With the release of the FuelBand SE, Nike improved their band on a couple of basic points: longer battery life, better measurements of your activity and some new colors. But nothing spectacular has changed since Nike entered the wearable gadget market in 2012. I’ve been using the FuelBand SE for almost three months now1, and though I love what Nike aims to do with the wristband, it needs some changes before it’ll be the success the Oregon-based company wants it to be.

MEASURE MORE THAN FUEL

Apparently, the next step for the gadget market is health. Apple is going to do it and so is Nintendo. What Nintendo wants to do with health is beyond me, but it would make sense for Nike’s FuelBand. You already wear a band on your wrist, so why not measure more than just movement? It shouldn’t be too hard to let the FuelBand read signs like heart rate, blood pressure and who knows what else?

Integrate The Nike+ Experience

You can use Nike+ in different ways and trough different apps. I was collecting Fuel way before I owned a FuelBand by running with the Nike+ Running app. Before that, you might have been running with an iPod and a Nike+ chip in your shoe. In theory, this is a really good strategy. I’ve already gathered a huge amount of Fuel, so I’m not very quick to switch “environments”.2 But the time has come to integrate all these apps and different ways of measuring your activity. It just works really dumb. I’ll give you an example. When I go for a run, I use the Nike+ Running app to tell me how fast and long I’m running and to play my music. This app also logs my Fuel for my run. At the same time, I start a so-called Session in the Nike+ FuelBand app, so my band knows I’m running and appoints the right amount of Fuel to my account. I don’t want to use two apps for roughly the same things. And the craziest thing about this: in your Nike+ account, the Fuel from running and from the FuelBand is added up. So my run creates double amount of Fuel. Of course, it helps my constantly growing lake of Fuel get bigger real quick, but it feels like cheating.
What Nike needs to do is simple.3 Create one easy-to-navigate app where you can do anything related to Nike+. I’ll even throw in an amazing idea how to name the app: Nike+. It’s basically the FuelBand app, but when you start a running session, the app uses the Running app functionality. The same goes for the Basketball, Training Club, Training and Kinect Training. Nike, you’re welcome.

Use A Motion-charged Battery

As with every wearable (or wireless) device, the battery-life is always an issue. With the Second Edition, the wristband lasts somewhere around one week.4 Charging the device every week isn’t a big deal, but it is a big deal when you want to go for a run only to find out your FuelBand just died. Why not use a motion-charged battery in a device that’s built to make you move? I know this technology isn’t completely developed, but it’s perfect for the FuelBand. What better incentive to move than a battery that’s about to die? 5

Daily Goal Adaptation

The hardest thing you have to do when setting up your FuelBand is choosing a challenging, but realistic goal. For me, getting to 2500 is pretty hard on a regular work day, but in the weekends it’s too easy.6 Why burden the user with a complicated task like that? The FuelBand could learn from your daily patterns and set a goal depending on what day it is, not unlike recent Google acquisition Nest realized with home thermostats.

Reward Digital Accomplishments In The Analogue world

People do anything for money. Literally, anything. So, why not reward those who move a lot and gain tons of digital Fuel, in real life? All those digital rewards –Ice, I see you- are cool, but wouldn’t it be nice to get a discount when you buy those brand-new Flyknit Lunar 2’s? Imagine your FuelBand being read by the counter and if you have sufficient Fuel, you get 10, 20 or even 30% off. Nike creates a hugely invested customer base and you, the customer, get some REAL rewards for the hard work you put in every damn day.

  1. For my initial experiences, read this.
  2. Nike does a good job borrowing all the good things (from a business perspective) from Apple. With the iPod, iMac, iPhone and iPad, they’ve created an environment that makes it incredibly hard to leave once you’re in it.
  3. At least on paper. But it’s their job to figure out how to do it, not ours.
  4. Maybe it’s just my FuelBand, but I’ve noticed some weird differences in the battery-life of the FuelBand. Sometimes, a completely charged band is good for ten days. Other times, the band is fully charged and barely lasts three days.
  5. If this is too much to ask, I’d appreciate a simple tweak: give me an indication on how much longer the band will last. Give me a push-message on my phone, or let the band light up or something.
  6. OK, some Sundays make even 800 seem impossible.

GEEN REACTIES

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