Smart Start: Wearable Technology
Wearable technology, such as fitness trackers and smartwatches, has been around for long enough now that distributors have many options and price levels to choose from. But how can distributors make sure they are providing their clients with a quality product that will be a valued addition to end users’ lives rather than discarded in a drawer?
Vito Ciaravino, owner of supplier Intelligent Galaxy, LLC (PPAI 516765), a company with the tagline The Leaders In Wearable Technology, says distributors should know there are some wearable technology items out there that don’t work the way they advertise. “Distributors need to understand the products and how they work, and not decide on a wearable strictly on price alone,” says Ciaravino.
“Do your research to learn what makes certain products better. For example, find out what sensors a tracker uses. If it’s a 2D sensor, it tracks any motion so it won’t be very accurate. Better products include a 3D sensor, which means that three-dimensional movement is required for it to track, so something like waving your hand or driving won’t register as movement and count as a step. Top-of-the-line products have 6D sensors, which can decipher whether you’re going up or down stairs or biking.”
Ciaravino also says distributors should check the app that comes with the device for ease of use, quality of data, and to make sure the tracker can connect properly before recommending it to their clients. For example, “Many apps give users an average calorie burn rate based on a person of similar height and weight, but some apps will allow end users to input their stride length, which gives a much more accurate calorie count,” he explains.
Ten New And Upcoming Wearable Tech Trends To Watch
1 Smart jewelry — gems that offer UV detection so you know when to cover up, and bracelets that pay your bills
2 Connected clothes — fabric integrated with technology
3 Smart shoes — sneakers with integrated trackers
4 More measuring — wearables that measure VO2 Max, heart rate variability (HRV), metabolic rates, body composition and sweat
5 Chore gamification — smart wearables for kids age three to eight that parents can communicate with through an app to set schedules, teach time and, yes, reward chore completion
6 Emotional intelligence — wearables that sense how you feel, rather than just how fit you are
7 ID wristbands — paper bracelets for virtual queueing, NFC payments, photo tagging and easy access to doors, turnstiles and lockers
8 Tech tats — temporary tattoos or “biowearables” that can send health data such as blood sugar levels to doctors, among many other potential uses
9 Body heat — wearable devices powered by the body
10 Hearables — high-powered earbuds for fitness tracking, coaching and real-time translation, as well as to connect with AI assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant
Sources: Wareable.com; Intelligent Galaxy LLC
1 Setting The Pace
Axis Promotions’ (PPAI 159158) client wanted to celebrate a milestone achievement—being named the No. 1 U.S. Fairness Opinion Provider. “We sourced Fitbit and branded each one,” says Johanna Gottlieb, senior branding specialist. “We sent them to a fulfillment house and we sourced mailers and added red crinkle (red is a big brand color for the client). Each Fitbit was put into the mailer with crinkle and sent with a personalized card. We also added a nice belly band to the mailer and drop shipped these around the country.”
2 Message In A Backpack
When Corporate Specialty Insignia (PPAI 671332) was asked to suggest staff gifts as a recognition solution for a client focused on technology, it wanted to wow the client with something unique.
“We selected the Therm-O Backpack™ from BAG MAKERS because it offered utility, integrated technology and had a high perceived value for a diverse organization of gender and age,” says Bryan James, co-owner of Corporate Specialty Insignia. “We embedded a digital code in the logo which is stored in the Cloud and is linked to a URL, YouTube or coupon, and can be redirected at a moment’s notice using the Digimarc® Discover app and VistaScan technology.” [VistaScan combines BAG MAKERS’ ColorVista imprint process with digital barcode technology to create an interactive experience].
“We encouraged the end buyer to record a warm, strategic message and then upload it to YouTube. Each end user received the backpack and was given instructions to download the free app and scan the logo to view the video message. Lastly, the Digimarc technology offers analytics so we provided the amount of views (scans) by end users, which exceeded 60 percent.”
Health And Fitness Focused Products
Music and GPS go straight to your wrist with the new Misfit Vapor Smartwatch—with no phone required. Built-in location services track your runs, swims (it’s water resistant to 50 meters) and other activities in real time. View and track your heart rate. Utilize the Bluetooth connectivity to keep you connected and enjoy a virtual bezel which allows for quick navigation. It’s all tucked behind a sleek and vibrant circular touchscreen that is as stylish as it is smart. The Misfit Vapor releases in July.
Fossil / PPAI 196495 / www.fossil.com
With built-in Bluetooth wireless stereo headphones and a microphone for listening to music and hands-free phone calls, this acrylic knit smart beanie with ABS plastic buttons and components and rechargeable battery (included) features an easy-to-use interface and LED indicator lights. Expect about six to eight hours of playback time. The beanie works with most Bluetooth/wireless-enabled devices.
