Peter Bernstein has a great analysis piece on how the Unilever/Slim-Fast empire is struggling in-part because the company was too slow to come out with an app as well as the fact that other competitors have expanded their offerings to match the company or even take the lead. Personal experience has shown that the majority of my friends and acquaintances are now using apps to track their fitness – running and/or eating via calorie counting.
It’s amazing to me that even a company which profits handsomely from items sold in grocery stores can lose share because it didn’t provide apps on smartphones. This is in contrast to Starbucks who I tweeted about earlier this week – they really think mobile and social are crucial to their future.
Peter makes some good points in the piece and in a water-cooler conversation he said that the health app explosion may just be a fad. He goes on to say the problem with having so many apps is not having enough time to use them all.
This being a media company after all, I decided to take the conversation public and answer him on my blog. Hey, I don’t get paid to talk all day in a kitchen.
The bottom line is fitness apps are yet another tool in war on being and staying healthy. Consider them a productivity booster for the motivated. I just had lunch with a high school friend today who told me he just downloaded and uses a fitness app and moreover that he is an impatient person when it comes to weight loss.
I too am impatient. The problem with being impatient is if you don’t see results quickly you are more likely to give up. So fitness apps help keep you focused, motivated and maximize your results by letting you know how many calories you should burn and ingest in order to achieve your goals on a desired schedule.
BTW I don’t use a calorie counting app but I have found an app called WalkJogRun (iOS) to be a great way to track my running speed.
On Peter’s second point, I discovered through TMCnet an app called EasilyDo which looks at my schedule and alerts me to when I have to leave my office to get to my appointments on time. It uses GPS and worked great for about a week and then stopped alerting me about my meetings for some reason. then I turned off location services which temporarily stopped it from working correctly.
Putting that aside it also monitors Facebook for me and alerts me to birthdays and other events where I could congratulate my friends. It even fills out a field for me with “Happy Birthday Peter” allowing me to edit as needed. All I have to do is press send on each event and the post is taken care of for me.
The point is there are apps which make our lives easier – and even apps which work with other apps/cloud services to make our lives even more productive. We are increasingly becoming a mobile computing-dominated society and like it or not technology is here to stay and will soon become wearable meaning your gadgets and you will be even more tightly connected to you.
As this happens we can expect apps which manage apps and services to become more important than the underlying apps they are managing. Its truly an app eat app world.