Has Wearable Tech Reached Its Limit?
The Mojo Blog sat down with David Hobbs, Senior Director of Product Management to discuss results from Mojo’s most recent survey of athletes, including their needs and the benefits of receiving real-time data during training.Jan 03, 2022
It wasn’t that long ago that tracking workouts was done with a handful of devices, gadgets and handwritten journals. Touch screens, GPS tracking and AI-based training were all abstract concepts that are now bordering on essential for today’s athlete. The broad acceptance of wearable technology can be easily illustrated by walking into your local gym or glancing at the wrists of runners on a busy trail.
Whether you prefer running in the park, cycling on the road, or meditating through yoga, practically everyone engaged in physical activity relies on smart devices to monitor their progress and general wellness. Athletes, in particular, rely heavily on data to track results before, during and after each training session.
At Mojo Vision, we are dedicated to helping individuals reach their highest potential in work, play, and life while staying connected to people and events in the real world.
As a health and technology company, we wanted to better understand how athletes chart their performance, which metrics they need and want, and their relationship with data during their workout or sport. Mojo Vision conducted a survey of over 1,300 sports enthusiasts including runners, cyclists, yogis and gym users/CrossFitters.
The data revealed that athletes want a solution that provides results during workouts without inhibiting their focus or performance. Is this even possible?
The Opportunity for During Training
As a 5-time marathon finisher, I know that having feedback during a run is a confidence booster and critical data point for training. What was surprising to hear in survey results was just how clear and obvious the desire is among nearly all athletes to receive data during workouts and training. Our data found that regardless of what sport or workout, athletes like to have in-the-moment stats on what they have done, are currently doing, and have ahead of them.
Half (50%) of the respondents said that it is most important to have data during their activity (versus before and after training) and 82% of athletes often or sometimes look at their device during their sport or activity for feedback.
The three top reasons for tracking performance data were improving training and performance (71%), reviewing data and tracking progress (69%), and tracking health and wellness (58%). Given that most athletes are primarily concerned with improving training and performance, most popular devices such as smartwatches and smartphone apps deliver data in real-time.
However, most athletes are not fully satisfied with how they receive “during data.”
The Problem With the Current Wearable Marketplace
Although current smart wearables present themselves as the most convenient way to access data, athletes have indicated that there are still many issues surrounding data access during a workout with the majority of wearables, including smartwatches.
Our research found that 68% of respondents find it often or sometimes difficult to check a device during their workout.
It’s clear that athletes need and want access to data to improve their training during their workouts. The fear, we discovered, is losing focus on training and interfering with the flow of a workout or worse, facing potential injury by looking away and down at a smartphone or other device and falling, tripping, hitting something… you get the idea. The takeaway was powerful: data helps us achieve the best results, but not if that feedback loop distracts an athlete.
Mojo’s survey data found that the top reasons that make checking a device difficult include: having to slow down or stop their activity; losing focus; and any potential danger of looking away from their activity. Just like waiting for a crosswalk during a city run, your mind can slow down trying to interpret data from a device.
Between the need athletes have for access to data during their workout and the challenges of current training devices, we recognized a definite gap between what athletes want during workouts and what the current devices and wearables can provide.
A New Solution to the Wearable Tech Problem
The fact of the matter is that wearable tech has hit a tipping point. Most smart wearables are no longer fully meeting their wearer’s needs and even present challenges when they should be providing solutions.
The market needs something that meets the needs of athletes without inhibiting progress.
83 percent of athletes said they would benefit from better access to data during performance. This is a clear sign to focus on the type of innovation that puts these athletes' needs first and to incorporate design that can boost the smart wearables market out of its current standstill.
As a smart wearable maker, we believe the industry needs to devise a solution that meets athletes’ needs for a more accessible, convenient and even safer alternative to wearables that are currently available on the market. What if we could use our form factor to address the challenge of having to look away and lose presence and eye-up focus? Could we create more impactful and present training? Could we improve focus? We think so.
To help us achieve that goal, we’ve established several strategic partnerships with fitness brands that serve runners, cyclists, gym users, golfers and more. Our initial partnerships include app providers Adidas Running, Slopes, Trailforks, Wearable X, and 18Birdies. Through these strategic partnerships and the market expertise the companies provide, we’ll be able to jointly develop new and innovative displays and interfaces for their apps with our smart contact lenses and tailor experiences to suit the data access needs of athletes of varying skill levels and abilities.
Mojo Lens won’t force athletes to look away from their training or workout to gather performance data. Instead, Mojo will make it easier for athletes to get the data they need to progress in training sessions and beyond.