of FEED, a new way to interact with friends and family on the network. You can share inspirational stories, quotes, and more to encourage each other.
You can also gain access to Fitbit health and fitness experts, for improved knowledge, and attend local workouts through updates and alerts from the community.
Then there is FRIENDS, which allows easier connections with others across the globe, and GROUPS, where you can find groups in tune with your needs and people going through situations similar to yours. There are over 20 groups to choose from, so there is something for everyone. Fitbit Mobile App will include the new Community Session and all your Fitbits can benefit from it.
Fitbit Charge 2 & The UnitedHealthcare Motion™ wellness program
Fitbit’s line of wearables has 2 purposes: to control weight and to promote a healthier lifestyle. And with Fitbit’s announcement to partner the Charge 2 with Qualcomm Life’s 2net Platform, the health aspect definitely takes center stage.
The Charge 2 will now be a part of the UnitedHealthcare Motion™ wellness program, which is an employer-sponsored program that offers motivation, and monetary incentives, to meet fitness goals.
Here is how it works: The UnitedHeathcare wellness program has a set of activity goals called F.I.T. (frequency, intensity and tenacity). Those wearing a customized Charge 2 can measure their daily activity levels against the programs benchmarks.
In addition, they can also earn money, up to $4 a day, by reaching one, or more, of these F.I.T. goals:
• Frequency: Complete 300 steps in 5 minutes, an hour apart, at least six times per day;
• Intensity: Complete 3,000 steps in 30 minutes, at least once per day;
• Tenacity: Complete at least 10,000 steps per day.
The money earned is meant, as is the program, to cut down on healthcare costs for employers and ensure employees live better. As Dr. Richard Migliori, Chief Medical Officer, UnitedHealth explained: “Studies estimate that if a company can increase its active employee percentage from one-third to two-thirds, the total healthcare costs could be reduced significantly.”
As such, all money earned, up to $1,500 a year, goes into a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). This program is significant, for employers, Fitbit users, and the tracking industry.
For employers, it gives them an effective way to integrate health goals into the everyday fabric of their employees’ lives. For Fitbit users, this is a first, giving them access to a comprehensive healthcare program that goes beyond tracking and step counting. And finally, this is big for the tracking industry as it is setting a new standard that other companies will have to follow and attempt to duplicate if they hope to stay competitive.
Overall, these announcements from Fitbit on press day for CES 2017, as well as Day 1, set the tone and proved that Fitbit is always relevant, new devices or not. These 2 partnerships, with established brands and healthcare companies, show there is still so much that can be done in the wearable market.
Fitness trackers have always been marketed as integrative devices that can improve health, but until now those aspects were a bit shallow. With these new programs and updates, Fitbit has made health the main focus and changed the user experience for the better. And with CES 2017 kicking off tomorrow, odds are there is much more to come