The veritable explosion in fitness gadgets has led to many new efficiencies and a lot of great innovation. Apps have replaced log books, wearables have helped us track metrics which we were never previously able to and now the Moov Now is in the market, with the intention of replacing the personal trainer. This second-gen wearable sports tracker intends to bring the next wave of functionality, transforming the humble fitness band into a viable alternative to the PT. Lets see what its got.
Firstly lets consider what your ‘average’ fitness band can accomplish. Typically, they track your activity – namely your active activity (steps taken) and your passive at rest activity (your sleep cycle). They then draw some assumptions from this data, such as how many calories you may have burned and how active you have been relative to your ‘normal’ day. So far, so typically activity tracker. However, where the Moov Now has grander ambitions is how these data points are collected, collated, anlaysed and then put into an actionable plan to actually help you be fitter. In other words, this fit-tech gadget wants to be your complete coach. So not only is it collecting the typical data, but to really achieve this it needs to collect more – so to achieve this, it is able to analyse your running, cycling and/or swimming technique, in order to then provide feedback.
So like any good PT, the Moov Now is tracking your ever step. So when you’re running, its looking at key factors like your stride length, constantly analysing and dissecting your technique, in order to coach you into improving. Then when the going gets tough, its ready to help motivate you. Naturally, this is all achieved via the devices companion app. So whilst the Moov hardware collects the data, the app is quietly working through the big-data pool and making the suggestions. Additional hardware inputs can be utilised, such as third party heart rate monitors too – enabling additional data to be collected. So if you have, for example, a Polar heart rate monitor, you can get it singing and dancing with the Moov app. Additionally, the app is programmed to work across a wide range of mainstream sports, and doubtlessly should this prove popular, then this will be built out and expanded upon. We have already seen the likes of the Adidas MiCoach brining football specific trackers, but it will be interesting to observe whether a single hardware/app combination can do the job across all sports.
The coaching feedback is all transmitted through your headphones – so a good pair of sports headphones is necessary – and this way you get the coaching feedback as you run, as opposed to waiting until after the run in order to read about it on the app.
Coming in at just £64, and brining a long term battery (6 months of use), a robust and solid build with just enough aesthetics to get by in a space where trackers are a fashion accessory as much as a gadget, and some nice tools to compete with your friends, we can see this being a sure fire winner during Christmas 2015.
However, this is not without its drawbacks. The device is almost entirely dependent on the companion app, being effectively little more than a ‘dumb device’ without it. So this is not a standalone solution and effectively is useless if you don;t have your smartphone also with you.
Also, realistically, this is a device for beginners in all senses. Beginners to fit-tech and also beginners to training. This combination seriously narrows the pool of potential users. So if you are new to the gym, and don;t fancy the expense of a personal trainer but would like some guidance, then this device brings some value for you. It can help you run faster, swim further, and even box better (it has a function that lets you use one Moov per wrist and track your boxing, although naturally you therefore need two devices). However it is not going to make you an elite athlete, and if you already have the basic fundamentals nailed, then it probably isn’t going to transform you to the next level. It can however still make workouts a little more fun, and can help introduce you to new fitness areas, such as boxing, which you may not ordinarily consider. Even for the more avid athlete, this love child of the Nintendo Wii remote and a Fitbit still offers some value.
So in summary, a solid starter fitness gadget for the new trainer, with some limited value for the more experienced athletes amongst us.