Better Health through Science


Fitness fads come and go. Remember Jane Fonda workout videos, step aerobics, and even the hula hoop? Now a new trend is coming to fitness, but this one is poised to remain on the scene for quite some time.

One booming market for M2M (machine-to-machine) technology is consumer wellness and fitness devices. According to ABI Research,, the sports, fitness, and wellness market will leverage a range of short-range wireless protocols and M2M connectivity to enjoy a 46% compound annual growth rate from 2010 to 2016, reaching just under 80 million device sales in 2016.

ABI Research also says during the next five years, the adoption of wireless healthcare sensors will lag behind the market for consumer-driven sports, fitness, and wellness devices. This will happen for a variety of reasons, says ABI, including the fact that these devices aren’t subject to the same stringent oversight as devices designed to monitor peoples’ health.

“There is real and strong growth potential for wearable wireless devices in the consumer market today,” says ABI Research principal analyst Jonathan Collins. “These devices don’t require the same level of complexity and regulation to deploy that healthcare devices do.”

Other factors will boost wireless fitness devices, such as wireless protocol standardization and increasing consumer awareness of monitoring tools.

Many of these devices are already on the market, for instance Garmin’s,, line of Forerunner fitness watches. The watches include GPS for tracking distance and speed, as well as the ability to pair with heart-rate monitors and other wireless sensors.

For those more inclined toward calorie counting, the bodybuggSP,, personal calorie management system allows users to monitor weight-loss progress in realtime. An armband equipped with sensors measures biometrics such as galvanic skin response, physical activity, and temperature. Using Bluetooth, bodybuggSP can transfer data to compatible devices, such as an iPhone.

Many more products targeted at the fitness and wellness market on now available on store shelves at big-box retailers. If ABI Research’s predictions hold true, we may see many more people at the gym, on the bike path, and in the pool wearing wireless sensing devices to track their fitness.

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June/July 2014
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