Garmin dips toe into corporate wellness with API integrations

By Jonah Comstock
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Garmin Forerunner 10Fitness tracker maker Garmin has launched a closed API for its products, which it is offering exclusively to corporate wellness companies on a case-by-case basis. The company has already been quietly partnering with EveryMove, Redbrick Health, and Humana's Vitality via the API.

"About a year ago, we started to get approached by companies like EveryMove asking for an API for use of Garmin devices within their wellness program," Product Manager Allison Stefancic told MobiHealthNews on the sidelines of the Health 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, California this week. "They had a lot of users already using Garmin devices, wanting to get credit."

Now the company is advertising the API to more potential corporate wellness partners. "This isn't an audience we've spoken to previously," Stefancic said. "We're getting a feel for the market, trying to understand the landscape. Trying to understand how our products can fit in."

Garmin makes a variety of fitness products including its Forerunner series of sports watches. The company also has a mobile app for those devices, Garmin Connect, but it's focused mostly on data access and social features, whereas integration partners like EveryMove and Vitality bring in gamified point systems. Garmin devices will also be offered as a reward users can earn on the Vitality platform.

"Corporate wellness is an easy extension of our business," said Stefancic. "As wellness programs are becoming more prominent, the reality is there's a lot of people in your low end population [using a variety of devices]. Engaging your well population is equally important to engaging the people you're just trying to get off the couch."

It's a first move toward connectivity and data integration for the company, but Stefancic said they're not necessarily trying to get into the same mainstream consumer space as companies like Fitbit.

"Right now our focus is still on the higher end athlete," she said, "but we're always looking to see where there's opportunities in the market."