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Fitness Trackers and the Internet of Things (IoT) May 10, 2016

Posted by francinearchie82 in 2016 Trends.
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Health and Wellness has always been a popular New Year’s Resolution theme, but in recent years, that has become a trend evident throughout the year. Maybe it should be expected, considering the body-conscious, selfie-taking society we currently live in, or maybe we can attribute it to the health insurance requirement imposed upon the American people by the US government. Regardless of the reason, it’s clear that people care about their health. Businesses also recognize the pertinent health and wellness trend and are capitalizing on the hype by supplying smart devices and applications for health monitoring.

Smart devices are capable of connecting to each other, yet they can also function on their own, [1] and are a great example of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is a culture in which devices are interconnected to simplify life through the data exchange between the world and technology [2]. Wearable devices such as Fitbits [3], which track the number of steps taken each day and heartrate, and other patient monitoring devices for blood glucose levels, telemetry, and weight are smart devices whose aim is to empower the individuals to track their bodily activities for the betterment of health and wellness. The functionality of fitness/wellness tracking has been simplified by incorporating smart devices and the applications that support them.

Smart wearable devices have been credited with getting people active again; some strived for personal satisfaction while others competiveness. A study was conducted last fall with older women to see if fitness trackers would motivate them to become more active, and it resulted not being able to prove or discredit the question. The study did strike a question, “Do trackers spark users to do a little more?” and it was determined that by using tracking devices, be it for fitness or for health monitoring, knowing that someone else is checking the logs increases the accountability aspect. [4]

Google Trends reports shows that the interest over time of fitness trackers started to rise in the beginning of 2013, spiking to the highest peak in the beginning of 2015. [5] The random rise is attributed to the success of IoT, as fitness trackers have the ability to connect to smartphones, computers and tablets.

Overall, the trend of fitness trackers doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. I own a Fitbit myself, and compete daily with friends and family members. Even though I don’t win all of the time, I do strive to do some kind of daily activity. Also, I don’t think that simply by owning a fitness tracker will cause anyone to become healthy; there has to be some desire to want to be active, and in turn, healthier.

Resources

[1] Smart Devices. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Smart_devices

[2] Internet of Things (IoT). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_Things

[3] Fitbit. www.fitbit.com

[4] “Can Digital Fitness Trackers Get You Moving?” 27 August 2015. Godman, Heidi. Harvard Health Publications. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-digital-fitness-trackers-get-you-moving-201508278214

[5] Google Trends. https://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=%22fitness+trackers%22

 

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