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features

Interview: Sharon Hegarty, Samsung

Samsung is one of the biggest players in the fit tech field, with a range of connected products that allow users to build fitness into every part of their lives, including their homes. Steph Eaves speaks to Samsung’s Sharon Hegarty, to find out how the company is evolving its offering

Published in Fit Tech 2020 issue 2

What are Samsung’s most important milestones within the health and fitness space?
Health is a key part of our product and services portfolio. By integrating the latest wellbeing tech or our Samsung Health service into our products, we like to ensure our customers have access to the tools they need – and want – to help them live a balanced lifestyle.

Last year, we released the latest device in the Galaxy smartwatch portfolio – the Galaxy Watch Active2 – with great success. This device serves as the user’s guide to improve their health and wellness through positive lifestyle choices in their food and drink intake, exercise, mental health, sleep and more.

In March this year, we announced an exciting Under Armour Edition of the Galaxy Watch Active2, which focuses on the running enthusiasts among our customer base.

With this new edition, we provide our customers with a connected running experience, unlocking performance advantages that help runners to optimise their form.

Our Galaxy Buds+ launched in February, and provide customers with earphones to complement their fitness regime. With an innovative design and lightweight materials, the Galaxy Buds+ stay snug during all types of activity, and the battery life can keep up with people for the duration of their workout. These are a personal favourite of mine, particularly in the gym, but also for everyday use.

Along with our products, we also have Samsung Health, a complimentary service available on all our mobile devices, which tracks the user’s activity, nutrition and sleep, and delivers insights based on their progress.

It really does put the user in the driving seat; they can see the full picture by monitoring what they do, eat and drink, and they can track as much as they want, as often as they want.

We recently announced that Samsung Health is available on our 2020 Samsung Smart TVs, providing customers with free access to 3,000 hours of content from 250 instructive videos, and a health companion will guide them towards their fitness goals.

How is Samsung placed to help individuals improve their health and fitness?
We’re always driving innovation across our whole business, and our fitness-inspired products benefit from that.

We believe healthcare starts with self-care and we’re committed to providing technology that supports a healthier lifestyle, improving the quality of people’s lives.

As mentioned, at the heart of our health and fitness offering lies Samsung Health, the service that allows users to track activity, nutrition and sleep, generating insights around their wellbeing.

Available on both our smartwatches and mobile devices, the service collates all relevant data from both, giving a holistic view of goals and achievements in one place.

Ultimately, be it through tracking workout data or setting goals, we want to enable our customers to have their health in their hands when they use our technology.

How has Samsung’s health and fitness evolved and improved over time?
With a growing ecosystem, Samsung is now able to support customers along every step of their personal fitness journey, be it monitoring their heart rate on a Galaxy Watch Active2 at the gym, enjoying a yoga session via a Samsung Smart TV or following a nutrition plan on the Samsung Health smartphone app: our customers have never had better access to fitness.

To enhance our customer experience, we continue to form partnerships with industry peers, such as UnderArmour, MapMyRun and Calm. This enables us to expand the potential of Samsung’s health and fitness ecosystem.

What tech innovations by Samsung have been game changers?
A series of features in the Galaxy Watch Active2 – it features multiple sensors to analyse real-time data, motivating users and guiding them with relevant coaching workout advice.

For the runners out there, the real-time Running Coach allows them to set a target and then receive regular progress updates along the way, helping to achieve goals and better previous performance. I find when I’m training, that little extra motivation can be the difference between a good run, and a great run!

Of course, the technology we have running through our product ecosystem, and the data it collects, is all brought together to build the bigger picture on our Samsung Health service.

The app itself also presents users with a series of popular features that enhance their fitness regime, including Together mode, which allows users to challenge friends, and Women’s Health, which tracks the user’s menstrual cycle.

What buying trends have you seen in Samsung fitness products over time? And what do you predict for the next few years?
Over the last two years, people’s desire to improve their health and stay active has consistently been the leading purchase motivation for our fitness products.

The last two years have also seen a rise in the importance of functions when consumers are looking to buy a wearable. It’s no longer enough to provide the basics; fitness enthusiasts expect the products they buy to incorporate the most innovative technology into their specifications. This is a trend that we only expect to increase moving forward.

