Fjord and adidas at GigaOm Mobilize

Lindsay Liu

Today, Fjord CEO, Olof Schybergson, joined VP of adidas Interactive, Paul Gaudio on stage at GigaOm Mobilize to discuss the role of wearable technology for athletes and what that means for adidas. We also gave the audience a first look at the new adidas smart watch, launching November 1st!

The talk, moderated by Senior Writer at GigaOm, Katie Fehrenbacher, touched on key learnings in designing for wearables, how adidas is differentiating from competitors, and how to design something that will fit within people’s lives.

Olof states: “The key learning [when designing for wearables] is: don’t take things for granted, and don’t underestimate how challenging it will be to come up with something that fits into people’s lives and gradually allows them to change their habits and improve their lives.” He continued to make the point that: “People want less stuff. We probably see a future where people don’t carry lots and lots of different objects they carry with with them, they carry one.”

Paul gave insight into adidas’s strategy with regards to wearables: “Our perspective on this really has been starting with the idea that people aren’t necessarily looking for more. So I think integrating these experiences into your daily life, the things you already do and have, is the important answer here. Our point of view is to bring that function into the products that you already have and already need as opposed to trying to create additional peripherals or products.”

He continued by emphasizing an important point about making those difficult product decisions that really consider the target customer. “We did not incorporate anything in here that we didn’t think that a runner needed or would appreciate in their lives. We left certain things out on purpose. Those are the most difficult questions, or most important questions to answer, with a product like this: not what you can do, but what you should leave out. That’s maybe how we’re different. We’re not trying to make a smart watch but the smartest running watch.”


Watch a video of the talk and read GigaOm’s summary of the session.

For those of you curious about the adidas smartwatch, read these articles that covered the event:

“The Adidas smartwatch is tailored for runners since it can report the location, speed, and heart rate of the athlete using the device. The smartwatch also offers personalized coaching, which is played through the watch’s face or headphones using Bluetooth. Adidas designed the watch with the help Fjord, a design company that was acquired by Accenture this past summer.”
Forbes: Adidas to Launch A $399 Smartwatch On November 1st

“The watch will cook up a custom exercise program with personalized training suggestions, and give prompts for that routine on the color display. Since Adidas wanted the watch to work as a standalone device, rather than being tethered to a smartphone or tablet since that’s unlikely to be something serious athletes might be wearing, there are a few other functions baked in too. An onboard media player can push audio via Bluetooth to your wireless headphones, for instance.”
SlashGear: Adidas Smartwatch takes fitness seriously with GPS

“Design firm Fjord’s CEO, Olof Schybergson, collaborated with Adidas on the smartwatch. Unlike wearables in different locations, like Google Glass, Schyberson said Adidas’ smartwatch ‘doesn’t introduce social awkwardness,’ which was one of the reasons the team eventually chose to create a smartwatch.”
MobiHealthNews: Adidas’ $400 smartwatch is stripped down for runners

“In addition to a GPS connection to track an athlete’s activity, the Adidas watch boasts Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a heart rate sensor that will track an athlete’s performance, and provide feedback and heart rate training guidance either through the watch’s screen and vibration, or over Bluetooth headphones.”
NBC News: Watch out, Nike: Adidas announces smartwatch for runners, starting at $399

“Unlike other smartwatches, Gaudio says the watch can act as a standalone device and will have a media player onboard so you can use it to listen to music.”
Engadget: Adidas announces new smartwatch for runners, available on November 1st for $399

“We’re not trying to make the best smartwatch,” he [Gaudio] told attendees. “We’re trying to make the best running watch.”
Mashable: Adidas Announces Smart Watch for Runners

“Adidas has a long history of helping athletes perform better, beyond making great shoes and shirts,” VP of Adidas Interactive Paul Gaudio said on stage at GigaOM Mobilize. “We came to this idea of delivering service and serving athletes through technology. Our intent is not to compete in the smartwatch space — we are not trying to make a smartwatch, but the smartest running watch”
Venturebeat: Adidas releasing ‘less is more’ smartwatch for serious runners

“A watch with a colour touchscreen and built-in heart monitor that studies the wearer’s pulse to create training programmes has been unveiled by Adidas.”
BBC: Adidas miCoach smartwatch has heart-rate sensor

Lindsay Liu

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