Bluetooth Powers Fitness Devices

7/4/2012


As M2M (machine-to-machine) connectivity comes to more devices, a variety of ways to connect will be needed. One area of connectivity that is on track for growth is wireless short-range, for low-power devices. These products could be anything from a fitness sensor to a connected home appliance, but what they have in common is the need to transfer data over short distances using low energy.

According to ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, more than 1.5 billion ZigBee and Bluetooth Smart devices are expected to ship per year in 2016. Bluetooth especially has a seen increased use in the world of sports and fitness. Just recently, Nike, www.nike.com, launched new products that feature Bluetooth Smart sensors that track and report on fitness statistics.

For example, the new Nike Hyperdunk+ Men’s Basketball Shoe tracks metrics related to playing basketball and then syncs the data to the user’s mobile device. The Nike+ sensors measure vertical leap each time the player leaves the floor, as well as tracking highest jump, average height, and total jumps per game. The shoe also monitors steps per second and quickest movements.


Users can use the Nike+ Basketball app and a Nikeplus account to view the data over time and share stats with others. The raw data is converted into relevant training information. For users interested in beating their personal bests, Nike+ Training is an additional app that provides a series of workouts for the user to follow. During each drill, data and feedback is delivered to the user’s phone for encouragement.

During the next five years, the total market for wearable wireless devices in sports and healthcare will grow to 169.5 million devices, says ABI Research. We are already seeing the first stages of this growth in products such as the Nike+ line.

But there are many others hitting store shelves as well, such as adidas miCoach, www.adidas.com, and Fitbit, www.fitbit.com. There are devices targeting every level of fitness, from those who simply want to count the number of steps they take in a day, to athletes interested in monitoring their heart rate, distance, and pace during a workout. Bluetooth will support many of these devices, the number of which will increase quickly, allowing consumers to find a product that works for them.





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