Adidas needs to get smart with data to stand out in the wearable tech field

Adidas’ Fit Smart tracker is being touted as the polar opposite to the do-it-all wearables currently on offer. But the company will need to mine the stripped-down fitness tracker for all the customer data it can if it is to fill the void vacated by Nike’s FuelBand earlier this year and make an impact in the crowded wearable technology field.

Seb Joseph

The company revealed its workout tracker this week (10 July), ditching the extra tidbits seen on its earlier devices to ensure it is only worn during workouts. The unique approach toward fitness tracking is highlighted in its key feature; a heart rate monitor that glows either blue, green, yellow, or red to indicate workout intensity at any given moment. It can also track calories burned, pace, distance and stride rate, so that it can be used on the road and in the gym.

So far, so fitness watch. But unlike other activity trackers, the Fit Smart uses the heart rate data to offer training guides set to the right intensity in order to deliver the best workouts. Additionally, the device stands apart from rivals by transferring the data wirelessly to Android, iPhone and Windows Phone 8 devices via its miCoach app.

Adidas is banking on the “fitness coach on your wrist” positioning to elbow its way into a category already littered with multi-functional alternatives from rivals Jawbone and Fitbit. The company’s steep $199 (£116) price tag, which is $50 more than many of its competitors, could stunt initial takeup. And with options from Apple, Microsoft and Google mooted to launch later this year, Adidas could find its back-to-basics approach to fitness watches rendered obsolete before it has had a chance to gain momentum.

The best way for the Fit Smart to separate itself from the pack is to promote itself around more accurate data and software. Nike wrote the marketing playbook on how to use wearable technology as a data capture vehicle and Adidas should attempt to tread a similar path. The American business pulled out of the fitness hardware race earlier this year, opting instead to focus on developing health and wellness applications.

Adidas has made no secret of its efforts to create a more joined up consumer experience since the turn of the year and is currently combining its internal databases to become nimbler in how it responds to customer demand. A constant stream of data on how people are training and using its products could enable Adidas to spot business trends as well as disrupt the decision making process within retail and marketing.

Only 28 per cent of fitness band users believe their purchases were worth the price, according to Adidas. If Adidas can own the space inbetween the consumer and their data then its lack of technological chops will not matter in its efforts to help people understand why they need wearable tech devices.

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