Ahead of Apple Watch Debut, Jawbone and Others Push Fitness Wearables to Businesses
With Apple's Watch looming on the horizon, fitness makers are moving to push their services to a variety of individual and corporate customers. The latest band maker to improve its offerings is Jawbone, which this week announced a new program designed to get its UP fitness bands into the office and on the wrists of business people in the US.
The new UP for Groups provides discounts on bulk orders of the fitness trackers, as well as software features to manage and encourage group participation. It is compatible with the existing UP24 tracker, the new UP Move and the upcoming UP3.
Unlike the individualized consumer version of UP, UP for Groups allows administrators to work with large groups of participants. Admins can view aggregated statistics to see when their employees need to move and send out timely activity reminders to the group. Participants can take part in group challenges and view their group's statistics with an emphasis on the number of active participants in a group and not the number of steps walked by each member.
The new UP for Groups is part of a growing movement to address obesity in adults using feedback from fitness trackers. Jawbone competitor Fitbit already has a corporate fitness program, while Misfit is partnering with the Oscar insurance company on a rewards program for subscribers with healthy habits.
Apple's upcoming Watch is expected to kick off a further explosion of interest in fitness trackers when it is released in 2015. Increased consumer interest will open new doors in the health field with Apple reportedly in talks with insurance companies, hospitals and other health institutions about its HealthKit initiative and iOS Health app. Apple already is partnering with the Mayo Clinic and electronic health record company Epic Systems, and more partnerships are undoubtedly in the works.