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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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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
interview

Preston Lewis, Black Box VR

It’s clear that combining VR gaming with fitness has the potential to decrease pain, increase enjoyment, and allow players to push their bodies further than they would normally, creating real fitness gains over time
people

Andy Etches

Founder and sports director, Rezzil
Rezzil was able to have an injured player learning his new manager's philosophy, positioning and playing style – all from a seated position
interview

Blurring the lines

Les Mills has launched a suite of digital solutions to help gyms future-proof by expanding their reach in the booming online fitness space, while complementing their live offerings. Steph Eaves talks to Les Mills International’s CMO Anna Henwood to find out more
people

Devi Mahadevia

Facebook director of sports and fitness partnerships
With Facebook paid online events, publishers can charge viewers to attend a video livestream on their Facebook pages or a third party video service
Editor's letter

Big (fit) tech

We’re entering the age of the wellness mega-corp, with the ultimate goal for investors being to dominate health and wellness markets in every channel. Prepare to expect the unexpected in this convergence of health, fitness and wellness

Digital retention top performers

Three digital fitness platforms tell Fit Tech how they work to achieve higher levels of customer retention
people

Kevin Dawidowicz

President, CoachMePlus
Fitness apps are designed to train clients, without a trainer on the other side. We give coaches a tool for connection

Clubs without walls

Venueserve Fitness is working with the Health Club Collection to drive its digital customer engagement
interview

Robotic muscles

We identified the need to step beyond the current approaches to muscle weakness, and move instead to placing robotic muscles exactly where they’re needed – inside the body

Staying sticky

Bob Lawson explains how digital fitness platforms and apps can maximise retention and prevent churn

Sky x Fiit

Fiit has secured a deal with TV giant Sky, to make its virtual workout platform available through the subscription-based Sky Q service. With 20 per cent of Fiit users now accessing the app through Sky, Fit Tech speaks to Fraser Stirling and Daniel Shellard to find out more

Fit Tech Leadership Report

Fit tech is a growing, competitive sector. Executive search firm, Stronger Talent, recently analysed the backgrounds of more than 300 fit tech executives to provide insights into recruiting strategies, as Pete Leibman explains
HID Global
HID Global