Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Garmin GPS smart watches add health monitoring features

Steve Rogerson
September 17, 2019



At last week’s IFA show in Berlin, Garmin introduced GPS smart watches with what it claims is the broadest available range of round-the-clock health monitoring features in the market.
 
The Vívoactive 4 and 4S watches have features such as sleep with pulse ox, respiration tracking, Body Battery energy monitoring, abnormal heart-rate alerts, menstrual cycle tracking, stress tracking with relax reminders and hydration tracking.
 
With an always-on screen available in two sizes (40 and 45mm), various colour options and metal finishes, and a battery life of up to eight days in smart-watch mode, the Vívoactive 4 series is styled and featured for life on the go.
 
“At Garmin we believe that health should be measured by more than just miles logged,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “The Vívoactive 4 series is a tool for customers who want to track and improve their overall well-being, and that includes things like making sure you drink enough water or checking your Body Battery to see whether a workout over lunch is a good idea. When it is time for a workout, the Vívoactive 4 offers a ton of options, from preloaded strength training to Pilates activities.”
 
For those looking to switch up their fitness routine, it introduces more than 40 on-screen animated workouts for strength training, cardio, yoga and Pilates. These easy-to-follow workouts demonstrate proper form and technique on the user’s watch.
 
Animated workouts are the latest addition to the Vívoactive 4’s suite of workout options, which include preloaded workouts on the watch, pre-set workouts available to download from Garmin Connect, create-your-own customisable workouts, and Garmin Coach training plans; these free training plans adapt based on a runner’s goals and performance with a coach to guide and motivate.
 
And because music makes it better, the series lets users download their favourite songs or playlists, including those from third-party music services such as Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer, right to their wrist.
 
Safety and tracking features built in provide peace of mind and include incident detection during select activities and assistance, both of which send real-time location to emergency contacts.
 
The Body Battery energy monitoring feature lets users check their body’s energy levels at any given moment, which can help with scheduling workouts, rest times and sleep. Using a combination of data gathered from stress, heart rate variability, sleep and activity, a higher Body Battery indicates the time is optimal to be active whereas a lower number suggests rest is in order.
 
When it’s time to wind down for the day, sleep monitoring estimates light, deep and REM stages of sleep. Respiration tracking measures the number of breaths per minute and pulse ox gauges blood oxygen saturation levels while asleep. Together, these data can demonstrate sleep quality. Upon awakening, users can review their sleep stats in Garmin Connect.
 
With GPS, Elevate wrist-based heart rate, and more than 20 built-in indoor and outdoor sports apps including Pilates, yoga, running and swimming, the series has features to keep up with a varied active lifestyle. Need to take a breather? It offers structured breathwork activities designed to promote focus and relaxation.
 
Staying connected is key with smart notifications for incoming calls, text messages, social media updates, calendar reminders and more. The series also includes Garmin Pay, a contactless payment system so users can leave their cash and cards at home. Garmin Pay can be used at major transit systems around the world. Commuters tap and pay-per-ride with their watch – no transit card, phone or wallet needed.
 
Personalisation is said to be fun and easy with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from the Garmin Connect IQ store app. Users can even upload their own photos and turn them into watch faces.
 
The 45mm version has a battery life of up to eight days in smart-watch mode, and up to six hours in GPS plus music mode. The Vívoactive 4S (40mm) has a battery life of up to seven days in smart-watch mode, and up to five hours in GPS plus music mode.