Jawbone tackles employee wellness with Up for Groups

By Aditi Pai
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Jawbone UP3Jawbone has launched an employee wellness program, called Up for Groups, which is designed for any group with 10 or more participants. Until now, Jawbone has been a direct to consumer company with various devices including wristworn trackers UP24 and UP3 as well as clip-on tracker UP Move.

Up for Groups, Jawbone Wellness and Platform Group Manager Andrew Rosenthal explains in a blog post, is built on the company's three-part behavior change framework: track, understand, and act. As participants in a group work on improving their sleep and activity levels, the group-assigned "administrators" can view their progress via a dashboard that displays data from the past day, week, or month.. From there, administrators can use their dashboard send messages and nudges to the participants’ in-app feeds.

"For example, an administrator could visit the steps page to see that there is a lull in activity around 3 pm on Thursdays and send a message to the group encouraging them to take a walking meeting every Thursday at that time," Rosenthal said.

Jawbone aims to maintain a level of privacy, as well. All data that organizers see is anonymous unless a participant grants the organizer permission to see activity and steps. Additionally, the organizers' dashboard does not display data unless at least five participants are syncing step or sleep data simultaneously.

Another Up for Groups feature is group challenges, but success in the challenge is measured by how many people in the group have completed the challenge, instead of which group member walked the most steps.

Up for Groups can sync the program with UP24, UP Move, or the heart rate-tracking UP3. If employees don't yet have one of these devices, Jawbone said there are significant discounts for bulk orders.

There has been a rise in the number of activity trackers integrated into employee wellness plans recently. Last year, ABI Research predicted that over the next five years, 13 million wearable devices embedded with wireless connectivity will be integrated into wellness plans offered by businesses.

Over the course of the past year, at least one company shared how programs like these have impacted their bottom line. In July, San Francisco-based Appirio said they had saved $280,000 in annual insurance payments by implementing a wellness program using Fitbits. Specifically, the company convinced insurer Anthem to reduce their insurance payment by 5 percent after showing them data from a program called CloudFit, administered via Indianapolis-based Spire Wellness. With CloudFit, Appirio distributed 400 Fitbits to employees across the company.

Just this week New York City-based insurance company Oscar began paying its members for using Misfit activity trackers.

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