Best Buy brings health tech to 40 U.S. stores

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 11, 2009        

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Best Buy announced today that 40 of its stores in the U.S. have begun offering personal health solutions devices like pedometers, Bluetooth-enabled weight scales and blood pressure monitors.

“New technologies are emerging daily to help people plan, monitor, and enhance their health and fitness activities,” Best Buy stated in its press release. “Yet finding the ways and the time to stay fit and motivated can seem more complicated than ever before. Starting today, Best Buy customers in select markets from Washington, DC to Denver can turn to the nation’s largest consumer electronics retailer for help in satisfying their health and fitness equipment and management needs.”

While the personal health products are only available at a fraction of Best Buy’s stores: Some customers in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas now have “more than 30 feet of technology devices organized by popular activities such as running, walking, swimming, and yoga, as well as fitness equipment” in some 40 stores.

“Customers expect quality, selection and service from Best Buy, and with health and fitness, we’re matching the right combination of gear with experienced BlueShirts and Geek Squad to help them manage and stay motivated by their fitness routines,” said Steve Trier, senior director of customer research & development at Best Buy in a statement. Best Buy said that its interactive in-store experience will extend to the health and fitness products — and the Geek Squad service team will also help set-up products that require in-home installation.

At the Microsoft Connected Health Conference this past June, Best Buy teamed up with Microsoft’s HealthVault team to invite device makers to pitch the electronics store’s executives in a private meeting at the event: “If you believe that your product or solution can wow health-conscious shoppers at the largest consumer electronics retailer in the United States, this is your chance to make it happen,” stated the Microsoft-Best Buy invitation for “HealthVaultDevices@BestBuy”. The invitation also explained that “outstanding solutions providers” would have the opportunity to discuss collaboration opportunities with Best Buy during a special dinner later this summer. Qualifications for the device companies included the ability to “demonstrate how health data can be transferred from their device, via a wired or wireless connection, to a PC, phone or directly to the cloud.”

Best Buy’s imminent health and fitness launch was also a topic discussed at our Everywhere Healthcare summit, co-located at CTIA WIT & E in San Diego last month:

Wireless Life Sciences Alliance Chairman Rob McCray asked a panel of wireless health experts whether Best Buy could become a health care brand or channel? Will consumers want the Geek Squad setting up their elderly parent’s wireless health system?

Qualcomm Vice President Don Jones noted that this is where simplicity comes to the fore. Products and business models that are very simple will have a greater likelihood of success. Jones said that the most successful products will be the ones that require no additional help to set-up — they will arrive via the mail or UPS and be easy enough for the customer to begin using them immediately.

Best Buy’s initial health and fitness product offerings include everything from tread mills and yoga mats to pedometers, connected weight scales, heart rate trackers and blood pressure monitors. Sure, some customers may need a little help connecting some of these devices to their computers (or mobile phones), but this is only the beginning.

Consumer health products now have a toe-hold in one of the largest big box electronics stores in the U.S. — it’s a huge opportunity for the consumer-facing side of the emerging wireless health industry.

For more read the press release from Best Buy

Related:
CTIA Panel: Meet the Wireless Health Leaders
Best Buy eyes wireless health opportunity
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