In terms of features, tracking accuracy continues to be a major factor that consumers look for, however, we can now see the rising significance of a wearable with good battery life. In fact, battery life has now overtaken tracking accuracy as the principal criteria that consumers look for when purchasing a fitness wearable.

I would have to agree with that – for me it’s important to have a device that can keep up with you throughout the day – not having to worry if it will run out of charge mid-workout.

How important are fitness features to consumers? How does this influence R&D?
We recently conducted some consumer research to see how fitness trends have changed in recent months, with the results revealing that over a third of people are now focusing more on their wellbeing.

People are also turning to technology for their fitness fix, using services such as Samsung Health for inspiration and motivation, with over half of people working out from home.

We constantly strive to push boundaries by enabling our customers to stay active and improve their day-to-day wellbeing with the support of our technology.

By making Samsung Health available on our 2020 Smart TV models we aim to support more people to achieve their fitness goals from their homes.

Changes like this can have a huge impact on the way people stay active.
How do your features support mental health?
With our lives becoming busier and more connected in this digital age, it’s easy to forget about ourselves. We believe it’s important to take time to disconnect from the hustle and bustle and appreciate the present moment. To develop our mindfulness services, we’ve worked with some of our leading ecosystem partners to bring their expertise to our devices.

For instance, we integrated Calm, a leading meditation and mindfulness app, into Samsung Health, so people can easily access guided meditation programmes. So, if you unwind with a Calm programme at the end of a busy day, Samsung Health tracks stress levels from beginning to end, showing progress and improvement.

How much do fitness trends influence your products?
We observe and analyse industry trends to evaluate how these can enhance our products.

Our recently commissioned research revealed that in the UK, for example, more than a third of people are now focusing more on their wellbeing and 29 per cent have a new interest in mindful activities to distract from the outside world. We found that technology has also played a key role in getting people moving, with almost a quarter feeling inspired by online fitness classes or using smart devices to track their progress.

After seeing these results, we teamed up with yoga instructor Cat Meffan to offer the ultimate virtual yoga experience, hosted on our Samsung KX digital website. The three-part series kicked off in June, allowing our virtual guests to join in from the comfort of their own home.

Additionally, we found that almost half of Brits are now exercising at home, with one in five intending to continue these home workouts as restrictions lift. By bringing Samsung Health – and over 250 hours of instructive videos from premium brands such as Calm, Echelon, Fitplan, and Jillian Michaels Fitness – to our 2020 Smart TV range, we’ve already tapped into that trend.

Who are your core audiences for fitness and health-related products?
For our fitness products, notably the Galaxy Watch Active Series, we know our core audience is made up of those who are driven by staying active and improving their wellbeing. They strive to improve their performance by analysing data and setting targets that guide their overall fitness goals.

Through our wider Galaxy Watch Series, we also reach consumers who are more lifestyle driven. They use their wearables to help organise their life, stay in touch with the world around them and to add a touch of style to their look.

Should this audience then enter the market for a fitness wearable, we’d like to think that their experience with our other products would encourage them to try Samsung and expand their personal ecosystem, so the brand works for both consumer groups.

What are your predictions for the future of fitness and health technology?
With an increasing number of people partaking in regular exercise, and the rising prominence of technology as an ‘enabler’ within our society, we anticipate that the health and fitness wearables market will only keep growing.

We’re excited about the future of our wider Connected Living offering and how our fitness inspired products will fit into that. We envisage a world in which somebody’s smart home can support and react to their set fitness regime, be it through suggesting a shopping list for meal planning, setting the right lighting for a yoga session or optimising sleep quality.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
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The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
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features

Interview: Sharon Hegarty, Samsung

Samsung is one of the biggest players in the fit tech field, with a range of connected products that allow users to build fitness into every part of their lives, including their homes. Steph Eaves speaks to Samsung’s Sharon Hegarty, to find out how the company is evolving its offering

Published in Fit Tech 2020 issue 2

What are Samsung’s most important milestones within the health and fitness space?
Health is a key part of our product and services portfolio. By integrating the latest wellbeing tech or our Samsung Health service into our products, we like to ensure our customers have access to the tools they need – and want – to help them live a balanced lifestyle.

Last year, we released the latest device in the Galaxy smartwatch portfolio – the Galaxy Watch Active2 – with great success. This device serves as the user’s guide to improve their health and wellness through positive lifestyle choices in their food and drink intake, exercise, mental health, sleep and more.

