As wearable segment continues to gain on popularity in the consumer segment – vendors are adding new capabilities to their products. Keeping this in mind, Fitbit is expanding the horizon of innovations in wearables – with its new set of products recently announced for the Indian market.
Alok Shankar, Country General Manager-India, Fitbit Inc interacts with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s new innovations and its business strategy for India.
What are the key priorities for Fitbit in India? How does the company look at the wearable market opportunity here?
If you see, overall, the wearable market in India is still quite nascent. It is something which is still in formative stage. We have been in the country for the last two and a half years and our focus has been to really educate the market in terms of benefits of what our products and services deliver.
As far as our priority is concerned – on global scale, it is to make people healthier. We want to help our customers become healthier. So all the activities that we do are centered around this core philosophy.
We have devices to first track that information from a person, then we have the App to interact with the users and now what we also doing is to give you active feedback to help users along in their journey towards better health. So we are addressing the market from a holistic ecosystem point of view as far as health and wellness is concerned. We have our hardware, software and our platform to help our customers stay healthier.
How is the Indian market growing – compared to other Asian region?
We see a good double digit healthy growth here. And we see a fairly even spread growth in the APAC region.
Globally what is the outlook for wearable devices?
As far as global outlook is concerned, in the next four years, the wearable market should double and overall this would translate to about $ 10 billion market.
Do Indians have a growing interest in wearables or fitness devices? How important is the India market for the company?
Yes, I think so, for sure – Indians do have a growing interest towards fitness devices.
As far as Indian market is concerned, it is extremely strategic in nature. As I said, earlier, we have been in this market for two and a half years and we have spent a lot of time educating, we had a healthy growth in the market.
And now we are launching three new devices in the Indian market – the first one is the Fitbit Ionic – it is the first full-featured smartwatch that we are introducing. This is a true smartwatch – it has a separate OS, you can have third party applications, there is a SDK – so that the developer community can build applications for this smartwatch.
It is a unique product – made from space-grade aluminum and comes with gorilla glass which is s scratch resistant. It gives you five days of battery life – which is a very handy feature for a smartwatch. This watch is phone-free – so it has space for music, the device also has its own GPS.
The product that we are announcing is the Bluetooth headset – we call it ‘the Flyer’. It has six hours of battery life and comes with dual microphones. It delivers a good high-end performance.
And the third product that we are announcing is our weighing scale – the Aria 2. This one comes with Bluetooth connectivity option. In the past we had only WiFi connectivity and now this comes with Bluetooth as well. So it’s a connected scale. It also tracks your body fat and your lean mass.
Inclusive of these products – how many products Fitbit has in the market today?
Our existing product range still continues – so we will have the blaze, we will have the charge 2, we will have Alta and we will have Alta HR. in addition to these products, we are introducing the three new ones now.
There are other players in the market of wearables today. How is Fitbit different?
Our core philosophy – is around health and fitness so the fact that we are delivering the best hardware devices as well as the ecosystem and platform – that is where we drive the value and our uniqueness.
Can you share some details on the innovations happening inside the Fitbit R&D?
Here, I would like to highlight on how we are innovating on our products. Our latest product – the Ionic comes with five days of battery life. This is a big innovation. In addition ti this, we have also incorporated a new sensor – the SPO2 sensor. It is the blood Oxygen level sensor.
So with this capability, users will be able to measure blood oxygen levels. We are also constantly working on improving our algorithms. We introduced sleep stages last year and it is becoming more accurate now.
We also have a program called coach which is getting integrated with our core Fitbit App. Coach is a program which will give you active guidance. You can select a program and can also download it on to your watch and with the help of headphones, it can provide you proper guidance. This application gets highly customized so a lot of work goes at the backend to be able to deliver customized and personalized information.
Wearable segment started some years back with just a few sensors and today – people expect a lot from these devices. What does the future hold for such devices?
We strongly feel that there is a lot of potential in the space and direction where we are headed. I am referring to the space of health and wellness and moving forward, this is where a lot of innovation will happen.
You are announcing three new products in India, so from a brand positioning perspective – what are the initiatives you have in mind?
As I mentioned, Fitbit is there in the Indian market for quite some time now and during this time we have made a lot of positive impact with the help of strategic high-performance partnerships around availability and brand positioning.
We have an exclusive partner in the online space in the form of Amazon.in and Ingram Micro and Rashi Peripherals are our national distribution partners. And on top of this, we continue to utilise the digital medium to educate more customers.