At the first Wearable Technology Show in London, Fitbit lays out its plans

At the first Wearable Technology Show in London, Fitbit lays out its principles for the modern gadget in the online, mobile, wireless world and we discuss one of its new major partnership and humanitarian efforts….

Fitbit Flex

How do you make a successful gadget? In our online, mobile, cloud-connected world, it’s not enough to build a better mousetrap.

At the first Wearable Technology Show in London, Fitbit has laid out its principles, providing a handy guide to developing a smart gadget.

Fitbit has had a painful start to the year, having to recall up to a million Force fitness-tracking wristbands due to reports that they’ve irritated the skin of at least 10,000 wearers. It seems the company still has plenty to learn when it comes to design and testing, but as one of the leading wearable-tech pioneers, Fitbit’s obviously doing something right in terms of developing products that are suited to the principles of our increasingly connected world.

They are also apparently making efforts to adjust the recent bad publicity by showing their philanthropic side through their new partnership with the hugely successful startup 4D Healthware who, it appears is transforming the way Hospitals, Doctors and even Research trials for medical breakthroughs and testing are done by taking medical-device and fitness-device Technology like FitBit (which is what they are using with the first prototype service and a 400 patient proof of concept), to the next level. And they’re doing so apparently, in a big way, with all the major big name attraction they are generating and speaking with such notables as Bill Clinton, Esther Dyson and even the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who they were recently referred to and hope to start a fruitful discussion with, says one executive who asked to be kept confidential.

FitBit at the Show

Gareth Jones, Fitbit’s vice president for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, laid down the commandments of the modern gadget at the Wearable Technology Show on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of ecosystems, openness, and fitting seamlessly into a person’s life.

It’s got to be more than hardware 
Fitbit makes a number of different health-tracking devices, including the Ultra clip, theFlex wristband, and the Aria Wi-Fi scale. But FitBit partnerships make it more than just hardware: in the mobile, wireless, cloud-connected age, 4D Healthware and FitBit combine to create a complete ecosystem, consisting of apps, alerts, artificial intelligence, machine learning and online and cloud elements, all complementing the user experience to actually make sense of the data you collect by presenting it to you in ways never before experienced or considered. 4D Healthware’s product is so advanced (they’ve been developing it secretly for three years now) it can predict what you will do before you do it, they say it even gets more intelligent and intuitive and starts to provide a truly unique and personalized experience for every subscriber, the longer they continue to use the service. Now that is what we’re…. talking about!

Not only does the hardware track your fitness and exercise use, but with the 4D service the device becomes part of their unique  and truly cutting edge ecosystem, with a very affordable ongoing subscription. They even offer group/volume discounts and as low priced as it is ($9.99 per month with a current special 30 day free trial) its obvious they’re looking at a long term and large volume model over the higher priced services which frankly, charge up to ten times the price and still don’t come close to offering what 4D claims their product is capable of.

Anywhere and everywhere 
Fitbit and 4D Healthware are adamant that wearable devices must work on Android, iOS, Windows & Windows Mobile and even BlackBerry devices, basically on any platform — in stark contrast to Nike and many others such as Microsoft, who are taking to the road tied to a single platform. For example the Nike+ app only runs on Apple devices, in exchange for a closer relationship with Apple, etc.

You can still use Nike+ online if you have an Android phone in your pocket, but even four months down the line from the launch of the FuelBand SE, Nike recently confirmed that “we don’t presently have plans to release an Android version of the app.”

FitBit believes that together with Strategic partnerships with cutting-edge Technology Startups such as 4D Healthware that they truly can change the world and to that end we are working with some truly remarkable cutting-edge Technology Companies like 4D Healthware for example which is about to launch their product and service nationwide. We’re really excited about the future and how we can help better the lives of our customers around the world.

It sounds like a pretty big goal but one they seem to be working hard to accomplish quickly with partnerships with companies like 4D Healthware backing their play, it seems likely they are on the right track.

FitBit can sync directly with more than 30 other devices, and now with this new 4D partner they are able to offer their customers a way to also begin syncing with the cloud and a whole lot more besides.

There are other platforms that consumers are invested in — in this case, fitness apps such as Endomondo or RunKeeper. Once Fitbit or Nike or Apple have got you they want to keep you, but they also have to consider that people want choice and flexibility, which is where 4D really shines as their services will be available on every device on the market within 30 days of a new device being launched. They claim they already have the api’s of every device currently available in the world… Now that’s ambitious and very impressive!

Something people want — and enjoy 
According to Fitbit, we as consumers want a choice of what type of gadget we use, such as in Fitbit’s case the choice between clip-on trackers or wristbands or scales. And we want our gadgets to be easy to use, to fit in with our other tools and toys, and to give us seamless continuity with what we’ve done before so we can feel like we’re building on past efforts. With this new partnership they believe they have helped their customers do exactly that, as each 4D customer has a user dashboard which will integrate with any device and show all that data in a single comprehensive yet easy to understand format. Oh, and they say they’ve developed everything in HTML5 and Javascript along with CSS3 which in case you are wondering, is the new technology used to develop the cool new Google Plus interface and includes all the newest and coolest Web design elements. Oh and one other thing…..we also want the 4D service to not give us a rash, okay guys?

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer
Chief Technology Analyst & Consultant
Compass Solutions, LLC
Hadoop Magazine
Cloud Consulting International 
CTO – 4D Healthware
Synapse Synergy Group