Fitbit’s New Fitness Trackers Are Only Available to Businesses

Posted on February 10, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Hardware with 8 Comments

Fitbit is taking an interesting approach with the company’s newest fitness devices. The company launched a new product called Fitness Inspire on Friday, a new solution for employees and health insurance members.

CNBC reports that the company’s new Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Inspire HR are devices that are exclusively available to businesses and health insurance members. “These special release trackers are available exclusively through Fitbit corporate, wellness, health plan, and health systems partners and customers of their organizations, participants, and members,” Fitbit said on the official site for Inspire, though the product didn’t get much of a flashy launch, probably because its heavy focus on commercial customers.

Fitbit hasn’t announced any official pricing for these new devices, though it’s apparently the company’s cheapest device so far. The company already has software that allows companies to track the health of employees, and with Inspire everything comes together to form a complete solution that businesses can use to improve the health of their employees.

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Comments (8)

8 responses to “Fitbit’s New Fitness Trackers Are Only Available to Businesses”

  1. cheetahdriver

    Considering the way some of these "wellness" programs work (penalties and/or higher costs for folks that aren't making their goals) I don't think I would be interested in these, or a company that offered them.

  2. Angusmatheson

    That is a little creepy. Your company knowing how much your are exercising and where you are going with GPS.

  3. wright_is

    I'm guessing it is a USA only product, certainly it would (at first glance) be illegal in Europe.

    1. The data would be gathered by FitBit and probably stored on server in the USA (illegal)
    2. FitBit would be sharing the data with the employer and/or the health insurance company (requires the wearers explicit permission in both cases).
    3. An employer is only allowed to collect the minimum amount of data required about an employee, for them to be able to perform their job. A plethora of fitness information would be well beyond the scope of what GDRP allows - unless the employee is a fitness instructor or professional athlete, and that would be hard to push through.
    4. The information has to be deleted when it is no longer relevant - so they would, at most, probably be able to keep a couple of weeks worth of readings.
    5. If the employee leaves the company, the data would have to be deleted or anonymized and FitBit couldn't share the information with a new employer or a new health insurance company, they'd have to reset the data or delete the old account and create a new one.

    I would thing 1 and 3 are the KO criteria for this in Europe. For 1, they could create an EU datacenter and guarantee that the data never leaves the EU (Privacy Shield could be argued, but given the USA still hasn't fulfilled its side of the deal after over 2 years, a good lawyer would be able to stop the data being transferred to FitBit USA).

    3 would be the major hurdle: what relevance does the fitness data have to the employee being able to perform their job? For most office workers or product line workers, very little.

    2 could be gotten around, but as the user can withhold their permission and the company / insurer can't take any punative action if they refuse to release the information, I think most would refuse.

    4 would be difficult to get around. What do health records older than a couple of days have to do with the employee being able to perform their job? Any good data protection lawyer would get the whole scheme thrown out.

    5 would be a real headache for FitBit.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to wright_is:

      To be clear, I'm not a fan of these programs that purport to offer reduced premiums for "good behavior". With regards to #3 (employer-collected data), I think the argument here might be that employees are signing up for an optional program with their insurance company, and not with their employer. I don't think an employer necessarily needs to get access to the data; I assume the insurance company could do this independently and not share actual data with the employer.

      To me, these things always feel like the insurance company is just looking to raise rates for everyone, so people are effectively penalized for not participating in these programs. And what kind of science is this based on? Where are the stringent clinical trials that have shown the actual reductions in medical care costs associated with 10,000 steps per day?

      • wright_is

        In reply to Chris_Kez:

        The article says that the programme sells the hardware to companies and insurance companies.

        Another thing with the GDPR, it has to be optional and there cannot be any disadvantages for people not optining in.

        • captobie

          In reply to wright_is:

          The data is not shared with employers, the employer engages a third party such as StayWell to manage the program. These programs are, as far as I know, always optional. There’s usually an incentive to participate, such as reduced insurance premiums. I’m a big fan of these programs, I’ve saved thousands of dollars on health insurance since my company implemented the program.

  4. pachi

    This is super creepy. Should sell my Fitbit stock.... which has done well lately.