F is for fitness trackers

Fitness Track

This post is part of a continuing series, “Digital: from A to Z,” that explores what it means to be “digital” from A to Z, broken down into individual blog posts diving deeper into various subjects. Check back regularly to see continuing posts as I work my way through the alphabet and let me know: What’s in your A to Z of digital? You can find me on twitter @Max_Hemingway or leave a comment below.

Fitness trackers are one of the most popular wearables available today. They can take many forms, with the most recognisable being ones worn on the wrist; others use capabilities on mobile phones or are devices worn on the chest or embedded into clothing.

The number of devices being sold in 2017 has been estimated by Gartner to be around 176 million, taking into account the categories that have fitness tracking capabilities.

From a basic pedometer function to recording additional statistics such as heart rate, location, altitude, etc., these devices are collecting and generating huge amounts of data. Although the devices are mainly used on a personal basis, industries are now tapping into this information bank, such as health care looking at monitoring the health of patients, and insurance companies looking at how an adaptive health insurance policy can be influenced by our fitness.

The power of this data can be seen in the data collected through a popular application called Strava, which connects people together to record and share their activities. In 2016, 350 million Strava activities were collected and their data was displayed via Strava Labs, which clustered the information together over a map of the world. At a high level, there doesn’t look to be a lot of data highlighted; however, zooming in shows a lot of data in different areas around the world.

Businesses are starting to utilise these devices to benefit the business and employees by collecting data to monitor and analyse areas such as:

  • employee health (working in areas of concern)
  • monitoring for lone workers

The devices are also adapting and evolving to meeting the growing demand.

The trackers are only one part of a solution for collecting the information, as shown in the Strava example; an integrated analytical back end is needed to gain useful meaning to the data.

Join me next time as I look at ‘G is for geolocation’ in my Digital A-Z series.  See my last post, E is for evolution.

This entry was originally posted in Max’s blog.

Max Hemingway is a senior architect for DXC in the United Kingdom. With more than 25 years of experience, he has a broad and deep range of technical knowledge and is able to translate business needs into IT-based solutions. Currently the chief architect of the BAE Systems account in the UK, Max has a proven track record acquired through continual client engagement and delivery of leading edge infrastructures, all of which have delivered positive results for end-clients, including IT cost reduction, expansion of service capability and increased revenues.


  1. Just another reason to remember HR is not your friend.

  2. Nicole Zenel says:

    Wrist wearables for fitness are just the start. To really geek out on the data you go for the full set-up of bike “wearables” too. Rear wheel speed sensor, cadence sensor, and heart rate monitor connected to the Garmin watch uploading to Strava. Then for inside, you’ve got the Smart Trainer with power sensor interfacing with Zwift on iOS.


  1. […] Join me next time as I look at ‘H is for hearable’ in my Digital A-Z series.  See my last post, F is for fitness trackers. […]

  2. […] As mentioned above, wrists are the most popular place to use a wearable, taking the form of a smart watch or fitness tracker. […]

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