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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Auditwerx will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Auditwerx specializes in SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 attestation services throughout the U.S. and Canada. As a division of Carr, Riggs & Ingram (CRI), one of the top 20 largest CPA firms nationally, you can expect the resources, skills, and experience of a much larger firm combined with the accessibility and attent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
HyperConvergence came to market with the objective of being simple, flexible and to help drive down operating expenses. It reduced the footprint by bundling the compute/storage/network into one box. This brought a new set of challenges as the HyperConverged vendors are very focused on their own proprietary building blocks. If you want to scale in a certain way, let’s say you identified a need for more storage and want to add a device that is not sold by the HyperConverged vendor, forget about it...
FinTech is the sum of financial and technology, and it’s one of the fastest growing tech industries. Total global investments in FinTech almost reached $50 billion last year, but there is still a great deal of confusion over what it is and what it means – especially as it applies to retirement. Building financial startups is not simple, but with the right team, technology and an innovative approach it can be an extremely interesting domain to disrupt. FinTech heralds a financial revolution that...
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
Imagine having the ability to leverage all of your current technology and to be able to compose it into one resource pool. Now imagine, as your business grows, not having to deploy a complete new appliance to scale your infrastructure. Also imagine a true multi-cloud capability that allows live migration without any modification between cloud environments regardless of whether that cloud is your private cloud or your public AWS, Azure or Google instance. Now think of a world that is not locked i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
MongoDB Atlas leverages VPC peering for AWS, a service that allows multiple VPC networks to interact. This includes VPCs that belong to other AWS account holders. By performing cross account VPC peering, users ensure networks that host and communicate their data are secure. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Jay Gordon, a Developer Advocate at MongoDB, will explain how to properly architect your VPC using existing AWS tools and then peer with your MongoDB Atlas cluster. He'll discuss the secur...
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., will discuss how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advanta...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...