Fitbit was quiet (and only had a few private meetings) at CES this year. With key competitor Garmin launching product after product, it feels as though the heat is on the fitness tracking king. Nothing new has come from Fitbit since the launch of their smartwatch last fall, and the app store for the Ionic has been quietly rolling out. We’ll keep up with the rumors and news as we hear it and update it for you here.
For all CES 2018 news from Wear Action, head over here.
Press day took place earlier at CES 2017, and when it comes to wearables, 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 significant 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 collaboration with Qualcomm to provide custom features for the Charge 2, gives Fitbit users reason to cheer.
Read on to learn what these innovations are, how they work, and what they mean for existing Fitbit users.
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Works with Fitbit: Customization on A Whole New Level
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 sophisticated 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.
Habit 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 they share data.
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, opening up a whole new arena for users regarding exercise options, and giving them more opportunities to hit their fitness goals.
When it comes toWorks with Fitbit®, the goal is simple: to let Fitbit customers easily connect to fitness and wellness apps, services, and products, making fitness and health a part of every aspect of their lives. With this latest announcement, I think it’s safe to say that goal is being met.
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 will come to appreciate. Fitstar has taken the concept of personalized coaching and elevated it ten-fold, with more personalized advice, an expanded exercise library, customizable music, and new trainers.
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. It uses this information to match your stamina and push 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 a 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.
Also, the new app has 2 trainers to choose from under the free version, Adrian, and Lea, and you can switch between them daily if you want. Each trainer has a distinct personality and being able to switch between the 2 allows you to motivate yourself as you see fit at any given time.
And thanks to Fitstar Radio, you can program what music you want to hear as you exercise, upping the motivation factor. Finally, the expanded library is a gem, with daily updates that continually challenge beginners and pros.
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. Syncing 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 an essential selling feature for all their devices, so these new updates will help improve the overall user experience. Let’s start with 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 20 + categories to choose from, so there is something for everyone. Fitbit’s Mobile App will include the new Community Session, and all your Fitbit devices 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 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 consists of a set of activity goals, known as F.I.T. (frequency, intensity, and tenacity). Those wearing a customized Charge 2 can measure their daily activity levels against the program’s benchmarks.
They can also earn money, up to $4 a day, by reaching one, or more, of these F.I.T. goals:
• Frequency: 6 times a day or more, complete 300 steps in 5 minutes, at least an hour apart.
• Intensity: At least once per day, complete 3,000 steps in 30 minutes.• Tenacity: Complete at least 10,000 steps per day.
The program and money earned can help to cut down on healthcare costs for employers and ensure employees live better lives than without the program. 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 businesses, 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 counting steps. And finally, this is big for the 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 to do in the wearable market.
Fitness trackers are integrative devices that can improve health, but until now many of those aspects were a bit shallow. With these new programs and updates, Fitbit has made health the primary focus and changed the user experience for the better. And with CES 2017 kicking off tomorrow, odds are there is much more to come