Prime Line / PPAI 112744 / www.primeline.com
This activity tracker with heart rate monitor is designed to be worn all day and lets you monitor and log your everyday routines, from eating and sleeping habits to calories burned. Review your running stats and incoming calls at a glance without ever breaking stride. This tracker also comes with anti-loss functionality, and a press of a button on the side of the watch will snap a picture on your phone. There are two available places for imprinting a logo, the band itself or on the outside of the box. The tracker is available exclusively in black.
KTI Networks / KTI Promo / PPAI 238818 / www.ktipromo.com
If you need a high-end fitness gift for serious runners, these smart sunglasses fit the bill. Combining Oakley’s performance innovation heritage with Intel’s technology expertise, these sunglasses feature a real-time voice-activated coaching system that creates a unique training program, tracks performance such as power output, heart rate, speed, cadence, distance and time, and coaches the wearer in the moment. A touchpad on the temples controls functions with simple taps and swipes—adjust the volume, control music and calls from a paired phone.
Abt Electronics / PPAI 652151 / www.abt.com
The ChillBand Ultra goes beyond typical tracking (steps, calories burned, distance walked, etc.) to include dynamic heart rate, blood pressure monitoring and blood-oxygen level reporting, great features for those people who need to track those levels regularly. It also includes an incoming call and text notification, an easy-to-use app, a touch screen and an anti-lost feature. It’s available in four colors.
Intelligent Galaxy, LLC / PPAI 516765 / www.intelligentgalaxy.com
The Tap ’N Read Fitness Pedometer Watch with a comfortable silicone rubber wristband automatically tracks steps, distance, calories burned and active time. Tap the display one time to change the function mode. No app, smartphone or software is required. A free spare pair of button cell batteries is included. It’s available in four colors.
Ariel Premium Supply, Inc. / PPAI 161650 / www.arielpremium.com
The high-visibility waist pack with an LED light is a great item for night running/walking or cycling. The LED light is visible from 1,000 feet and has three different light modes: fast or slow blink, or steady on. The strong, adjustable belt stays in place for bounce-free stability and comfort and extends from 27 to 37 inches. The large pocket holds valuables and is water-resistant. A non-replaceable lithium-ion battery comes in the pack, along with a USB charging cable for the rechargeable light. The item is CE- and Rohs-certified. It comes in neon safety green with a full-color heat transfer imprint.
Beacon Promotions / PPAI 113702 / www.beaconpromotions.com
Cases To Carry Your Technology
This 4.75-inch by six-inch high-quality Neoprene smartphone holder with adjustable elastic armband fits most popular touchscreen smartphones. It includes a one-color imprint on one side; additional imprint colors or locations are available. The holder comes in more than 50 color options.
Numo / PPAI 112597 / www.numomfg.com
This tech-friendly backpack includes a padded rear compartment that holds up to a 17-inch laptop. It also has a compartment for a 10-inch iPad, tablet or eReader. A padded back panel and adjustable shoulder straps bring added comfort and water-resistant zippers on exterior pockets offer excellent protection for belongings. The earth-friendly Nüwa exterior fabric has 100-percent genuine Napa leather accents. If you happen to lose your backpack, the Swiss Tracker™ Bag Tracking Program helps reunite you with your bag anywhere in the world for free.
Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc. / PPAI 113873 / www.VSACorporate.com
The Professional Rolling Laptop Case offers four separate storage sections, is constructed from durable ballistic nylon and includes a five-stage telescoping handle, padded top carry handle, free-rolling in-line skate wheels and a trolley strap for stacking on other luggage. The case also features a fully adjustable and padded laptop compartment for 13-inch to 17-inch laptops, a separate fleece-lined pouch for a tablet, a large file section and an oversized compartment for clothing and personal items. The matching Professional Checkpoint-friendly Backpack fits securely on top of the rolling case with its built-in trolley strap. The backpack also features a fully adjustable and padded laptop compartment for 13- to 16-inch laptops, and a separate fleece-lined pouch for a tablet. Both cases come with a lifetime warranty.
Mobile Edge / PPAI 314937 / www.mobileedge.com
This 8.75-inch by 10.25-inch leather portfolio is designed with flexible elastic tabs to fit any tablet. It includes a writing pad and Scully pen, and it has a magnetic snap closure. The tablet cover is available in soft plonge leather in chocolate and black.
Scully Leather / PPAI 174962 / www.scullycorporate.com