Health IT, Patient Engagement

Smartwatch launch stands out among additions to Fitbit’s digital health portfolio

Fitbit has rolled out a smartwatch and expanded its digital health offering with additional products such as a connected scale and subscription-based personalized coaching service.

Fitbit Ionic smartwatch

In the past 12 months, Fitbit has sought to deepen its digital health offering from customized workout regimes to investing in acquisitions, such as Pebble, in a bid to expand its product portfolio. Following a disappointing report showing competitors have made a dent in its fitness tracker marketshare, Fitbit has rolled out a smartwatch and expanded its digital health offering with additional products.

James Park, Fitbit CEO and cofounder, claimed that its Ionic, smartwatch sets itself apart with a health and fitness first approach that is customized to users and has the capability to provide “unprecedented health tracking capabilities in the future”.

Fitbit’s Ionic smartwatch is built on Pebble’s platform to provide developer benefits and tools. Fitbit app’s software developer kit enables developers to produce apps for enterprise health companies with Fitbit devices and by providing access to its sensors to build customized wellness programs for their customers.

The company claims a relative SpO2 sensor for estimating blood oxygen levels will add to the functionality of its smartwatch, with relevance for sleep apnea.

Earlier this year Fitbit added an app to track sleep patterns. The capability uses detection of heart rate variability as a way to estimate how long users spend in light, deep and REM sleep Sleep Stages. The company claimed that the tool can also assess the time users are awake each night. Fitbit has been adding onto its sleep functionality since 2012 in an effort to increase its sophistication.

In an effort to make its wearables stickier for newbies, Fitbit rolled out a subscription coaching service that will include a set of workouts based on the age, fitness and other factors for users. One activity is a six-week introduction to running program through its audio coaching program. Another is a four-week program to reduce sugar intake.

Fitbit also teamed up with adidas for a smartwatch special edition device and training programs in the coming year. The partnership is intended to use adidas’ performance program expertise with Fitbit data and insights from its users to help athletes perform better.

A connected scale, Aria 2,  is intended to help Fitbit users aggregate their weight data such as body mass index and body fat in the same place as their other fitness data through Fitbit’s app.