June 18, 2022

Fitbit: Categorizing Sleep with Caricatured Animals 

The company announced today that Fitbit is founding a new Sleep Profile feature for premium members that will rank users as one of six animal characters.

In addition, users are grouped based on ten sleep metrics — five new to Fitbit.

The research team enjoyed giving people more information about how they sleep, tells Karla Gleichauf, the senior analysis scientist at Google who conducted the research for the segment. “We were also influenced by fun things, like game design or the Harry Potter quizzes about what house you’re in,” she says. “People love to be categorized. So, we stated, ‘I think this is just really fun’ — it’s another kind of identity to people.”

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For instance, Fitbit co-founder James Park is a dolphin, Gleichauf says. People with dolphin sleep animals manage to go to bed at variable times, sleep late, and take lots of naps. When they do sleep, though, it’s very relaxing. “These are individuals who have a lot of scope for improvement,” she says.

The feature appears identical to Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 sleep coaching program, which allocates users one of eight sleep types associated with an animal. Samsung then prompts users to initiate a program to enhance sleep quality.

To create the new Fitbit feature, the research team examined a month’s sleep data from around 60,000 users to make the various profiles, Gleichauf says. The group started with 1,000 different features and tested various machine learning algorithms to zero in on six different categories of sleepers eventually. The six groups each hold distinct attributes, like the dolphin, known for waking up more efficiently, and the parrot, which manages to have a constant bedtime.

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The final feature gives users information about ten metrics that feed into the overall Sleep Profile. Five already exist in other app regions — like sleep duration and REM sleep. Five others are new and open in the Sleep Profile. Those include bedtime consistency, days with naps, and time before sound sleep.

Individuals must sleep with Fitbit at least 14 nights every month to get their Sleep Profile.

The research crew validated the profiles and metrics through two studies examining people’s perception of their sleep, Gleichauf says. One glanced at data from 1,000 people who considered their sleep on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and using Sleep Profile and found that the results lined up with their sleep animals, she says.

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The team also studied around 18,000 people using the profile to check the ‘time before sound sleep’ metric. The analysis tracked sleep behaviors, perceptions, and practices over a few weeks and used the outcomes to squeeze the algorithm for that metric, Gleichauf states. “It tries to get at that hard question of — how extended did it take you to sense like you fell asleep?” she says. “That’s new to Fitbit.”

Right now, the Fitbit Sleep Profile assesses someone’s sleep. But ultimately, Gleichauf says, the feature could expand to inform people how they might improve the metrics their profiles show they must work on. “I think the monthly sleep analysis is the key to providing that personalized guidance because it pinpoints these are the areas that — if you’re interested — you can improve,” she states.

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Fitbit is a consumer electronics and American fitness company. It delivers wireless-enabled physical fitness monitors, wearable technology, activity trackers such as smartwatches, pedometers, and monitors for heart rate, quality of sleep, stairs ascended, and related software. Alphabet, Inc. acquired the company in 2021.

In 2019, Fitbit was shipments’ fifth most extensive wearable technology business. The company has traded over 120 million gadgets and 29 million users in over 100 nations.

The company was launched on March 26, 2007,  as Healthy Metrics Research, Inc. in San Francisco, California, by James Park (CEO) and Eric Friedman (CTO). In October 2007, it altered its name to Fitbit, Inc. In January 2015, the company successfully safeguarded against a trademark lawsuit from Fitbug. On March 5, 2015, Fitbit earned fitness coaching app developer Fitstar for $17.8 million. In June 2015, the company evolved into a public company thru an initial public offering, raising $732 million.

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In May 2016, Fitbit received a wearable payment platform from the brilliant credit card company Coin. In October 2016, CEO James Park revealed that the company was transforming significantly from a “consumer electronics company” to a “digital healthcare company.” On December 6, 2016, Fitbit gained assets from Pebble for $23 million.

On January 10, 2017, Fitbit gained Romania-based smartwatch startup Vector Watch SRL.

On February 13, 2018, Fitbit gained Twine Health. In February 2018, Fitbit revealed a partnership with Adidas to unleash an Adidas-branded Fitbit Ionic; it was expressed on March 19, 2018. Finally, in August 2018, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association revealed a partnership with Fitbit in which BCBS will contain Fitbit’s wearables and fitness trackers in its Blue365 program.

In January 2021, Google acquired Fitbit and absorbed it into its hardware division. However, the acquisition was scrutinized by regulators concerned over Google’s access to personal data in both the United States and Europe.

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In 2014, Fitbit began offering activity trackers, a website, and a mobile app for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 Mobile. It allows the trackers to sync to devices such as mobile phones via Bluetooth or a Bluetooth-equipped computer running Windows or macOS. Users can log their food, activities, and weight, to track over time and set daily and weekly objectives for themselves for steps, calories burned and consumed, and distance walked.

The app also suggests a community page where users can challenge themselves and compete against others. The social element expects an increase in motivation and discovers that users take an average of 700 more steps daily when they have friends on the app. Users can also select to share their progress photos and achievement badges.

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In 2017, the company unleashed its Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, and in 2018, it released a redesigned, lower-priced rendition of the smartwatch called the Versa.

The Fitbit Charge 3 wristband health and fitness tracker submitted in October 2018 was the first gadget to feature an oxygen saturation (SPO2) sensor; however, as of January 2019, it was non-functional, and Fitbit did not furnish an implementation timeline.

The Fitbit Charge 3 reaches with two different-sized bands: small and large. The small is between 5.5–7.1 inches (14–18 cm), and the large is 7.1–8.7 inches (18–22 cm). Additionally, the screen is more significant than Charge 2 by approximately 40%. Fitbit Charge 3 arrives in two color combos: a Rose-Gold suit with a Blue Grey band and a “Graphite Aluminum” screen suit with a Black band.

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On December 17, 2018, Fitbit unleashed the Fitbit OS 3.0, which included a comprehensive dashboard, rapid logging for weight and water intake, and a goal-based exercise way. In addition, the new comprehensive on-device dashboard (Fitbit Today) would consist of more data regarding sleep, water intake, and weight.

There are three interpretations of the Fitbit Versa, standard, Special, and Lite.

In December 2018, Fitbit counted an API and open-source tools to allow developers to build apps for its smartwatch products better.

On January 2, 2019, the company reported the release of the Fitbit Charge 3 in India.

On June 3, 2020, in the COVID-19 pandemic, the company reported Fitbit Flow, a ventilator in response to the deficiencies of ventilators in medical centers and hospitals worldwide that are required to treat critically ill patients.

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However, despite calling for an emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the company does not believe Fitbit Flow is a drop-in replacement for traditional ventilators. Instead, the outcome is meant as an option when the expensive option of conventional ventilators is not available. Therefore, the company plans for Fitbit Flow to be used only during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In August 2020, Fitbit also announced new smartwatches, the Versa 3, the Inspire 2, and the Fitbit Sense, including new health metrics and analyses such as stress sensing, oxygen saturation, and skin temperature. The Sense also pledges to show changes in skin temperature to detect signs of sickness. In addition, certain Sense, Versa, Ionic, and Charge products support Fitbit Pay, a digital wallet that uses near-field communication to make payments at the point of sale.

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