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 Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze 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. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
Building a cross-cloud operational model can be a daunting task. Per-cloud silos are not the answer, but neither is a fully generic abstraction plane that strips out capabilities unique to a particular provider. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Wolf, VP & Chief Technology Officer, Global Field & Industry at VMware, will discuss how successful organizations approach cloud operations and management, with insights into where operations should be centralized and when it’s best to decentraliz...
In the first article of this three-part series on hybrid cloud security, we discussed the Shared Responsibility Model and examined how the most common attack strategies persist, are amplified, or are mitigated as assets move from data centers to the cloud. Today, we’ll look at some of the unique security challenges that are introduced by public cloud environments. While cloud computing delivers many operational, cost-saving and security benefits, it takes place in a public, shared and on-demand ...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sudarshan Krishnamurthi, a Senior Manager, Business Strategy, at Cisco Systems, will discuss how IT and operational technology (OT) work together, as opposed to being in separate siloes as once was traditional. Attendees will learn how to fully leverage the power of IoT in their organization by bringing the two sides together and bridging the communication gap. He will also look at what good leadership must entail in order to accomplish this, and how IT managers ca...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, will discuss how to use Kubernetes to setup a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace....
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Jared Parker, Director of Financial Services at Kinetica, will discuss how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich inf...
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 ...
Providing the needed data for application development and testing is a huge headache for most organizations. The problems are often the same across companies - speed, quality, cost, and control. Provisioning data can take days or weeks, every time a refresh is required. Using dummy data leads to quality problems. Creating physical copies of large data sets and sending them to distributed teams of developers eats up expensive storage and bandwidth resources. And, all of these copies proliferating...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy 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. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
Column Technologies exhibited at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, which took place at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, in June 2016. Established in 1998, Column Technologies is a global technology solutions provider with over 400 employees, headquartered in the United States with offices in Canada, India, and the United Kingdom. Column Technologies provides “Best of Breed” technology solutions that automate the key DevOps principals and help our customers meet today’s DevOps and Dig...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze 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. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you...