Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Fitbit launches activity tracker for kids

Steve Rogerson
March 27, 2018



Fitbit has introduced an activity tracker for children. The Fitbit Ace is said to make fitness fun for kids while inspiring the entire family to build healthy habits together and help fight decreasing levels of activity in children.
 
Designed for kids aged eight and older, Ace automatically tracks steps, active minutes and sleep, has up to five days of battery life, features an adjustable, showerproof wristband in two bright colours, and provides encouragement to be active. Plus, with the Fitbit family account, parents can control with whom their kids connect in the Fitbit app so they can safeguard their kids’ privacy and stay on top of their activity. Ace is available for presale today, with global retail availability in the second quarter of this year.
 
According to the World Health Organisation, childhood obesity rates are on the rise, with two out of three kids inactive every day. Based on a Fitbit study, most parents agree and believe their children are less active than when they were children. They are concerned about their child’s weight, the food they eat and their activity levels, as well as the rising trend of childhood obesity.
 
Most parents want their children to be healthier (84%) and want their families to be more active (87%). Screen time is cited as the biggest challenge in getting their kids to be active, and parents are looking for ways to encourage a more healthy, active lifestyle, including being more active as a family, cooking together or encouraging their children to have a better understanding of their own activity levels. In fact, three-quarters of parents said they were interested in the use of fitness trackers to help them keep their kids active, and Fitbit was selected over competitors more than twice as often due to ease of use and brand trust.
 
To address this, Fitbit designed Ace to encourage kids to be more active and build healthy habits with their families.
 
It provides kids with motivation to move by automatically tracking steps, active minutes and sleep stats, and set customisable daily step and active minute goals. The World Health Organisation recommends children aged seven to 17 get 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention suggests nine to 12 hours of sleep a night.
 
The tracker can reduce sedentary time by setting up personalised reminders that nudge them to get at least 250 steps each hour with a small buzz when they’ve been sitting on the couch or in front of a screen for too long.
 
It encourages kids to achieve their goals by rewarding them with celebratory messages and fun, collectible badges, which can be seen in the Fitbit app on their or their parents’ phones.
 
Kids can compete against family, or friends (coming soon), in daily and weekend challenges, or in a Family Faceoff – a five-day step challenge that allows members in a family account to compete against each other and stay motivated (coming soon).
 
“The challenge of inactivity with our children is not going away and is only estimated to get worse as they get older, dropping almost 40 minutes per year from ages nine to 15,” said Chris Watts, executive director of the National Fitness Foundation. “It is essential to provide parents with tools to help their kids be more active. Fitbit’s solution offers more than just a way to track activity – it helps instil healthy habits from an early age, making it fun and rewarding to move more and empowers parents to make health and fitness a family affair.”
 
Protecting kids’ privacy is top of mind for parents who let their kids use technology. That’s why the Fitbit family account is designed to be compliant with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa) and other applicable privacy laws, allowing parents to manage with whom their children connect and what information they see in the Fitbit app.
 
The parent view setting lets parents navigate between their view and their kid’s view to check activity progress and approve friend requests from family members and friends (coming soon) at any time in the Fitbit app. Ace automatically syncs with most Android and iOS devices; a version for Windows devices is coming soon.
 
The child view sets limits on what data the child sees in the Fitbit app, such as stats, friend requests and more.
 
For kids with smartphones, it ensures they never miss a call with notifications directly on the wrist.
 
“As childhood obesity rates continue to rise, it’s more important than ever to empower the entire family to embrace a healthy and more active lifestyle,” said James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit. “It can be hard to start and stick to good habits, and we know from our community that network effects are key to getting and keeping people motivated. By bringing that experience to families, it can make healthier habits feel more achievable by making it fun and engaging. We are excited by the opportunity to enable parents to help set their kids on a path to building lifelong, healthy habits all while having fun together.”
 
With an adjustable, showerproof wristband and up to five days of battery life, Ace is designed to keep pace with a kid’s life and withstand any splashes, spills or activities. By offering ten clock faces and two fun interchangeable bands in electric blue and power purple, kids can find the style that fits their personality and be motivated to wear Ace day and night, no matter what they are doing.
 
Fitbit Ace is available for presale today on Fitbit.com for $99.95. Ace will be available in stores worldwide in Q2 2018, including major North American retailers Amazon, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Target.
 
Fitbit is introducing female health tracking to help women understand how their menstrual cycle connects to their overall health. According to a recent Fitbit survey, 80% of women did not know how many phases are in a menstrual cycle and more than 70% were unable to correctly identify the average length of a cycle, demonstrating a lack of awareness about women's health.
 

 
"Female health tracking will empower women with a greater understanding of their menstrual cycles in conjunction with their physical and mental health, as they start to recognise what are normal trends over time versus what could be an issue to share with their doctor," said Katharine White, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Boston University School of Medicine. "The nuances of the menstrual cycle have not been as widely studied across populations as have other areas in healthcare. This exciting development by Fitbit could help potentially create one of the largest databases of menstrual health metrics in the world, providing healthcare and research professionals with an unprecedented ability to study menstrual cycles and women's health with real world data."