Wearable Technologies: A Help or A Fad?
Nowadays, it’s difficult to go anywhere without seeing a wrist brandishing wearable technologies.
Becoming the “it” buy for every occasion, the Fitbits, Jawbones, and Android Wears permeate the market and make grandiose claims to the consumer. Now your health is in your hands, your motivation will double, those calories will burn like wildfire and those pounds will fall right off. But is this reality or just good marketing? Are companies like Google, Apple and Fitbit really tapping the most needy groups or just the ones willing to spend the money? There are a few essential problems with fitness trackers that should be addressed by developers and marketers alike.
Motivation is Fleeting
As much as we would all like to find that Holy Grail of health and fitness, there is no such thing. Although a brand new Fitbit can do wonders for your motivation right at the start, your interest and devotion to the bracelet around your wrist will only last so long. The reality is what it has always been, there is no easy way! Health and fitness require a commitment to a lifestyle change, not a device.
Too Many Variables
Going hand in hand with fleeting motivation, the almost overwhelming plethora of style and tracking options can reduce the effectiveness of a device. What if you like the look of the Fitbit, but your primary mode of exercise is swimming? Or what if you really need your Basis to track your sleep effectively, but you find its altimeter is not up to snuff? The market is flooded with options, but unfortunately they all have so many pros and cons that it’s almost impossible to find that magic tracker that is right for you. For most of us, it would take at least two devices to fully capture a true snapshot of our lifestyle.
Real Need is Not Considered
Who really needs a fitness tracker? Is it really a young professional going to the gym three days a week and jamming on Meatless Mondays? Or is it a severely overweight, middle-aged man? The answer, of course, is probably the latter, but that’s not how the marketers of wearable devices see it. They want to sell their product and many people struggling with weight are just not that willing to shell out the hefty price tag for a Fitbit. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make a profit on a device, but there is something inherently fishy in a company preaching the importance of physical health…to the already converted.
Fad or helpful tool? The ultimate verdict on wearable devices remains to be seen. Maybe the early adopters can bring their wisdom to the masses, after they’ve moved on to an even more incredible discovery. For now, we will just enjoy tricking our devices into thinking we took more steps than we did and pretend that we are doing ourselves a favor.