Thanks to the double whammy of holiday feasting and pandemic-related pounds, New Year’s resolutions to get into shape were extra-big going into 2021. So that means it’s time for strapping on the shiny new Fitbits, Garmins, and Apple Watches that loved ones exchanged in December.
But in recent years, wearable manufacturers have been pushing devices far beyond the step-counters of old. “Over the last couple years, we’ve rolled out a lot more analytic tools, a lot more kind of insights, [and] we’ve been proactively trying to tell people how to interpret their data and how to make it actionable,” says Fitbit co-founder and CTO Eric Friedman.
Friedman joined Fortune Brainstorm, a podcast about how technology is changing our lives, where he spoke to Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram and Brian O’Keefe about growth opportunities within the field of wearable tech. Friedman says the goal at launch was to make previously invisible health data and analytics visible to consumers. Google seems to believe the company has achieved that goal, and recently made an overture to buy Fitbit for $2.1 billion.
Though Friedman thinks the wearables field is still in a relatively early stage as far as what the technology is able to do, using the devices is becoming mainstream. “The promise is, we are there. We’re your safety belt that’s going to be there for your entire life, from when you’re very young to when you’re very old, and we’re adjusting with you.” The opportunity there, he adds, is to provide increased value by adjusting to the user’s changing life goals.
Also on the show, Dr. Abi Fisher, an associate professor of physical activity and health at University College London, joined to talk about people’s health habits during the pandemic. “We saw a really clear decline in physical activity … pre- to mid-lockdown by about 50%,” she says.
And Aly Orady, founder and CEO of the Tonal smart home gym system, discussed working out at home and how his own health crisis led to the founding of the company.
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