In March this year, we announced an exciting Under Armour Edition of the Galaxy Watch Active2, which focuses on the running enthusiasts among our customer base.

With this new edition, we provide our customers with a connected running experience, unlocking performance advantages that help runners to optimise their form.

Our Galaxy Buds+ launched in February, and provide customers with earphones to complement their fitness regime. With an innovative design and lightweight materials, the Galaxy Buds+ stay snug during all types of activity, and the battery life can keep up with people for the duration of their workout. These are a personal favourite of mine, particularly in the gym, but also for everyday use.

Along with our products, we also have Samsung Health, a complimentary service available on all our mobile devices, which tracks the user’s activity, nutrition and sleep, and delivers insights based on their progress.

It really does put the user in the driving seat; they can see the full picture by monitoring what they do, eat and drink, and they can track as much as they want, as often as they want.

We recently announced that Samsung Health is available on our 2020 Samsung Smart TVs, providing customers with free access to 3,000 hours of content from 250 instructive videos, and a health companion will guide them towards their fitness goals.

How is Samsung placed to help individuals improve their health and fitness?
We’re always driving innovation across our whole business, and our fitness-inspired products benefit from that.

We believe healthcare starts with self-care and we’re committed to providing technology that supports a healthier lifestyle, improving the quality of people’s lives.

As mentioned, at the heart of our health and fitness offering lies Samsung Health, the service that allows users to track activity, nutrition and sleep, generating insights around their wellbeing.

Available on both our smartwatches and mobile devices, the service collates all relevant data from both, giving a holistic view of goals and achievements in one place.

Ultimately, be it through tracking workout data or setting goals, we want to enable our customers to have their health in their hands when they use our technology.

How has Samsung’s health and fitness evolved and improved over time?
With a growing ecosystem, Samsung is now able to support customers along every step of their personal fitness journey, be it monitoring their heart rate on a Galaxy Watch Active2 at the gym, enjoying a yoga session via a Samsung Smart TV or following a nutrition plan on the Samsung Health smartphone app: our customers have never had better access to fitness.

To enhance our customer experience, we continue to form partnerships with industry peers, such as UnderArmour, MapMyRun and Calm. This enables us to expand the potential of Samsung’s health and fitness ecosystem.

What tech innovations by Samsung have been game changers?
A series of features in the Galaxy Watch Active2 – it features multiple sensors to analyse real-time data, motivating users and guiding them with relevant coaching workout advice.

For the runners out there, the real-time Running Coach allows them to set a target and then receive regular progress updates along the way, helping to achieve goals and better previous performance. I find when I’m training, that little extra motivation can be the difference between a good run, and a great run!

Of course, the technology we have running through our product ecosystem, and the data it collects, is all brought together to build the bigger picture on our Samsung Health service.

The app itself also presents users with a series of popular features that enhance their fitness regime, including Together mode, which allows users to challenge friends, and Women’s Health, which tracks the user’s menstrual cycle.

What buying trends have you seen in Samsung fitness products over time? And what do you predict for the next few years?
Over the last two years, people’s desire to improve their health and stay active has consistently been the leading purchase motivation for our fitness products.

The last two years have also seen a rise in the importance of functions when consumers are looking to buy a wearable. It’s no longer enough to provide the basics; fitness enthusiasts expect the products they buy to incorporate the most innovative technology into their specifications. This is a trend that we only expect to increase moving forward.

In terms of features, tracking accuracy continues to be a major factor that consumers look for, however, we can now see the rising significance of a wearable with good battery life. In fact, battery life has now overtaken tracking accuracy as the principal criteria that consumers look for when purchasing a fitness wearable.

I would have to agree with that – for me it’s important to have a device that can keep up with you throughout the day – not having to worry if it will run out of charge mid-workout.

How important are fitness features to consumers? How does this influence R&D?
We recently conducted some consumer research to see how fitness trends have changed in recent months, with the results revealing that over a third of people are now focusing more on their wellbeing.

People are also turning to technology for their fitness fix, using services such as Samsung Health for inspiration and motivation, with over half of people working out from home.

We constantly strive to push boundaries by enabling our customers to stay active and improve their day-to-day wellbeing with the support of our technology.

By making Samsung Health available on our 2020 Smart TV models we aim to support more people to achieve their fitness goals from their homes.

