Wearables for Fitness, and Beyond

11/14/2013

Wearable tech has been enjoying some time in the sun recently, as new products hit the market and research shows consumers are interested in the technology. Wearables for health and fitness have proved especially popular among manufacturers, and the newest products aim to take on more functionality.

In the fitness market, Jawbone, www.jawbone.com, has already redesigned its UP bracelet previously, and now the company has released a new software and hardware option for the system. Jawbone’s new UP system combines a wristband, app, and data service to provide information on movement, sleep patterns, and even eating habits.

The new wristband is called UP24, and it works with the UP 3.0 App. The wristband now includes Bluetooth Smart functionality, allowing the device to transmit data wirelessly to an iOS device. The system offers features such as “Today I Will,” which are challenges to accomplish a specific goal in a day’s time. For instance, the device might prompt a user to drink eight glasses of water in a day or go to sleep before 11 p.m.


The idea is that the system monitors a person’s habits and suggests challenges that complement the user’s activity and lifestyle. If the user hits a goal for three days in a row, the app rewards the person with a notification.

UP24 is also focusing on sleep. The device tracks sleep, and it will even suggest times a user may have been sleeping if he or she forgets to put the band in sleep mode. The device can be set up to send notifications with a summary of recent sleep activity at the moment the user wakes up. UP24 is available for $149.99, says Jawbone.

While more wearable tech devices like Jawbone UP are available to consumers, are they interested in actually purchasing the products? That’s the question Harris Interactive, www.harrisinteractive.com, asked during a recent survey.

Results shows 46% of Americans are at least a little interested in owning a watch or wristband type wearable tech device. Also, 27% said they are very interested. However, consumers may be a bit less enthusiastic about devices like Google Glass. Just 36% were at least a little bit interested in owning a wearable tech device in the headset/glasses category.

Not surprisingly, interest in wearable tech is strongest among younger adults, with 63% of people ages 18-35 saying they are at least a little interested in owning a watch or wristband device. Among adults ages 37-48, the number drops to 47%, and among baby boomers, 37% said they were interested.

The study also found that interest is consistently stronger among men than women. Overall, 52% of men were interested in owning the watch-like devices, while 40% of women showed an interest.

The level of interest among consumers is good news for companies like Jawbone that are looking to get their devices into the hands—or on the wrists—of as many people as possible. In the future, will we all sport wearable tech? While no one knows for sure, it seems likely that some devices will enter our everyday lives to monitor our habits.

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