One of the hottest products to debut at SXSW this year was the Nike Fuelband. Lines formed every morning to purchase the hot new Nike fitness device at the parking lot that was the public headquarters for Nike. A month after returning from Austin, TX, I picked one up for myself.
The Fuelband itself is essentially a fancy pedometer that is worn on the wrist. As the wearer walks during the day, the number of steps is calculated and the user’s “fuel” counts up. The wearer sets a daily goal to keep them moving to reach the goal and receive virtual awards based on how far over the goal and how many days in a row they achieve the goal.
The biggest strength of the Nike Fuelband is its social aspect. Fuelband users can add their Facebook then compare with their friends with a daily or weekly point total. It makes it fun to see how friends are doing and how active they are being during the day. The only problem is it requires everyone to sync their Fuelbands with their computers or with the iPhone app and the friends can only be seen with the iPhone app.
With my running, I usually surpass my goals with ease, so most days it’s just a fun thing to wear and compare with friends (and show how high I run the points up with runs like the Brooklyn Half Marathon). On days I don’t run it does get me up and forces me to be active, which is good. It gets me away from the computer and forces me to go for a walk or something equally active to earn my fuel for the day.
My one complaint is not being able to see how I compared against friends in a previous day or week. Maybe they are planning to add something like this with the relaunch of the website in a few weeks, but until then, I don’t know how I compared once the clock strikes midnight.
The Nike Fuelband is a good way to get moving and motivate both by just achieving goals and competing with friends. Even with my running, I like seeing what kinds of high scores I can achieve and what different awards I can receive for doing it.