These days, it seems we’re all more obsessed than ever with staying in shape – and fortunately, we also have more help in achieving this thanks to the latest advancements in wearable technology.
Sales of tools like sensor-filled fitness wristbands that can monitor every aspect of our performance are set to soar in the coming years, so its no surprise than some of the world’s biggest brands are looking to jump on the bandwagon.
And the latest name to get involved is Microsoft, which has just unveiled its first attempt at a fitness band. The device, rather unimaginatively called Microsoft Band, might not look all that different from the wealth of other options on the market, but the Windows manufacturer reckons it will actually revolutionise how people keep track of their health.
For starters, the device has more sensors than almost any alternative. As well as the usual suspects like a heart rate monitor and a pedometer to track the number of steps walked, it also tracks a user’s location via GPS, as well as skin temperature, perspiration and UV exposure.
The device also connects via Bluetooth to a user’s Android, iOS or Windows smartphone, which allows it to display notifications on its screen and accept voice commands through the built-in microphone, in a similar way to a smartwatch.
But what Microsoft thinks will really set the Band apart is its integration with the new Health service, which sees users’ data uploaded to the cloud, where advanced analytics solutions will aim to offer better insight than ever into an individual’s fitness.
The company’s ‘Intelligence Engine’ will process data from a wide range of sources, even combining fitness information with details from a user’s calendar, email and location to build a more detailed picture of their health.
In a blog post, Microsoft explained this will let users gain insights such as what their fitness performance is relative to work schedule, if the number of meetings during a day impacts sleep quality, or even if eating breakfast helps you run faster.
The Microsoft Band is initially available in the US for £199 (£124), and you can expect it to hit shelves in the rest of the world in the coming months.