Cover Story

World’s first EDA sensor smartwatch

The new EDA sensor on Sense measures electrodermal activity responses. Measuring your EDA responses can help you understand your body’s response to stressors and help you manage your stress. You can do a quick EDA Scan session on device to see your responses, or pair it with guided mindfulness sessions in the Fitbit app to see how your body responds during meditation or relaxation

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is drastically changing the lives of people, including the lives of young people, students, kids and so on. Schools and universities have now turned to half/full distant learning which is a hectic process for every work from home parent nonetheless. Exams and events postponed, the usual health information services are limited, socializing with friends and wider family is highly discouraged and in some places even punishable. Living in these circumstances can be tough for us and for our social, physical and mental wellbeing.

Stress is a nearly universal experience, with more than one-third of people across the globe reporting physical and mental side effects of stress. Over time, the physical strain from stress if unmanaged can lead to negative health effects ranging from headaches to an increased risk of cardiac disease, to obesity and depression. The management of stress is important for creating a balance in life. According to the latest Fitbit survey, 92% of those surveyed felt that their stress levels have an impact on their overall personal health and 60% stated that their stress levels have been heightened due to COVID-19, affecting things such as mood and sleep. The availability of tools to manage stress is important to bring the change in life, an opportunity to work towards improving our overall wellbeing. These opportunities can help us form new habits and reset our priorities.

The global stress management treatments market should reach $20.6 billion by 2024 from $17.2 billion in 2019 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% for the forecast period of 2019 to 2024, according to BCC Research.

Prateek Kewalramani, Senior Manager of Middle East & Africa at Fitbit explains to Ayesha Rashid from Mediworldme how their new smart watch fitbit sense is an advanced health smartwatch that helps us tune in to our body with tools for stress management?

Tell usindetailaboutyour Fitbit Sense?

Fitbit Sense is the most advanced health smartwatch, bringing innovative sensor and software technology with the world’s first electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor on a smartwatch to help manage stress, along with advanced heart rate tracking technology, Stress Management Score and an on-wrist skin temperature sensor, all powered by 6+ days’ battery life. The device comes with a free six- month trial of Fitbit Premium, it can help you track key trends in your health and wellbeing, like heart rate variability (HRV), breathing rate, and SpO2 with the new Health Metrics dashboard.

How doesthe EDA sensorworkonthewatch?

The new EDA sensor on Fitbit Sense measures electrodermal activity responses. Using the EDA Scan app, place your palm over the face of the device to detect small electrical changes in the sweat level of your skin. Measuring your EDA responses can help you understand your body’s response to stressors and help you manage your stress. You can do a quick EDA Scan session on device to see your responses, or pair it with guided mindfulness sessions in the Fitbit app to see how your body responds during meditation or relaxation. At the end of your session, you will see an EDA response graph on-device and in the mobile app to gauge your progress over time and reflect on how you feel emotionally.

Fitbit’s new Stress Management Score calculates how your body is responding to stress based on your heart rate, sleep, and activity level data. Available with Fitbit Sense, it can be found in the new stress management tile in the Fitbit app. Ranging from 1-100, with a higher score indicating your body is showing fewer physical signs of stress, the score is coupled with recommendations to better manage stress, like breathing exercises and other mindfulness tools. Fitbit Premium members will get a detailed breakdown on how the score is calculated, which consists of over 10 biometric inputs, including exertion balance (impact of activity), responsiveness (heart rate, heart rate variability and electrodermal activity from the EDA Scan app), and sleep patterns (sleep quality).

Describe its Health Metricsdashboard?

The Health Metrics dashboard, a new tool on the Fitbit app helps you keep a closer eye on your health and wellbeing. The dashboard provides access to track metrics like heart rate variability, breathing rate, oxygen saturation (SpO2), and skin temperature variation. Fitbit Sense, Fitbit Versa 3, Fitbit Versa 2, Fitbit Inspire 2 and Fitbit Charge 4 users are able to see their 7- day trends for free, while all Premium members with compatible devices can use the tool to track their 7-day and 30-day trends and personal ranges for each metric.

