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INTERVIEW: Fitbit’s James Park Talks Health Tech and CES 2016


Kelsey Pommer, Manager, Digital Media Marketing, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™
We had a chance to speak to James Park, CEO and Co-Founder of Fitbit, a leader in the connected health and fitness market, about the future of health and fitness tech, data privacy for these devices and his plans for CES 2016.  

Health and fitness technology is on the move. According to research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), 74 percent of online American adults are likely to purchase health and fitness technology in the next 12 months. We had a chance to speak to James Park, CEO and Co-Founder of Fitbit, a leader in the connected health and fitness market, about the future of health and fitness tech, data privacy for these devices and his plans for CES 2016.  

And be sure to follow Fitbit CEO James Park (@parkjames) and Consumer Technology Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro (@GaryShapiro) on Twitter as they battle it out for who can get the most steps at #CES2016.

What are you most looking forward to about CES 2016?

“CES is a great event and one I look forward to every year. You know we’ve been part of CES since 2012 − where shortly after we launched Fitbit Ultra − and then in 2013 we launched Fitbit Flex at the show. It’s a terrific opportunity to meet some of the most interesting leaders and influencers in the technology industry and to hear reactions about new products and offerings.  Overall, there are so many different and interesting events to attend – and I know I won’t have any trouble meeting my daily step goal traveling from one to another! 

I’m also really excited to join CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro on stage at the CES Leaders in Technology Dinner this Thursday evening.”  

What do you plan to discuss as the keynote speaker at the CES Leaders in Technology Dinner?

“2015 was truly an incredible year for Fitbit. We’ve seen tremendous progress and growth since we founded the company more than eight years ago. This year we celebrated a number of big milestones.  We became a public company in one of the largest tech IPOs of the year and we have sold more than 30 million devices since our founding. We’ve been successful because we stayed focused on our mission of helping people to lead healthier, more active lives by providing them with data, inspiration and guidance, which I’ll discuss in more detail.

I’ll also spend some time where I see the company and the industry heading in the future. We learned a lot of important lessons and have grown a lot in the past year, and 2016 is sure to be just as exciting, as we explore where this industry and Fitbit goes next.”

How do you see this industry growing in the next few years?

“I’m really excited about the advances we’re seeing right now in technology and sensors – it’s these incredible advances that will help us to continue to innovate and deliver new products and features that people love to use and that motivate them to be healthier and more active. 

The ability to track critical health metrics like daily activity and heart rate is still just the tip of the iceberg, so I’m really looking forward to continuing to push the boundaries of what we can track in the future. For example, at Fitbit, we’re looking across all of the critical imperatives for health and wellness, from activity level, sleep and nutrition to indicators that are linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. 

We’re also just beginning to see how wearable devices will play a bigger role in the world of healthcare.  These devices have the potential to change the way clinicians and individuals approach prevention and wellness, while the data and insights they collect could be integrated and aligned with other data on record from electronic health records and insurance companies to provide additional insights and incentives to people. The potential to improve preventive care is exciting. 

In addition, as the convergence of fitness and fashion becomes even more pervasive, it’s going to be a critical factor for wearables to be successful mainstream. While that might seem like the latest trend—it’s not a new idea for us as one of the first things we learned in this industry is that fitness is personal. There is no one size fits all. It will be important for the growth of this category to make wearables that are truly that – wearable.”

Another important area for consumers is data privacy. How does Fitbit address privacy of information gathered by their devices?

“As the leader in connected health and fitness, Fitbit has always been committed to protecting consumer privacy and keeping data safe. It has always been our policy not to sell user data. We have never sold personal data and we do not share personal data unless a user specifically directs us to do so, or under the limited exceptions described in our privacy policy. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to check out our privacy policy, which is available on our website at http://www.fitbit.com/privacy.”

CTA has developed  privacy guidelines to help companies to earn consumer trust by encouraging consistent personal wellness data management. Learn more at CTA.tech/healthprivacy.

You can visit Fitbit on the CES show floor in the Fitness & Technology Marketplace, Sands, Level 2 Halls A-C. 
 

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