Misfit is the most promising product by a relatively unknown company that I’ve seen in the last years. Misfit makes Shine, a wearable activity tracking device similar to FitBit or Nike’s Fuelband but with a very sleek design and a completely different form factor that I find much more stylish and appealing to women.
There are three reasons why I find Misfit interesting. First, wearable devices change the concept of ‘mobile’. Mobile once referred simply to phones then tablets- and now it includes all kind of wearable devices. Cisco predicts the number of wearable devices in use will jump from 20 million to almost 177 million by 2018. Given the potential size of the market, Misfit has the opportunity to the equivalent of Facebook or Google in the wearable computing space as it develops.
Second, like other fitness activity trackers, Misfit uses Big Data to lead the personal fitness industry. Misfit is collecting a vast store of data about the human body. The long-term appeal to the consumer is turning their activity data into actionable insights that can help users change their behavior. The wearable market will evolve to leverage predictive analytics to provide the consumer with real-time assessments, the fitness effect (e.g., you increase your activity by 50% this month and reduce your risk of a heart attack by 60%), and personalized recommendations.
Finally, the most important point of all (especially in comparison to more established companies like FitBit or Garmin), Misfit understands that style is just as important as functionality. When Misfit launched the product, its first reviewer described it as “fitness-tracking jewelry”. Also, Misfit has a unique user-intuitive method for syncing with your iPhone. It doesn’t rely on Bluetooth or any physical connectors. You open the company’s app, then put the Shine on your iPhone’s screen and the phone will download the data from the device.
However, there are some risks Misfit must overcome if it is to grab enough market share to warrant the Facebook or Google comparisons made above: 1) Its recent Android app doesn’t have access to a lot of features iPhone users have. 2) The wearable market is going to get extremely competitive in 2014. Large companies like Samsung, Intel, Google and LG have the resources to create new devices for the consumer. MisFit must continue to innovate on design as well as technology to differentiate itself from its big competitors. 3) Wearable devices face an uncertain regulatory landscape of increasing FDA regulation of medical devices and growing concerns about data collection and privacy. 4) Wearable devices will create new security vulnerabilities.
Despite these challenges, the future looks bright for Misfit. Wearable devices are in their infancy and Misfit’s first device, Shine, shows the company has a unique vision that positions itself well for further growth (especially as more females embrace the concept of wearable devices).