Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Nike Fuel is Dead: Are Fitness Tracking Wristbands A Fad?

Nike+ Fuelband SE

Nike+ Fuelband SE

Nike recently discontinued Nike Fuel bands and fired a bunch of related staff. President and CEO Mark Parker said, “I think we will be part of wearables going forward. It’ll be integrated into other products that we create, and then we’ll look at expanding our partnerships to create more reach for the Nike Fuel and Fuel system that we have … and the best way to do that, we think, is through the best partnerships that we can find.”

Does this mean that Nike is out of the fitness tracking wristband business, or does it mean that it Nike is going to concentrate on software and apps and let others (like Apple) figure out the hardware? Or, does it mean that fitness tracking wristbands were a fad and it’s over?

Nike may stand for excellence in sports and fitness, but Nike Fuel certainly did not stand for excellence in fitness tracking technology. Nike Fuel’s unique combination of hardware and software was an experiment in fitness tracking, social fitness and self-assembling athletic competition. Sadly, Fuel points were an arbitrary metric that helped you accomplish nothing. The software was simple to use, but forced you to tap or click way too many things to create an emotionally satisfying experience. To be as polite as possible, Fuel is probably where it deserves to be right now.

That said, it might be helpful and instructive to examine some of the component parts of the fitness tracking wristband/wearables trend because… in its current form, fitness tracking wristbands may well be a fad.

Function and Features

I’ve been using a Jawbone UP (now an UP24) for almost a year. During that time, I have lost over 55 lbs. by walking, eating a balanced healthy diet and getting enough sleep. I have quantified a good portion of this journey using the UP app. The data tracked includes: steps per day, estimated calories burned (resting and active), sleep (deep and light) and calories consumed (which I don’t track with the UP app – I use MyFitnessPal for calorie counting).

Jawbone UP24

Jawbone UP24

Through an aesthetically pleasing – but overly clunky – UI, the UP app tells me what I need to know about my daily activity. Sadly, this information is only available via my mobile device (Android, in my case), so I must manually enter the information into an Excel spreadsheet to make it actionable. Not for the faint of heart.

The problem with every fitness tracking wristband and every associated app is that they only track what they track, and they are mostly incompatible with the other tools you need to create a complete actionable plan. (For hands-on reviews of practically every popular fitness tracking wristband, please visit www.smartphonediet.info.)

More importantly, once you are trained to know how much exercise you need to do each day and what portion sizes you are allowed to eat to maintain or reduce your body weight, there’s not much to quantify… is there?

Of course there is! While Fitbit, Jawbone UP, Withings Pulse, Polar Loop, Misfit Shine and other $100-$200 non-specialized, fitness tracking wristbands all have very similar features, they all help you understand how you spend your day. The bands use an accelerometer to track your movement and an algorithm takes a best guess at what those movements mean. This is where the process breaks down… it’s early days and these types of fitness tracking wristbands are technologically undifferentiated and the software leaves you wanting.

There are, of course, many specialized fitness tracking wristbands like the GPS enabled watches for runners by Garmin, Timex and Casio. Specialized wristbands with advanced features don’t really fall into the general consumer “fitness tracking wristband” category. Yes, they track and quantify much of the same activities, but they do it at a semi-professional or professional level. And, most have far too many features to be used to simply track steps.

Garmin Vivofit

Garmin Vivofit

Team Members

Social fitness is a common component of every fitness tracking wristband system. The UP app lets me assemble a team of friends. I have 25 team members. About half of my team has not used the app for months. When I asked some of them (via Facebook or email or text or actually in person) why, the answers fell into three categories:

  1. It broke.
  2. I used it for a while, but I didn’t lose any weight.
  3. I don’t have the discipline to use it right, so I just stopped.

Then there’s another smaller group that doesn’t use it every day, but may use it on the weekend or for a few days during the week. Finally, there are a few (like me) who are fully committed to the program.

If I were to graph the curves, they would look eerily similar to other fad graphs such as the EST Therapy fad in the 70s, the Aerobics craze of the 80s, Beanie Babies in the 90s, iPods in the 00s, etc.

The difference here is that fitness tracking wristbands are not the final form factor. Apple has a patent for headphones that will take your temperature and measure your heart rate; there are all kinds of sensors and wearable computing tools just around the corner. The iWatch is coming soon, as are several “next generation” wristbands that promise greater benefits and ease of use.

Are fitness tracking wristbands a fad? Probably, but the quantified self movement (of which fitness tracking wristbands are only one small part) is going to be here for a good long while. So get ready… this is just the beginning.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

Latest Stories
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We are an all-flash array storage provider but our focus has been on VM-aware storage specifically for virtualized applications," stated Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, a Developer Advocate with IBM Cloud Data Services, discussed...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
"We are the public cloud providers. We are currently providing 50% of the resources they need for doing e-commerce business in China and we are hosting about 60% of mobile gaming in China," explained Yi Zheng, CPO and VP of Engineering at CDS Global Cloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.