Tag Archives: wearable technology

Google Acquires Fitbit

Acquisitions can be tricky. Companies need to assess what markets to enter, and which products and services are needed for those markets. While it is common for food and beverage companies to use acquisitions to gain market share, it can be a tad trickier when combining technology companies. A key consideration is that companies find synergies that can be capitalized on when combining organizations.

A recent acquisition of interest is the purchase of fitness tracker pioneer Fitbit by search engine giant Google for an estimated $2.1 billion. The acquisition moves Google into a better position in the wearable technology market and gives Fitbit access to more resources, technology, and marketing. (However, there are still some outstanding issues with government regulators; use by Google of Fitbit data for advertising purposes is a concerns to regulators.)

Fitbit is a familiar company to most college students. Founded in 2007, the company makes watches and bracelets to track health information; it has an estimated 20 million active users. New Fitbit products include Fitbit Stress, featuring stress management tools and an ECG app to assess heart rhythm. Fitbit’s products are carried in 39,000 retail stores in 100 countries. Annual revenue in 2009 was $1.4 billion.

Fitbit’s overall market share has decreased dramatically since the introduction of Apple Smartwatch. Its market share of 4.7% is significantly lower than the market leader Apple at 31.7%, followed by Xiaomi and Huawei.

How do you track your fitness?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the four key marketing strategies: product development, market development, market penetration, and diversification.
  2. Discuss diversifications/acquisitions as a marketing strategy. When is this effective? When is it not effective?
  3. Show Fitbit’s Web site and products: https://www.fitbit.com/global/us/home
  4. Show Google’s products’ Web site: https://about.google/intl/en_us/products/
  5. Do these two companies complement each other? If so, now?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a promotional plan that the companies can use to promote their combined value to customers.

Source: Associated Press; CNN News; Wall Street Journal; other sources

 

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CES and New Products to Fight COVID-19

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest and most influential showcases in the United States for introducing innovative products from around the globe. This year’s CES show looked a little different though. Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, CES was held virtually in an all-digital format. Still, it included more than 300 speakers, 150 countries, 700 start-ups, and thousands of new products from around the globe. A diverse group of companies included the latest innovations in manufacturing, transportation, entertainment, robotics, automotive, consumer goods, and more.

This year CES hosted 150,000 digital attendees who viewed products from thousands of different exhibitors in categories such as 3D printing, gaming, robotics, sports, drones, fitness, health and wellness, retailing, wearables, and a variety of other product groupings. CES regularly helps to launch thousands of new products, including many that we all know and use today.

Of course, given the times we live in, a big draw this year was for products and services that could help us cope with COVID-19. The show also provided looks at products in the marketplace as well as products-yet-to-be-launched in categories including:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • 5G and mobile connectivity
  • Food and CPG companies
  • Health care technology
  • Smart cities
  • Home sensors and technology
  • Travel and tourism
  • Transportation and vehicle technology
  • And of course, lots of robots!

What’s your favorite innovation from CES?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the purpose of CES show and how innovation fits into it.
  2. Also discuss the use of trade shows and exhibits as part of a marketing plan.
  3. Show a summary video about COVID-19 products at CES from the Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/joanna-stern-personal-technology/ces-2021-smart-masks-smart-air-purifiers-and-more-covid-fighting-gadgets/5BED1C45-A45E-4CDA-9E4B-DC1195F807ED?mod=djem10point
  4. Additional summary videos can be found on YouTube, such as: https://youtu.be/ouiPPIH1uXc
  5. View the CES Web site: https://digital.ces.tech/home
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a product featured at CES.
  7. Instruct students to research the products online, and define a target market for the product?
  8. Which ones do they think will be winners in the marketplace? What products miss the mark?

Source:  C/NET; TechRadar.com; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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Amazon’s Echo Glasses Frames

Does it seem like there are more wearable devices than ever in the marketplace? Well, get used to it. Already there are headphones, ear buds, jackets – there is a lot, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. One of the latest wearable device are the new Echo Frames smart glasses from Amazon, with always-on Alexa voice control.

The glass frames gives the wearer hand-free access to the Alexa services at any time. Alexa – Amazon’s digital assistant – can answer questions, take reminders, and even operate smart home gadgets. The frames let the wearer interact with Alexa, listen to music, podcasts, and more. The frames are controlled by swiping along the earpiece and microphones can be shut off on command. The sound is subtle; only the wearer can hear the Alexa replies.

Priced at $179.99, the frames can be customized with subscription lenses at any optometrist outlet. They currently work only with Android phones; no word on connecting to iPhones at a future time.

If you remember the Google Glass, one of the criticisms was the display with cameras. These Echo frames do not have that capability and there are no cameras.

Now our glasses not only help us see better, they also can cooperate and provide additional functions. How is your vision?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impact of wearables, including smart glasses.
  2. Show the Amazon Echo frames: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G62GWS4/ref=sxts_snpl_1_0_cb5e5e76-63c9-4995-ba6c-9e5dc465d041?pd_rd_w=96hzn&pf_rd_p=cb5e5e76-63c9-4995-ba6c-9e5dc465d041&pf_rd_r=DVD6DZKRH8TCMHNGS97B&pd_rd_r=2515e17b-55cd-4dd3-8278-8dabcc07c7ae&pd_rd_wg=eioFb&qid=1571077129
  3. Show video: https://youtu.be/gmVgPF4ofsE
  4. What are the opinions of the students about this device?
  5. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  6. For the Echo frames product, what is the target market?
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for the product. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  8. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  9. How should the product be marketed to this target market segment?

Source: Amazon.com; Smith, D. (8 October 2019). Amazon Echo frames – here’s what you didn’t know about Amazon’s new smart glasses. C/NET.

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