Quantified Self Movement Continues As Microsoft Unveils Fitness Band

Read original story on: The Verge

Microsoft has just become the latest major tech giant to enter the E-Health and fitness market, unveiling new platform called Microsoft Health as well as a fitness wearable dubbed Microsoft Band. As with Apple and Google, Microsoft’s health and fitness device will be closely tied to its OS — in this case, Windows OS with Cortana integration. But with apps available for all major mobile platforms, it appears Microsoft is serious about building a fitness device that works with almost every device out there, which would certainly help with the general adoption rate.

Sector Spotlight: Quantified Health

One of the more interesting segments of the Quantified Self ecosystem involves health tracking. As platforms like Apple’s Healthkit and Google Fit begin to outline the new marketplace, Quantified Health could become a vital part of the connected self’s daily routine, as well as a new media channel through which brands can communicate with consumers. Here is just a small sample of health-tracking products going far beyond activity tracking.

What is Quantified Health?

Quantified Health is the sector of the market of wearables, apps, and sensors that monitor the way a user’s body and lifestyle perform on a daily basis. This creates data that can provide feedback on activity, leading to a positive impact on the way a person lives.


Sensoria is a line of “smart garments” with sensors embedded in the fabric. Socks can track common activities—step counts, speed, distance—but also can understand gait and foot placement to accurately analyze walking or running patterns. Its shirts and sports bras can function as an extension to a heart rate monitor. All of the products sync with a mobile device via Bluetooth.


Bellabeat is a suite of devices to intelligently track a pregnancy. The company offers a stylish wristband that tracks an expectant mother’s activity, stress, nutrition and sleep quality. Additionally, Bellabeat manufactures a non-ultrasound pregnancy monitor that can record and share a baby’s heartbeat, as well as send music to the baby in the womb. Rounding out the suite is a smart scale for both the mother and the baby.


There are a few meditation wearables on the market, but they usually come as part of a larger fitness package. Muse is the only meditation headband that we’ve come across — its sensors detect brainwaves, like a miniature EEG machine. The app provides goals for relaxation sessions, which are meant to reduce the intensity of brainwave patterns.

What opportunities does Quantified Health present to advertisers?

The advertising potential in Quantified Health products could open an entirely new channel to consumers. Apps can deliver branded content emphasizing fitness and health as users begin to integrate the technology into their lifestyle, and the surplus of data will present a more granular picture of demographics and user identities. Finally, the technology itself can be used to drive users toward purchase, with in-app marketplaces or deals.

Could Smart Earphones Be The Next Big Thing In Wearables?

A company called FreeWavz is looking to Kickstart the funding for their new product—a wireless smart earphone with built-in fitness monitoring. With Google Glass being made available for consumers a couple months ago and Apple gearing up for iWatch launch, the wearable tech is slowly but surely gaining some momentum. From fitness wristbands to smart contact lens, from smart-headsets to now, smart-earpieces, it seems just about every tech accessory has the potential to become the next connected smart-device. With more players entering the arena, it’s shaping up to be an interesting ride for the burgeoning wearable market.

Anticipatory Computing Meet Advertising

Wearable computing is no doubt on the rise with a host of health devices, home appliances and that respond to your behavior and environment. Traditional banners and display won’t do in these new categories, but there is an opportunity for predictive recommendations. For instance, your washing machine knows its low on detergent and recommends Tide, or your fridge suggests a Betty Crocker recipe based on its contents. Just look at Nest, Fitbit or LG’s smart appliances for proof that this trend is not so far on the horizon.  

Fitbit Updates Wristbands

Fitbit appears set to launch a new personal tracking device called the Fitbit Force. It’ll incorporate many of the features that make it’s One tracker clip so popular – including calculating altitude, 24 hour step calculations, and sleep. The Force will also include a digital watch face, effectively turning it into a fitness-focused smartwatch, a notable advantage over competitors in the wearable tech space. It’s set to be priced at $129.95, which is $30 more than the Flex. There’s no release date yet, but it should be available for the holiday season. 

FitStar Launches Customized Fitness App

Exercise apps and other ways of quantifying the self are appearing left and right, but today sees a newcomer with a slightly different approach enter the fray. FitStar blends fitness training videos with quantifiable methods of measurement into one app platform. It creates a customized workout routine on the iPad, pieced together from 80 different exercises that are guided by all-star tight end Tony Gonzalez. By voluntarily entering fitness level data, the program offers a brief assessment and thereafter algorithmically tailors the mostly body-weight exercises to your level. It gets harder as you get stronger, and is also looking to incorporate weight-lifting videos into the app in the near future. And every time the app launches, a new routine is created to keep the user from getting bored with one set of workouts. It also sees partnerships with other apps like FitBit, which will more seamlessly integrate fitness data like heart-rate and cardiovascular health into the algorithm, which will further tailor the increasing permutations of videos to the individual. 

Jawbone Up To Connect With Other Apps

With so many wearable devices, it can be hard to keep up which is why Jawbone is integrating with other apps to become the centralized quantified self platform. Leveraging their API, Jawbone could integrate with other services like Nike+ or Withings to begin aggregating every piece of health data imaginable.  The result would create an incredibly powerful health tool that could produce a wealth of content and experiences brands could be a part of.

Pew Research: Tracking For Health

Pew Research has released a new study on health tracking habits among Americans, reporting that seven in ten adults monitor a health indicator for themselves or a loved one. Additionally 21% say they use some form of technology to track their health data, whether via apps, devices or websites. Fitbit and Nike Fuelband have been some of the devices leading the way, leveraging community, achievements and powerful visualizations to motivate behavior.

GeoPalz Announces Ibitz Line

GeoPalz, the health tracker for children, has announced the ibitz product line that includes new gamification features and increased connectivity.  As part of the quantified self movement, GeoPalz gathers useful data like steps walked, bmi and overall activity levels and creates a digital experience aimed at shaping behavior. The new ibitz PowerKey and Unity come with accompanying iOS and Android apps that sync via bluetooth and include an in-app GeoBotz character which needs water, exercise and sleep to stay healthy, mirroring children’s activity. There is also an adult-facing app which helps parents’ monitor their progress and integration with some third-party scales and heart rate monitors.

CES Health And Fitness Trends

Health and fitness innovation is poised for major growth at CES 2013. We’ve seen wearable devices like Nike Fuelband and Fitbit take off and we anticipate more companies will get in the mix at this year’s show. Actually, over 220 to be exact. From measuring glucose levels to REM sleep, the amount of trackable data seems endless and marketers can certainly benefit from reaching health enthusiasts on these platforms.