Fitbit has dominated the fitness tracking market for years, but fitness trackers themselves are being displaced by smartwatches, in particular, the Apple Watch, but also Android and Garmin with the sports focussed watches.
Smaller companies struggle to compete, Misfit are gone, as is the Basis Peak, and Withings has changed hands twice in the past few years.
So, wrist-based pedometers and heart rate monitors are a problematic niche to try and gain a market share in; this is why smaller companies need to try new and innovative ways to enter the fitness market.
One such company is Spire, I have not heard of them before they contact me, and apparently, they saw great success with heir first device the Spire Stone.
The Stone is a clip-on device similar to the Fitbit Ultra which was popular several years ago. Unlike the Fitbit this doesn’t just track your steps but introduces an innovative new variable to fitness tracking, breath monitoring. It makes sense when you think about it when we are stressed or exercising we breather faster, conversely when we are relaxed our breathing slows down. This is why meditation and yoga focus on a lot of breathing exercises as the process of slow controlled breaths helps relax you.
Your breathing also differs significantly during sleep, when you enter deep sleep your breathing slows down considerably.
Apparently, this method of activity monitoring has been so successful that 1000s of health professionals recommend Spire
Stanford researchers have even carried out a study with it and found that LinkedIn employees wearing Spire had 37% greater daily calm, 27% fewer anxious days, and 25% more time spent physiologically focused.
So, unlike many wearables, the Spire has some solid medical backing behind it.
Spire have followed the stone up with the Health Tag which is a unique if not unusual approach to fitness tracking.
Rather than have a single clip-on device, you buy multiple tags which you then glue on to your clothes. They include the same breath monitoring as the stone, as well as step monitoring and now a heart rate monitor.
In order for the HRM to work it needs skin contact, so you need to wear the tags on your undergarments.
The tags have a strong adhesive on them which can handle being thrown in the wash and will remain permanently in place until you peel it off. These don’t need charging they are ultra-low powered and the battery is claimed to last 18 months. That means after the 18 months you need to throw them away.