This fall Target plans to stock mobile health coaching devices from SmartCoach on its store shelves. Toronto-based MyTrak Health System, a business unit of Medipattern, inked the deal with Target last month, according to the company.
SmartCoach is a wearable mobile health device that aims to differentiate itself with a coaching service that not only tracks activity levels but also monitors progress and encourages users' success. The companion service to the device also offers analysis tools that help users understand which activities and behaviors impact their health most.
Here's how the company describes its monitoring technology: "Unlike pedometer based technologies, SMARTCOACH is a small, sophisticated computer that uses patented Smart Body Technology(TM) to sense, analyze, and track body movements in 3-D. SMARTCOACH ties in to each customer's computer, using advanced interactive graphics to manage lifestyle changes. Each customer can see the steps taken, distance traveled, and energy expended to optimize heart activity and metabolism."
Medipattern CEO Jeff Collins stated in the announcement that he was pleased to add Target to the company's retail network, but it appears to be its only other outlet besides direct sales on the company's own website. Collins did not return an email seeking additional details before deadline.
Noted health economist and Health Populi blogger Jane Sarasohn-Kahn recently pointed out the importance of the Target-Medipattern deal:
"Target, a general retailer of the Big Box variety, is placing a bet on a product category that has been the province of pioneering Quantified Self and early adopting health-minded consumers. Target’s demographic goes well beyond the uber-health conscious: it’s more female, single, and, except for Kohl’s, attracts a greater percentage of households earning over $50K than Kmart or Walmart..." Sarasohn-Kahn wrote. This is an exciting development for whole health: if Target can move SMARTCOACH devices into American households, the category rises for all players including BodyMedia, FitBit, Jawbone, and the many other wearable sensors in and coming onto the market."