Changes like this can have a huge impact on the way people stay active.
How do your features support mental health?
With our lives becoming busier and more connected in this digital age, it’s easy to forget about ourselves. We believe it’s important to take time to disconnect from the hustle and bustle and appreciate the present moment. To develop our mindfulness services, we’ve worked with some of our leading ecosystem partners to bring their expertise to our devices.

For instance, we integrated Calm, a leading meditation and mindfulness app, into Samsung Health, so people can easily access guided meditation programmes. So, if you unwind with a Calm programme at the end of a busy day, Samsung Health tracks stress levels from beginning to end, showing progress and improvement.

How much do fitness trends influence your products?
We observe and analyse industry trends to evaluate how these can enhance our products.

Our recently commissioned research revealed that in the UK, for example, more than a third of people are now focusing more on their wellbeing and 29 per cent have a new interest in mindful activities to distract from the outside world. We found that technology has also played a key role in getting people moving, with almost a quarter feeling inspired by online fitness classes or using smart devices to track their progress.

After seeing these results, we teamed up with yoga instructor Cat Meffan to offer the ultimate virtual yoga experience, hosted on our Samsung KX digital website. The three-part series kicked off in June, allowing our virtual guests to join in from the comfort of their own home.

Additionally, we found that almost half of Brits are now exercising at home, with one in five intending to continue these home workouts as restrictions lift. By bringing Samsung Health – and over 250 hours of instructive videos from premium brands such as Calm, Echelon, Fitplan, and Jillian Michaels Fitness – to our 2020 Smart TV range, we’ve already tapped into that trend.

Who are your core audiences for fitness and health-related products?
For our fitness products, notably the Galaxy Watch Active Series, we know our core audience is made up of those who are driven by staying active and improving their wellbeing. They strive to improve their performance by analysing data and setting targets that guide their overall fitness goals.

Through our wider Galaxy Watch Series, we also reach consumers who are more lifestyle driven. They use their wearables to help organise their life, stay in touch with the world around them and to add a touch of style to their look.

Should this audience then enter the market for a fitness wearable, we’d like to think that their experience with our other products would encourage them to try Samsung and expand their personal ecosystem, so the brand works for both consumer groups.

What are your predictions for the future of fitness and health technology?
With an increasing number of people partaking in regular exercise, and the rising prominence of technology as an ‘enabler’ within our society, we anticipate that the health and fitness wearables market will only keep growing.

We’re excited about the future of our wider Connected Living offering and how our fitness inspired products will fit into that. We envisage a world in which somebody’s smart home can support and react to their set fitness regime, be it through suggesting a shopping list for meal planning, setting the right lighting for a yoga session or optimising sleep quality.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Into the fitaverse

Fitness is already among the top three markets in the metaverse, with new technology and partnerships driving real growth and consumer engagement that looks likely to spill over into health clubs, gyms and studios
Fit Tech people

Ali Jawad

Paralympic powerlifter and founder, Accessercise
Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
Fit Tech people

Hannes Sjöblad

MD, DSruptive
We want to give our users an implantable tool that allows them to collect their health data at any time and in any setting
Fit Tech people

Jamie Buck

Co-founder, Active in Time
We created a solution called AiT Voice, which turns digital data into a spoken audio timetable that connects to phone systems
Profile

Fahad Alhagbani: reinventing fitness

The team is young and ambitious, and the awareness of technology is very high. We share trends and out-of-the-box ideas almost every day
Opinion

Building on the blockchain

For small sports teams looking to compete with giants, blockchain can be a secret weapon explains Lars Rensing, CEO of Protokol
Innovation

Bold move

We ended up raising US$7m in venture capital from incredible investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Primetime Partners, and GingerBread Capital
App analysis

Check your form

Sency’s motion analysis technology is allowing users to check their technique as they exercise. Co-founder and CEO Gal Rotman explains how
Profile

New reality

Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR, talks to Fit Tech about taking digital workouts to the next level, with an immersive, virtual reality fitness club
Profile

Sohail Rashid

The app is free and it’s $40 to participate in one of our virtual events
Ageing

Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
App analysis

Going hybrid

Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
Research

Physical activity monitors boost activity levels

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
Fit Tech People

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
Fit Tech People

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
Fit Tech People

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
Fit Tech People

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
More features