Weighing in on Connected Devices
Although connected fitness devices aren’t anything new, the list of product applications is moving far beyond heart rate watches and cycling cadence counters. Manufacturers are leveraging consumers’ growing desire for data and creating niche products that track everything from soccer stats to sleeping patterns.
One of the newest products on the market is a smart scale called Aria from FitBit, www.fitbit.com, maker of the well-known Fitbit wireless activity tracker. Last month, the Aria started accepting pre-orders for a Wi-Fi enabled scale that measures key weight metrics and automatically uploads them to your home PC or smart phone. Products are scheduled to ship in late April.
The Aria body scale tracks weight, of course, but its glass surface also contains electrodes that measure body impendence to provide data such as body fat percentages and BMI (body mass index). By tapping into your home wireless network, the scale automatically uploads the data to a private Fitbit.com account each time you step on the scale. An iPhone app is also available.
The scale can support up to eight users and automatically recognizes each user based on their weight. To protect privacy, each user can set up a personal Fitbit.com account, where he or she can see trend graphs, set weight goals, and even earn badges.
The sleek design caters to the tech crowd—very Apple-inspired—and is available in black or white. It also syncs up with the Fitbit Tracker, which is a bonus for users who want to add weight metrics to their already existing Fitbit.com account.
Although new to Aria’s product lineup, the Wi-Fi scale isn’t the first of its kind. French technology company Withings, www.withings.com, offers a similar scale, which was launched back in 2009. The Withings scale measures the same metrics, has two color options (black and white), but offers both Android and iOS mobile apps.
Withings will also be taking smart scales one step further by adding a smart baby scale to product line. Announced at CES this year, the Wi-Fi baby scale is designed to monitor infant and toddler growth and is scheduled to start shipping in the second quarter.
Cédric Hutchings, Withings co-founder, says the idea to create a baby scale was based on the success of its Wi-Fi body scale. The company even won a CES Innovation Award for the product.
It’s pretty clear the possibilities are truly endless for the connected fitness and consumer health market. A category that once focused on marathon runners and the elderly is now expanding its reach to babies and the everyday person just trying to lose a few pounds. What will they think of next?