CEO of 5WPR Ronn Torossian: Once thought of as a throwaway trend in a market saturated with technology, wearable technology are at a pivot point where it can either succeed or fail.
What was seemed to have been pioneered by Nike, the fitness band is now taken up by rival companies like Samsung, Garmin, Sony, Jawbone, and many others promise their own models to come in the months and years to follow.
With all this attention that is being paid a single mode of tech leads speculators to think that big name companies are on to something with the investment of their time and money. But does following the money lead to promising developments in fitness technology?
What is Fitness Technology?
Just a year ago, fitness trends in technology relied upon occasionally marrying a pedometer with a screen and an MP3 player. And like the MP3 player, wearable technology has evolved along a similar upward track that takes a simple concept and slowly develops it by integrating concepts and features not often associate with the technology. For wearables, and most new technologies, the path to new models comes through software and not solely the progression of its hardware.
One of the latest fitness wearables is the Gear Fit from Samsung. While the tech is relatively simplified, it is filled with applications and features to help athletes keep track of their performance and even the everyman remained motivated during their workouts. For competitors, the focus on the software of their wearables will determine what it can or cannot do for customers. Branding can only help them move so many units.
Are Wearables Worth it?
From many consumers of Nike’s failed FuelBand, the main complaint as to why it failed despite many ad campaigns featuring famous athletes and the company’s popular branding is because of its lack of features as this wearable acts as a pedometer but not much else.
Gear Fit, however, is interactive where the FuelBand band was little more than a watch. Wearers of Samsung’s device motivates users who are slowing their speed or warning them if they’re perhaps pushing it too far. It fails from being perfect, but it is a start.
What’s next for Wearables?
For wearables to be considered valuable, the value given to their wearers must increase. In the area of fitness, these bands and watches must become both affordable and saturated with data. This information helps them understand the progress they are making in their career as athletes, on their weight loss journeys, or just monitoring their activity. Many of the apps that makes these functions simpler are found in third party sources for smartphones. For the next round of wearables, developers may want to start looking there.