Best Buys Foray Into Fitness Is Just The Beginning

Maybe you noticed during your holiday shopping back in December; I know I did. After testing a pilot program last year, Best Buy rolled out health devices and fitness products at 600 Best Buy stores and online at Products are on display in a 30 ft. long health and fitness presentation area, which enables consumers to sample devices before they purchase them. Available products include state-of-the-art heart rate monitoring watches, blood-pressure monitors, pedometers, scales and other products from leading manufacturers.

Chris Koller, VP portable electronics solutions group at Best Buy recently had this to say, “We clearly tapped into a desire for Best Buy to provide the latest and greatest technology to enhance health regimens, and to help people discover how they can integrate these devices with other personal technology to monitor and share their progress, and to stay motivated.”

What does this mean ? Its just the beginning to the new wave of wellness devices that will rely on cloud technologies to enable the collection of data for purposes of monitoring and motivating people to be healthy and the health club industry better take notice. As I've written before, wireless wellness is a potential threat to bricks and mortar delivery of fitness and wellness. As smartphone and cloud technologies proliferate we will see more product solutions emerge to fit this growing market.

A recent blood pressure device is an example of a new product in this category. French gadget maker Withings is launching a blood pressure cuff combined with the intuitive, feel-good design of an iPhone app. It's compatible with iPod, iPhone, and iPad; saves your readings automatically; connects automatically with cloud-based personal health tools like Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health; and graphically displays your measurements in context against recommendations from the World Health Organization.

As mobility and cloud trends come main stream, a new world of competition and opportunities for the fitness and wellness industry will result. Contact me, Bryan O'Rourke, and tell me what you think . Do you see the foray of Best Buy into fitness and these new series of products as a threat or opportunity for health clubs ?