Association Report, CEA: Monitoring the Growth of Health & Fitness Technology
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of my top priorities. Whether I am running, cycling or participating in a CEA-sponsored boot camp session, technology can make it possible for me to track my fitness progress, monitor my nutrition and sleep patterns, and make exercising even more enjoyable.
I am not alone in this. More and more people are integrating devices into their health and exercise routines, and the marketplace for health and fitness technology is growing fast. According to CEA data, the sports and fitness category alone represents a $70 billion annual business in the United States. The outlook for this market looks even stronger, with one-third of online U.S consumers anticipating the purchase of fitness technology in the next 12 months.
Nowhere was that growth more evident than the 2012 International CES. Among the smartphones, tablets and TVs showcased this year, health and fitness products emerged as one of the biggest trends at the show, with more than 200 exhibitors and two TechZones dedicated to the latest innovations in the digital health and fitness category.
In particular, the health and fitness monitors were stand-out accessories. The Motorola MotoActv is a versatile device that has the ability to track calories burned and steps taken; log your route; and suggest playlists based on the songs that correlate with your best performance. In addition, the water-proof device has a GPS receiver, Bluetooth capabilities and a Wi-Fi radio to eliminate the need for multiple gadgets during your workout.
In addition to tracking daily activity levels, some devices will record sleep patterns and provide data that can be accessed through online dashboards and apps. The FitBit Ultra joins other lightweight devices that clip easily onto clothing or wrist bands. The FitBit provides detailed activity reports to gain insight into sleep patterns as well as set to activity goals and track progress. These types of fitness devices, combined with their online portals and apps, are important complements for someone who wants to increase daily activity as well as for the athlete who is looking to improve his or her training results.
The backbone to most of these health and fitness products is the ability for sensors to interact wirelessly with your smartphone, tablet or computer. Mobile computing power is one of the driving forces behind the convergence of health and fitness with technology, enabling consumers to take control of their health with the ability to track, analyze and apply their results. With this snapshot into one’s health, we all have the ability to set attainable goals to improve our performance and our overall health.
Many of the devices in this category can eliminate the need for in-person doctor visits as well: heart patients can be monitored remotely, and diabetics can have blood analyzed with the help of a personal device. Home monitoring devices, in general, are experiencing incredible growth, with the total market for wearable wireless devices expected to grow to 169.5 million over the next five years, according to ABI Research. This is paramount for monitoring chronic conditions and for patients in assisted living, remote care, hospitals and clinics.
One of these devices, WATCHIE is a wearable device that integrates accelerometer technology to recognize a fall and trigger an alert. It has GPS capabilities to track whereabouts and features a panic button. The device was developed to improve the lives of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Whether the goal is performance or health care assessment, the high-tech health and fitness monitors that are on the market today and the innovations to come are revolutionizing how we manage our health. These devices enable us to monitor our health and improve the quality of our lives.