FitnessTech just keeps growing.

FitnessTech was the talk of CES 2014. The premiere of the Battle of the Bands put Adidas, LG Electronics, Basis, Magellan, Kreyos and Wellograph through their paces. We also saw new faces in the Sports and FitnessTech Zone with Reebok entering the race along with LG Electronics and we answered the” Function or Fashion?” question with Fitbit’s announcement of their new Tory Birch partnership. The coming year should bring more wearables, more partnerships and many more new faces to the FitnessTech industry.

FitnessTech Summit

The FitnessTech Summit showed that innovation and technology in the sports and fitness industries are growing as fast as the number of wearables on the market. From the latest in fitness trackers to how new ways of being fit and healthy are being incorporated into the workplace, the home and the playground, to a rousing Battle of the Bands,the Summit offered insight, inspiration and entertainment to the packed room. Some highlights:

Walter De Brouwer, founder and CEO of Scanadu discussed why this generation will be known as the “quantified generation” and what this means for the fitness industry, and Simon Drabble of Adidas talked about how established sports companies are analyzing and responding to consumer demand and adopting new technologies to stay competitive in the marketplace. The takeaway? Old dogs (in the sports industry) are not only learning new tricks, they’re also teaching those tricks to the new pups.
In the area of wearables, industry leaders from, Polar, Valencell, Jawbone, Jaybird, and TI discussed improvements in algorithms and how improved data is deciphered and used by consumers. Because you are what you wear, a panel moderated by Denise Yohn, author of What Great Brands Do, explored the intersection of function and fashion in wearables, and Paul Litchfield of Reebok, creator of the Reebok Pump, talked about wearable tech as both personal statement and status symbol.
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On the broader FitnessTech front, panels explored how to create a “fitness culture” and how there is growing recognition of how being fit contributes to being both healthy and productive. Denise Yohn’s panel, featuring speakers from Zensorium, Runtastic, TAO-Wellness and LG Electronics, on ways to help people met their fitness goals, found that new technologies, combined with support communities, were the most successful in engaging and maintaining a fitness-mindset. How do companies incorporate fitness into benefit plans and employee wellness? The New York Times’ Eric Taub moderated a lively panel discussion with Zamzee, Virgin Pulse, SparkPeople, Fitbit and Humana Wellness as they looked at the partnerships with digital fitness companies that have been forged. And, not to leave out the next gen of digital fitness users, Jennifer Jolly of USA Today, GeoPalz, Playworld Systems and Ubooly explored how companies can build a market based on keeping kids active, healthy and safe.
What about bikers, hikers, kayakers and weekend warriors? Outdoor enthusiasts’ adoption of new technology, and the opportunities this presents to the consumer electronic market, were the topic of a roundtable hosted by Men’s Health’s Eric Adams, with panelists from Looxcie, AfterShokz and Magellan. 
The day ended with two more highlights. First, was Olympian Shannon Miller sharing her triumphs, setbacks and achievements since winning seven Olympic medals. What’s she been doing since her retirement from flipping, somersaulting and vaulting? Not much. Just founding Shannon Miller Lifestyle: Health and Fitness for Women and being named the new ambassador for Polar.

Battle Of The Bands

Since fitness is all about activity, the FitnessTech Summit ended by getting everyone out of their chairs and moving to the beat. Six fitness tech companies competed in a heated Battle of the Bands, pitting not only the magnificence of their wearables, but also their ability to entertain, in three-minute jams to convince the voting audience that their band (both musical and wearable) is the best. Adidas borrowed Living in Digital Times’ own Alex Vasilia to demonstrate the live coaching feature of their new miCoach smart watch. LG, showcasing the newly-launched LifeBand (in partnership with Valencell) opted for geographic-specific marketing by bringing in Las Vegas showgirls. Kreyos, Wellograph and Magellan used videos and skits to prove they were the most worthy. And, in a nod to old time rock and roll (and public humiliation), the Basis team got the old band back together and appeared on stage as Kizz. The winners? Adidas for most informative and entertaining presentation and LG Electronic’s raised the most curiosity about their band. Basis Science ran a close second in all three categories.