My website is dedicated to the integration of health and technology. While there are many aspects of health and technology many articles focus on wearable technology.
When we think of wearable tech most frequently we look at things like FitBit, Moov, Apple Watch or the hundreds of other watches that have step tracking and other basic features. I am actually a huge fan of these devices. I had a FitBit Charge HR. I loved it. Unfortunately, it was stolen at the airport and I haven’t had the resources to buy a new one.
I am also very much interested in business. If we look at products from a problem-solution point of view, also known as problem solution fit. The question you have to ask yourself is “Does this product or service solve a problem?” For example, assume you had the problem of a blister. The blister isn’t the problem. The actual problem is the pain you experience after the blister rips off. A solution to this problem is to cover it with athletic tape and spray adhesive. Now you have to ask would you pay $5 to buy the materials to get rid of the pain.
For me measuring my steps or keeping a log of my steps isn’t that big of a problem, even though I love tracking them. It is clear that it isn’t that big of a problem, because I haven’t bought a new one. Imagine if your phone broke, HUGE problem. You would replace this immediately. This is because not having a phone is a critical problem that needs to be solved immediately.
I wanted to make sure that was clear before moving on. You see I think wearable devices will be a critical part of our lives, but they need to change. And you know who knows what needs to be changed? We do. We as consumers know what we like and don’t like about products and we know what would make the next FitBit the best wearable to fit in my life and what I really want it to do and not do.
So why don’t companies listen to us? I don’t know the answer to this question. There are services like Channel Signal that will even help companies understand what we, consumers, are saying about their products.
There is one company that I believe does a great job at listing to their consumers, Pebble. A few weeks back I ran the Ragnar Relay race, Wasatch Back. I have a Samsung Note 4 and while I don’t typically listen to music while running, my second leg was 10 miles at 3 in the morning and well I wanted to not be bored. I looked for many ways to strap my huge phone to my body, but I truly didn’t want to carry it. It was extra weight I didn’t want to have on me.
Notice I had a problem: Huge phone (which I love), but I don’t want to carry it on a run.
Next problem: I actually don’t like wearing watches. I never have.
So the solution for me is something that is small, lightweight and connects to my phone without needing to have my phone near me.
Pebble just launched a product called Pebble Core, which is VERY interesting. It streams Spotify, clips on to my shirt or key chain and it has some other cool feature where you can set the buttons to do things like call an Uber or message a friend to come get you if you run into an issue while running.
Basically it is an updated (ish) version of the iPod shuffle with some IOT (internet of things) attached to it. So instead of using the iTunes as your music player you get to use Spotify, which as we all know is extremely popular.
I am a pretty big fan of what Pebble has accomplished, but my point for this article is this. If more companies listed to what we as consumers wanted, they could start designing products that actually solve huge problems. Problems so big that I will go out and buy a new one when mine breaks or is stolen.