Fitness Oriented Wearable Devices is a Fad!

2:45 AM Suvir Sujan 4 Comments

I have been amazed at the buzz that has been generated around these Health tracking devices. I see a lot of people wearing bands of different colors. And now there seem to be companies that are offering coaches alongside the devices.

Really?  What was lacking in our lives was a measurement device that measured how much we walked, how we slept and once we had that data, we would  be able to fix our lives? Is that the real problem that we had no data available real time? Or that we didn't have anyone pinging us and telling us that we did not meet our fitness objectives for the day?

I don't think so. I think the real problem lies in the innate human motivation for anything we do.  A device can remind you but it is a temporary fix.  After a few months, if there is no motivation to continue with an exercise regimen, no device in the world can help. And if there is motivation to continue on a health track, a device stuck to your body all day is really of little value.

Lack of sleep at night is often tied to stress levels and other ailments which a device cannot help with. And the symptoms resulting from a lack of sleep is often visible the next day be it fatigue, irritability, etc. And even if the symptoms are not visible and there is data to show unhealthy sleep, the problem lies in the drivers of the sleep which are not easily fixable and are often deep routed which can take serious behavior and mindset change to make a positive difference over a long period of time.

So just like our New Year's Resolution to Lose Weight and subsequently signing up for a Gym Membership,  I believe the purchase of these health tracking devices is impulsive and not fully thought through.   While this  fitness oriented wearable devices do get sales just like a lot of Gyms get memberships post New Years, there are other social motivations/influencers of a physical Gym that allow for sustaining a membership at a Gym even though the activity levels at the Gym have dropped.  These don't exist for a fitness tracking device. So I don't see users continuously upgrading or renewing their fitness devices like they do Gym memberships or their Ipods/Iphones.  I believe that there is a segment of wearable devices that is very valuable such as those that help with monitoring statistics for chronic diseases, etc which enable timely care.  I don't believe devices that try and influence human motivation are scalable or sustainable.  But devices that help with critical information that can be acted upon without deep mindset shifts can work.

I think these fitness device companies will continue to attract sales as there a lot of headroom for first time users that may buy the device in the hope that it will change their fitness behavior. In the interim, if these companies figure out a way to keep these users by introducing hooks that are beyond basic fitness, this industry could thrive. Otherwise, I forsee challenges.  Not to take away from the super talent and all the hard work put in by the management and employees at all these firms.  And the investor money gone in to help create these companies.

What next, shall we have devices for kids to remind them to do their homework on time?


..and funding is fashion

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