This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

June 11, 2014

Wearable---the Future of Wellness

When the Employee Benefit News' Benefits Forum & Expo (September in Boca Raton, Florida) has an entire track titled "Wearable Wellness", you know that something significant is happening. As we at The Herman Group have found on a personal level, other employers are discovering that the wearable devices can help to renew their wellness initiatives.

The Forum & Expo will also feature the Director of Wellness for Fitbit, Inc. as a keynote speaker, talking about "the current state of wearable devices in corporate wellness programs and what the future holds". The conference will even have a Wearable Wellness Pavilion where leading wearable device manufacturers and wellness program providers will showcase their wares.

According to ABI Research, within the next five years, employee wellness programs will incorporate more than 13 million wearable fitness tracking devices, following adoption by BP and Autodesk and numerous others.

Not only employers, but also affluent people worldwide are adopting wearable technologies, according to global technology research firm, ON World. By next year, one in five people in the United States will own a wearable technology product such as smart watch, activity tracker, or smart glasses. Moreover, almost 75 percent of the people polled believe wearable technology will have a positive impact on the health, sports, and fitness industries.

Our preference has been for the Jawbone products, their Jawbone Up and their Jawbone Up 24, a Bluetooth-enabled device. The Jawbone Up measures sleep and the number of steps/activity. If you remember the adage, "What gets measured, gets done", you will understand the psychology of the process. Just receiving feedback on daily activity and steps encourages the wearer to work towards his/her goals.

For us, it is not only promoting wellness, but the process is "fun" as well. And Jawbone provides daily insights into nutrition, sleep, exercise, and more that add to the value of their device. Not surprisingly, 30 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 already own a wearable product and those who donŐt plan to purchase one within the next 12 months.

Though respondents were most wary of price and transparency when considering whether they wanted to purchase a wearable device, these devices will provide an excellent means for employers of track their wellness investments. What they will find is that those dollars have been very well spent.

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