Fitbit is putting a bigger focus on healthcare by producing products for consumers suffering from chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Speaking during a keynote session at Salesforce’s Dreamforce event in San Francisco yesterday (5 October), CEO James Park said the brand’s mission has always been to “help people become healthier”.
Fitbit devices use motion-sensor technology to track user movement, which it combines with user data to calculate distance walked, calories burned, stairs climbed, quality of sleep and even the intensity of a workout.
“At this point we have shipped close to 50 million devices around the world. That’s 50 million lives and people across the world that we can affect in a pretty meaningful way, which means positively impacting their health,” he explained.
“The mission of the company has been to use data from sensors, use inspiration from friends, family and social tools, and artificial intelligence in the future, to help people become healthier. We want people to become more active, exercise more, sleep better and eat better.”
The brand is teaming up with Salesforce to make artificial intelligence a bigger part of its data analytics. It will use Salesforce’s ‘Einstein’ application, which has predictive capabilities, to create targeted ‘one-on-one’ customer experiences.
Park also said the brand is looking to become “even more integrated into the healthcare ecosystem”. Some if its most recent products have focused on reducing stress, and in future the company hopes to develop devices that can tackle chronic health conditions.
“We want to help customers with hypertension, pre-diabetes, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions,” said Park. “We are involved in over 200 clinical trials, including studies that look at how exercise could possibly reduce the occurrence of breast cancer.
“This [brand] orientation can have a dramatic impact on the whole health ecosystem.”
James Park, CEO, Fitbit
Battling security concerns
Fitbit currently dominates the activity tracker market and is, ahead of companies such as Apple that are also moving into the space. It still has challenges to overcome, however.
Research by Mintel shows that 60% of UK consumers are concerned about the security implications, and more than half say they do not see the value in wearable devices.
To combat these concerns, the brand decided to take a more emotive approach to marketing. It become an official sponsor of the BBC’s Sports Relief this year for the first time and aimed to raise £500,000 for the charity event by donating a percentage of sales from its Charge HR (£7), Flex (£5) and Blaze (£20) trackers.
In order to increase its appeal in the UK market, Fitbit is also upping its fashion credentials. Its Alta fitness band, including variants by fashion designer Tory Burch, was launched at the beginning of February and is more fashion-led in design with a customisable, colourful appearance. The Blaze fitness smartwatch, meanwhile, has an interchangeable leather strap.