Posts tagged with "Fitbit"

Fitbit data could help predict flu outbreaks in real time

January 22, 2020

That Fitbit on your wrist could be doing a lot more than tracking the strides you make each day: Researchers at the California-based Scripps Research Translational Institute reviewed de-identified data from 200,000 users of Fitbit exercise and activity trackers in five states—and found that they were able to use data like rising heart rates and changes in sleep patterns to predict flu outbreaks in real-time, according to a report by CNN.

Indeed, the scientists were able to calculate the proportion of users falling above set thresholds for average heart rate and sleep duration—and to compare that data to weekly flu rates determined by the Centers for Disease Control—in order to predict flu outbreaks in real time.

The finding shows the potential for the soon-to-be Alphabet-owned brand to predict disease outbreaks —which could open an opportunity to propel Google-sister company Verily’s population health efforts:

With the flu affecting an estimated 35.5 million and driving 490,600 hospitalizations in the US in the 2018-2019 flu season alone, according to the CDC, the ability to predict outbreaks would be welcomed by an already overburdened healthcare system. And the potential savings could be significant: During the 2015-2016 U.S. flu season, an estimated $10.4 billion was spent on direct costs for adult hospitalizations and outpatient visits, according to CNBC.

And should Alphabet get the regulatory go-ahead for its Fitbit purchase, the potential to predict disease outbreaks would be a huge value-add to Verily’s population health efforts.For example, CNN suggests, “We could see Verily integrate health data collected from Fitbit users into its Project Baseline initiative, which is aimed at developing technologies to help researchers architect a map of human health and gain a deeper understanding of prevalent conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.”

However, there are some flies in the proverbial ointment: While promising, the impact of the finding could be lessened due to the limited nature of the data collected — and Alphabet will need to be clear about its data-sharing policies or risk losing more consumer trust if it seeks a partner for future Fitbit endeavors, CNN notes.

What’s more, Fitbit users aren’t necessarily representative of the general population: For example, U.S. consumers who use wearables skew younger and tend to have higher incomes, as eMarketer noted in its Wearables 2019 report, which means there are likely gaps missing in the data collected.

Research contact: @CNN

Merge ahead: Google to buy Fitbit in $2.1 billion deal

November 4, 2019

San Francisco-based Fitbit—which has expanded its presence to 39,000 retail stores and 100+ countries since it produced its first activity trackers in 2007—announced on November 1 that it has agreed to be acquired by Menlo Park, California-based tech giant Google for $7.35 per share in cash—valuing the company at a fully diluted equity value of approximately $2.1 billion.

“More than 12 years ago, we set an audacious company vision—to make everyone in the world healthier. Today, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved towards reaching that goal. We have built a trusted brand that supports more than 28 million active users around the globe who rely on our products to live a healthier, more active life,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission. With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone. I could not be more excited for what lies ahead.”

“Fitbit has been a true pioneer in the industry and has created terrific products, experiences and a vibrant community of users,” said Rick Osterloh, SVP, Devices & Services at Google. “We’re looking forward to working with the incredible talent at Fitbit, and bringing together the best hardware, software and AI, to build wearables to help even more people around the world.”

According activity tracker developers, being “on Fitbit” is not just about the device. Rather, “it is an immersive experience from the wrist to the app, designed to help users understand and change their behavior to improve their health.”

 Because of this unique approach, Fitbit says it has sold more than 100 million devices and supports an engaged global community of millions of active users—using data to deliver unique personalized guidance and coaching to its users. Fitbit will continue to remain platform-agnostic across both Android and iOS.

Consumer trust is paramount to Fitbit. Strong privacy and security guidelines have been part of Fitbit’s DNA since day one, and this will not change. Fitbit says the company “will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why. The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.”

The transaction is expected to close in 2020, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Fitbit’s stockholders and regulatory approvals.

Research contact:@fitbit

Fitbit offers a low-cost version of its Versa smartwatch

March 7, 2019

San Francisco-based Fitbitwhich has sold nearly 14 million of its wearable activity trackers worldwide since 2007—has introduced the Versa Lite, a less expensive version of its flagship smartwatch, Business Insider reports.

The new smartwatch—which offers not only activity and sleep-stage tracking, but heart rate and blood oxygen sensors, a connected GPS, and assorted notifications and apps—launches in mid-March and is available for preorder at a suggested retail price of $159.95 starting now.

That’s about $40 less than the $200 Fitbit Versa smartwatch; and about $240 less than the Apple Watch Series 4, which starts at $399.

The new watch is swim-proof and should last for more than four days on a single charge.

What doesn’t it have that the more expensive version includes? It probably doesn’t track a woman’s monthly period, like the original Versa; provide on-screen workouts; offer guided breathing sessions; offer a credit or debit payment option;  or store and play more than 300 songs.

But if you can get along without that stuff, if offers a comparable exercise experience at a cost that won’t make your heart rate double.

Research contact: leadicicco@businessinsider.com