Tech’s shift to health and fitness in 2017

14 Dec, 2016

The world of health and fitness tech is growing and consistently pushing the boundaries in tech. We’re intrigued by whether consumers would pay for insights based on data their activity trackers collect. Just how secure is this information? As we take on 2017, it’s clear to see tech’s focus is shifting to health and fitness. Here are trends to watch out for in the coming year:

Data management
Everything’s about data – we generate vast volumes, but most of it collects, unused and useless. This is particularly true when it comes to health and fitness data. We strap on our fitness trackers and expect kilos to melt away with each step passively logged. In 2017, companies will aim to proactively provide data in a timely manner that allows for immediate action and will provide us with the ability to start becoming the healthy, fit people we want to be – or at least a little less sedentary.

It’s all on the wrist
From wearables that track steps taken or calories burnt to devices that improve your golf swing or soccer kicks, users love to collect data about themselves in their quest for fitness. And while wrist-worn fitness tracking devices such as Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone and Apple have become the norm, a new category of watches known as ‘connected timepieces’ has begun to proliferate. These gadgets are traditional watches with technology added, such as the ability to receive notifications from a smartphone and track steps. Current examples include the Guess Connect and Fossil’s Hybrid devices. Tag Heuer has also hinted at a similar concept.

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There’s an app for that
This broad category encompasses wellness apps, content and communities and any other mobile-driven consumer wellness platforms. Apps are particularly popular among people aged 15-25, who’ve grown up on smartphones. They use apps to watch fitness videos, take part in group workouts, track their progress and monitor their eating. Apps that make fitness game-like, goal-oriented and fun are hugely popular with millennials. Companies in this category include social workout apps like Runkeeper and Moves, which help users find and schedule running groups. Increasingly, young people are becoming sports spectators too, and enjoy using apps to follow and comment on their favourite teams.

Your shoes can do that too
Millennials don’t want to be tied down to owning a house or car, they want to be free to choose their own friends, hobbies and careers. This ethos extends to how they play sports, keep fit and engage in outdoor activities. Companies like Nike and Adidas have started embracing this culture. Everything from sensors and motion-capture-embedded-technology in shoes, that help consumers easily track their health and fitness habits, to smart clothing that measures heart rate data, breathing depth, balance and other biometrics. Then streams the information to your smartphone.

Beyond this, more wearable devices with sensors designed for specific purposes will be released in 2017. One such device, the Neatamo June bracelet for women, measures sun exposure and advises on sunscreen application to prevent UV damage via a mobile app.

While it may take more than the duration of 2017, eventually wearable technology will allow us to become more connected, and our environment will automatically adjust to our physiological, emotional and physical needs through a new type of system that’s attached to bodies.