While innovation might be to blame for some extra anxiety in our lives, how can we certainly turn tables on it and use Fitbit Sense to our advantage?

Our commitment to innovation means that we are continually researching how we can make data about our health and fitness both more accessible and more actionable. Over the years, we’ve worked to make health more accessible, fun and achievable by offering a range of affordable, cross-platform devices so you can choose what works best for you; and for those looking for extra support and motivation, Fitbit Premium provides even greater value to what it means to be “on Fitbit” by delivering more personalized guidance, content and actionable insights. We have one of the largest databases of activity, exercise and sleep, which we use to inform new and existing algorithms and to shape new features and experiences.

Talking about stress, it has become a global issue, with one in three people experiencing a lot of worry or stress, as well as psychological and physiological symptoms caused by stress. Over time, the physical strain from stress can contribute to a variety of health problems if unmanaged, like an increased risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and mental health disorders like anxiety or depression.

Talking about anxiety, signing up for mindfulness sessions and starting low- to moderate-intensity exercise three times a week eases anxiety. The combined on-device and in-app experience with Fitbit Sense gives you insights into your body’s response to stress with tools to help you manage both your physical and mental stress. These tools guide with solutions which are more impactful and sustainable.

Where does Fitbit come in the picture in the science of stress and its relationship to technology?

At Fitbit, we believe health belongs to everyone. Our mission is to make everyone in the world healthier. With stress being a major health concern and nearly a universal experience, it has now become more important than ever to focus on overall health than just being physically fit. Stress in now one of the most important parts of our holistic approach to health and wellness. The Fitbit’s team of behavioral health experts successfully managed to equip Fitbit Sense with EDA scan app and Stress Management Score to provide a combined on-device and in-app experience to the Fitbit users which can help manage both your physical and mental stress. Thanks to our behavioral health experts, with their decades of expertise in diagnosing and treating mental health, along with guidance from medical experts at leading academic institutions, Fitbit was able to bring the most advanced health smartwatch- Fitbit Sense which is helping users better understand and manage their stress and heart health.

How does Fitbit make routines and improve productivity?

With the introduction of Fitbit Premium, we started providing even greater value to what it means to be “on Fitbit” by delivering more personalized guidance, content and actionable insights. We have one of the largest databases of activity, exercise and sleep, which we use to inform new and existing algorithms and to shape new features and experiences. Delivering dynamic and personalized experiences motivates the people to adopt healthier habits and achieve better outcomes. With the reminders to move and data insights, we help the users engage more, access their own data and develop a better understanding of themselves to develop healthier lifestyles.

Last year, we launched Active Zone Minutes, a new personalized standard for tracking physical activity beyond steps, based on PurePulse heart rate tracking that helps users move more efficiently and achieve better overall health. Active Zone Minutes uses your heart rate and age to go beyond counting steps and give credit for any workout that gets the heart pumping, because moderate and vigorous activity looks different for everyone. Active Zone Minutes is one of the many ways Fitbit is continuing to develop innovative technology to help users better understand and manage their heart health.

In addition to Active Zone Minutes, Fitbit Premium uses your unique data to deliver Fitbit’s most personalized experience yet, with actionable guidance and coaching to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. It can help people eat better, sleep better and move more. We are aggressively working towards improving and adding more features to Fitbit Premium we expect Premium will continue to get smarter, provide more content, insights and personalization over the coming years.

Since Covid-19 has turned all the tables on us, why do you think that now is the right time to buy Fitbit smart watches for fitness?

