Fitbit just came out with its latest activity trackers and they are a big change from its previous devices.
The new Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR trackers are Fitbit’s first wearables designed for employer and health plan partners, and will only be available through Fitbit Health Solutions partners like health plan providers, employers, and other wellness groups.
The new Inspire models track sleep, activity, and calories burned, among other information. The Inspire HR also comes with heart rate, sleep cycle, and cardio fitness level tracking. The new models were not released with much attention, so it’s unclear when exactly the trackers became available.
Fitbit isn’t alone in this endeavor. The news comes on the heels of an announcement from Fitbit competitor Apple. Its Apple Watch now has an app called Attain, which is a partnership with Aetna where customers can earn prizes, including an Apple Watch, for completing healthy activities.
Both developments speak to the growing relationship between activity tackers and the healthcare industry. Apple Watch, for its part, has been building its reputation as a health device, adding an ECG app and often touting its fitness tracking aspects. Working directly with the healthcare industry can bolster that goal while allowing the company to reach more potential customers. Fitbit’s motivations seem unconnected to those of Apple, however. It’s had trouble in recent years reaching a mainstream audience, especially since Apple entered the market, as CNBC noted. The business-to-business model may help attract sales outside of the direct consumer market.
It is unclear if any partners will use the Fitbit models to grant rewards similar to the Attain program. Fitbit’s website notes that having a health tracker can help encourage healthy behaviors as an incentive for health plan providers, who may want to make them available to customers. CNBC also notes that the company has been working on software that will allow employees of its company partners to track their health and make healthy changes. It appears that health trackers may have a larger future as they expand within the health plan industry, especially if those healthcare plans back up the use of those trackers with monetary and gift incentives for its customers.