Fitbit joins hands with Google for a possible wearables collaboration

May 1, 2018, 7:30 am

Hia D.

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The popular fitness tracker Fitbit collaborates with Google in order to take a step ahead in the healthcare sector. In line with this partnership deal, Fitbit announced on Monday that it will use Google Healthcare API, the recently announced health data standards for apps of Google, to connect the Fitbit wearable devices to the electronic medical records used by doctors across hospitals. The objective is to enable doctors to get the required health data directly from Fitbits and bring them on their patients’ wrists.

Fitbit will also team up with Google’s (GOOGL, -1.04%) cloud data storage platform, a lot of which is already certified as attuned with the HIPAA, or the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which looks into the use of medical records. This collaboration could save Fitbit from the need to build similar systems that accord with the law.

Working with Google gives us an opportunity to transform how we scale our business, allowing us to reach more people around the world faster, while also enhancing the experience we offer to our users and the healthcare system. This collaboration will accelerate the pace of innovation to define the next generation of healthcare and wearables. – James Parl, the CEO of Fitbit.

Fitbit had been leading the roost of fitness wearables in the market some years ago. This was when fitness trackers were new under the sun, but the hype has mellowed down as the consumers have found a wider range of wearable options such as smartwatches from Samsung, Apple, among others, performing various functions like track their travels, run apps and so on.

Two years back, the dipping sales volume of Fitbit wearables sent their shares into a downward spiral – they’ve plunged to about 70% from their 2015 initial public offering price. And this was the scenario even after Fitbit introduced a well-reviewed watch of its own called Versa. To turn the tables, Fitbit has been focusing on healthcare apart from just weekend athletes. In February, it acquired the healthcare data service called Twine, which helps people afflicted with chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension get in contact with coaches and doctors.

In a situation similar to Fitbit wearables, Google’s Android Wear software failed to make an impact for quite many years and was only recently renamed as Wear OS. Google mostly depended on other gadget makers to build smartwatches compatible with its software, but as it happened with phones, the company might have to also make its own products now on.

Thereby, a boost in wearables is what both the companies need now. And, at the outset, the announcement of this fresh collaboration indicates a possible deeper product cooperation and coordination in the future.

The companies corroborated this possibility, stating generally “Finally, Fitbit and Google are collaborating to bring together the strengths of both companies to innovate and transform the future of wearables.”

A positive implication of this new partnership came up as the shares of Fitbit (FIT, +3.40%) gained a 5% boost on Monday, which is to close at $5.55 on the news of the collaboration deal.

In line with its tagline, ‘Find your fit’, Fitbit surely seems to have found its fit in Google as the company partner to venture into the healthcare sector.

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