On January 12th, I, Sally Edwards, moderated a panel at Digital Health Summit, part of the CES, Consumer Electronic Show, titled “The End of the Couch Potato: How to use Technology to Motivate”. The question that I posed and asked of the panel is the big hairy one: How do these device tools help you to regularly do your moderate yellow Zone 3 physical activity for 60 minutes a day?
Compounding this question is 10-80-10 Rule which states that 10% of us love to workout, 80% know that they need to but rarely do, and 10% of folks simply do nothing. The goal then for me and others who want to get America fit is to transform the 80%. And, how can wearable devices tools like those from the companies who were represented on the Digital Summit panel that I moderated, help people get fit? Here’s an introduction to these new digital health tools:
Basis: $199. CEO Jef Holove showed his mobile multi-sensor device though it is not available on the market – yet. The Basis heart watch may well be the first wrist pulse meter with a built in accelerometer and skin+ambient temperature device. It is not EKG (heart rate) enabled but uses an optical blood flow sensor. The Basis synchs to the cloud providing ways to understand the numbers and share the data. When the Basis is available, I think I’ll fall in love with it.
Striiv: $99. CEO Dave Wang shared the new “personal trainer in your pocket”. Well, that’s not exactly what the device delivers. Rather, I view it more as a combo-device that provides fun of getting rewards for steps run or walked (only) as well as incorporating games that can earn you points toward charitable gift giving. It’s neat, engaging, and entertaining.
Body Media: >$199 . Co-Founder Ivo Stivoric explained his “Fit Body” system which monitors calories, activity, sleep patterns, and fitness zones. You wear it all day and night as an armband it it connects via USB port. Weight-loss tracking is the emphasis of the device tool.
Bluetooth Smart: No cost because this is a wireless technology “protocol” not a device, that allows accessories such as heart rate monitors, speed/cadence sensors, foot pods, weight scales, and power meters to “talk” to your device tools. Director Michael Folkey showed how the new low-power Bluetooth Smart protocol makes mobile devices interoperable. ANT+ is the other wireless standard that allows you to bridge the gap between your indoor and outdoor fitness activities so you can track and store data even from a treadmill run or an indoor cycling like Cycling Fusion.
The CES this year offered an unprecedented number of new fitness, health, and sports performance products and technologies to enhance the experiences and to help manage your goals. But, which of these technologies gets consumers to be sticky (regularly use them) and helps them to spend 60 minutes a day in the moderate Yellow zone and moves them to do physical activity regularly. That’s the unanswered question.