Fitlinxx adds smartphone syncing to new Pebble+ tracker

By Jonah Comstock
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Fitlinxx, the enterprise-focused activity tracker company, has released a new version of its Pebble tracker, which lengthens the battery life and adds smartphone syncing for the first time.

The Pebble+ looks almost exactly like the Pebble, but has new components, according to Fitlinxx CEO Dave Monahan. He told MobiHealthNews that in addition to the mobile sync and longer battery life, the new hardware will allow the company to more easily make feature updates on an ongoing basis.

Fitlinxx partners with healthcare providers, health plans, self-insured employers, and direct-to-consumer health services like SparkPeople. The partners design their own app or software interface to pair with the Pebble, users sign in through partners, and sometimes the device itself is white-labeled partner's branding, as is the case of the SparkPeople "Spark" device.

"Up to this point we’ve always sent our data through the web," Monahan said. "We have these little sync points that plug into laptops, we have workgroup access points where you can put something in a cafeteria and it will do that for everyone in the company as they come and go. The news around mobile is we can now do that [through individual mobile devices] as well. It’s a totally seamless experience, and your experience [as an end user] is still with our partner, not with us."

Fitlinxx Pebble users will still have the option to sync their device through a wireless base station at the office or via a USB dongle, but mobile will be added as an additional option. Currently, Fitlinxx supports connection to iOS devices only, but plans are underway to make it accessible for Android users as well. 

The new device will connect directly to apps built by Fitlinxx's partners. Monahan said that despite the hype surrounding mobile connectivity, in the enterprise context Fitlinxx works in, the smartphone just hasn't been that important until now.

"When you look at the populations we address, from patient populations to blue and white collar workers, about 50 percent or so of the marketplace has smartphones, the rest have feature phones. And that gets worse in certain populations. Everybody is not mobile-enabled," he said. "In broad populations mobile is nice, but it’s not the killer thing. Up to this point, it hasn’t been a critical feature. Over the next two or three years it’ll be ubiquitous, but as of today, half of our customers still have to rely on computers."

At a recent conference, Fitlinxx announced some preliminary data from a project with the Cleveland Clinic showing the Pebble's potential for increasing movement in a clinical population.

"We’re doing a wellness program with them across 24,000 employees and the success in terms of engagement has been very good," Monahan said. "About 70 percent of employees are engaged, and of those about 90 percent are meeting standards of activity. It’s just a really well-received, very successful program."

It's been a busy year for Fitlinxx. The company reported a 55 percent increase in revenues year-over-year in February, and announced a partnership with Biggest Loser Australia around the same time. Prior to that, it announced high profile partnerships with Alere and SparkPeople.