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Wearable tech, I don’t need it…

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“No, I love my wristwatch too much to even consider wearing anything else.” This is a statement by me in early December 2015 when discussing my friend’s new Apple iWatch.  So, guess what? Yes, as I type this I have my traditional mechanical wristwatch on, and a Fitbit on the other wrist. Allow me to explain how I have gone back on my original statement and managed to yet again demonstrate my amazing lack of foresight (my wife calls this ignorance). See here for initial lack of insight.

To be blunt, the Fitbit is bloody good – and I used my ultimate superhero skills of resistance to avoid wearable tech for as long as possible and not get on board this particular band wagon. My wife had been dropping subtle land mines for me to pick up on through December about the aforementioned wearable tech, so off I went to Mr Retailer and purchased a Fitbit HR. I had it covered in hideous, shiny wrapping paper, complete with seasonal and equally hideous bow, ready to hand over and produce the “wow, I wasn’t expecting that” reaction on Christmas morning. I love a good pantomime.

So, Christmas arrives and everything goes to plan. The house has been taken over by my son’s new toys, which of course seemed like a good idea at the time. One thing is however noticeable throughout this carnage, and it’s my wife’s absolute silence.  I turn to find her playing retina tennis between her new Fitbit and her iPhone.

10 minutes later and a new chapter in our lives had begun. I shall hereby refer to it as AFB (After Fitbit). It has been said that I have little tolerance, a ridiculous statement as far as I can see, but it keeps cropping up so there may be a smudging of truth in it. Over the next week I am schooled to death on how brilliant the Fitbit is and its many amazing features. For the first 2-3 days I smile and say “that’s nice”, but I am getting broken down, this is a war of attrition – and I only have myself to blame. On day four, I crack and start to listen. As it turns out, when I listen to my wife, sometimes I learn things, this is a new world to me – but I digress. So, after spending 30 mins with Fitbit’s new top EMEA sales rep, she has me semi-curios about if one of these could transform my life also.

Back to Mr Retailer, and two hours later I am now sporting a slim rubber Fitbit HR. What happens next is a bit hazy… we’re now nearing the middle of Feb and I am armed with some amazing essential information. I’m really not sure how I survived without this key data or how I got through the day without knowing how many flights of stairs I had climbed.

In all seriousness though, it is genuinely a great bit of tech. I am in a “steps per week battle” which the Fitbit app facilitates with a friend of mine. This has actually encouraged me to take longer routes to destinations on foot to clock up more steps – so whilst Mo Farrah isn’t under any immediate threat, it has made a difference to me. The best feature I have found is that it vibrates when my phone rings, a little thing like this is actually really useful as I never feel my phone vibrating in my jacket pocket.  I am not using this tech to anywhere near its full capacity, but I do appreciate it and am on board with wearable tech now.

Like my iPhone before it, I now find myself constantly checking the different features it offers. For example, how many steps I have taken and what my heart rate is – and this is 100% more of an interest that I was taking this time last month, so all good. One very important thing I have gained from this tech is that my resting heart rate is above where is should be for a man my age, something I have never even checked before and I now have a daily, weekly and monthly average – this new knowledge alone has already absolutely justified the cost of the tech.

The good:

  • Genuinely useful info like resting heart rate and how little sleep I get (and the quality of this sleep) with daily, weekly and monthly metrics all on my iPhone in real time.
  • The Fitbit is so slight you absolutely forget it’s there.
  • It has encouraged me to exercise more and I can track progress and actually see if it’s making a difference. My goal is to get my resting heart rate out of the risk zone – this alone has absolutely justified the cost for me.

The bad:

  • The battery isn’t great. It only lasts 2-3 days, but I plug it into my laptop on the train every morning so it’s not really a problem for me, but it does annoy my wife.
  • Occasionally is just goes offline for no apparent reason, although this is easily solved by a quick re-connect on Bluetooth
  • Limited to what it has – by this I mean you can’t update it with new features, it is what it is – I would have hoped for some sort of firmware flash, but given the scale and consumer nature of this product, this perhaps is unrealistic.

The Fitibit is a small part of the wearable tech world, but my point is this – don’t write wearable tech off as something that isn’t for you, until you have actually tried it. I absolutely expect you to find your chosen product really and genuinely beneficial. It’s good now, so imagine how much better it’s going to get! Not that I would ever tell my wife this.


Debbie Abbott

With a background in Marketing and Media, Debbie manages our digital marketing initiatives and provides valuable blog content for those of us a little less-technical.

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