Do we expect too much from fitness products?

I was reading Shaun’s post about blood oxygenation in the Apple Watch and I was wondering if we simply expect too much? For example, I know that my Fitbit doesn’t count steps accurately – it works fine if I’m marching along, arms swinging, but potter about, and inaccuracy creeps in. Similarly with the camera on my phone. I know its colour gamut isn’t perfect as I can see it with certain colours. So I’m just wondering if we expect too much from a multi purpose device that has to balance cost, convenience, precision and accuracy. Andrew.

Andrew posted the above in the WhatsApp group and it got me to thinking. My immediate thought was that we should expect a lot from products of any type that claim to do something and that accepting failure or innacracy is simply not good enough.

I kind of agree with his thoughts about steps on fitness products and that to expect perfect accuracy would be a reach, but where on any of the marketing from Fitbit, Apple etc do we see a note suggesting that the accuracy may be compromised? When the Fitbit trackers struggled with tracking flights the company ignored the situation and has now quietly removed it from the newer products.

The comment about digital cameras is of course valid, but I do believe that the majority of people are either aware of this or do not notice. And it is also an area where the manufacturers never have to make bold claims about perfect accuracy.

My main issue is when it comes to tracking specific health stats like your heartrate, ECG and Blood Oxygen. When Andrew says ‘I’m just wondering if we expect too much from a multi purpose device that has to balance cost, convenience, precision and accuracy’ my argument would be that if a company offers such a feature it MUST be backed up with a high degree of accuracy. You cannot implement features that are potentially life changing, you cannot use stories of how your products have saved lives and then be forgiven when they do not track as accurately as should be expected from a ‘health’ sensor. I agree with Andrew that expectations should perhaps be less for multi-purpose devices that track multiple aspects, but the manufacturers offer too many intimated promises in the marketing for most people to understand that.



Categories: Articles, Fitness, Fitness Trackers, Smartwatches

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