Category: Mobile Wellness

We recently tweeted about leaked photos and marketing materials for a new line of Fitbit activity trackers.  There is no longer a need to speculate because Fitbit officially released its new line of products – the Charge, Charge HR, and Surge.  In addition to measuring steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, and sleep, all three devices offer automatic sleep detection and caller ID.

In addition to the base features available on all devices, Charge HR and Surge, both of which will be available early next year, offer continuous heart rate tracking and monitor heart rate trends – no chest strap required.  Surge, Fitbit’s most advanced tracker, contains eight sensors: 3-axis accelerometers, a gyroscope, a compass, an ambient light sensor, GPS, and a heart rate sensor.

On top of the features available on Charge and Charge HR, Surge offers multi-sport identification, which means it will pinpoint when users are running, cross-training, or engaging in another type of workout.  Users can access summaries that analyze their workout intensity based on heart rate and calories burned.

Here is a link to Fitbit’s blog post about the new products.  The post includes cool videos and more detail product specifications on the three trackers.

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With the addition of these three devices, Fitbits portfolio will include six activity trackers and a free mobile app that can track steps.  That’s just Fitbit.  Jawbone UP offers two trackers.  A number of other competitors offer a single device, and even more wellness providers offer a proprietary pedometer.

If an employer wants to provide an activity tracker to their employees, which one should they choose?  This question becomes increasingly more difficult to answer as the wearable market matures and new generations of devices emerge.  Instead of attempting to answer this question for their employees, employers should empower their employees to choose for themselves.  As much as we love Fitbit and are excited about their new products, we realize that employees are people, and people have preferences.  These preferences make Fitbit not the best choice for everyone.  Some people like Jawbone UP and others prefer mobile apps.  A well-structured wellness program allows employees to connect with the technologies that make the most sense for them.

Check out our white paper on BYOD Wellness for more information on why employers should not buy, distribute, and manage corporate pedometers for their customers.