COVID- 19 has made staying healthy challenging, making it more important to 55% of the UAE respondents stated that they are prioritizing their personal health now more than ever. 66% of consumers surveyed have experienced a positive change when it comes to their personal health throughout the pandemic, stating that they have developed healthier personal habits and behaviors. Sleep was one of the biggest positive changes noted in the UAE. Improvements in sleep were seen in over half of the responses with survey participants (61%) getting a longer night’s rest. The work from home has positively impacted UAE residents’ in some ways as they started picking up new hobbies and talents and spending more quality time with family (81%) and an improvement in their diet was also seen (74%) due to remote working.

COVID-19 has shown us all how critical it is to take care of both our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Fitbit technology has become more sophisticated and accurate. Wearables have evolved considerably since we pioneered the category more than ten years ago with the launch of Fitbit Classic. We believe the more a user understands about their personal health, the more empowered they are to make meaningful behavior change.
Today, our new products and services are our most innovative yet, coupling our most advanced sensor technology and algorithms to unlock more information about our bodies and our health so you can be in control. We are breaking new ground with our wearables, helping you better understand and manage your stress and heart health, and pulling your key health metrics together in a simple and digestible way to track things like skin temperature, heart rate variability and SpO2 so you can see how it’s all connected.

Tell us about your recent partnership with Deepak Chopra? Why did you partner with him?

Fitbit recently announced its partnership with Deepak Chopra, M.D., Pioneer of Integrative Medicine and Founder of The Chopra Foundation and Chopra Global to launch Deepak Chopra’s Mindful Method, an exclusive wellness collection created and curated for Fitbit Premium members to make a mindfulness practice more accessible to people worldwide. Fitbit’s Mindful Method is designed to help you improve your emotional wellbeing as an important part of your overall health, featuring audio and video sessions led by Deepak Chopra on impactful, relevant themes like mindfulness, sleep, stress management, mental wellness and the mind-body connection. The new collection expands the existing mindfulness and stress management offerings from Fitbit, continuing to help give you a complete view of your holistic health to understand how each aspect fits together to impact your overall wellbeing.

Both Fitbit and Deepak Chopra share similar thoughts, we are both working towards giving the guidance and support that people need to improve their emotional and physical wellbeing. His expertise and our solutions will help us achieve our mission to make everyone in the world healthier through a holistic approach to health and wellness.

Our honest review

In this month’s issue, fitbit collaborated with Mediworldme to test how their new smart watch fitbit Sense manages stress levels effectively. They were also kind enough to give me their watch for keep. Recently, the company made waves in making fitness a priority during this pandemic in all there smart watches.
Since the pandemic struck me so hard last year, I went into hiding indoors to protect myself from been infected. However, thanks to fitbit sense, I was again motivated to get my steps in when possible, monitor my stress levels and heart health and further take more steps to improve my overall wellbeing, considering that I am media person and also at the same time giving me a comprehensive look on my overall health.

The Sense is packed with health and fitness features. It records your heart rate every five seconds, counts steps and active time, and automatically adjusts high and low heart rate alerts, move reminders and daily activity goals. Made of stainless steel, the Sense is small and light, making it comfortable to wear both day and night. The right side of the case has a small touch-sensitive solid-state sensor that acts as a button, and causes the watch to buzz slightly when pressed.

Since receiving the smartwatch, I have took it on all my brisk walks and runs around my neighborhood; during that time, the Sense’s GPS and heart rate monitor were accurate and fast, and it was easy to read even when on the move. The Sense has other functions, including the ability to customize what’s on the screen as you’re running, setting the screen to Always-on while you’re exercising, Auto-pause and Run Detect.

The watch can also track biking, Bootcamp, circuit training, elliptical, golf, hiking, interval workouts, kickboxing, martial arts, Pilates, spin, swim, tennis, treadmill, yoga and more.

The watch also has an impressive battery life of minimum 6 days and in my case maximum 10 days on continuous use. Though I have never tried any smart watches before, but fitbit Sense has impressed with me a lot by keeping me on my feet and at the same time keeping my overall health in check. If you are a first timer like me who is looking to buy a smart watch, look no further as fitbit Sense is the right watch for you in maintaining your overall wellbeing.