Gaming for Fitness: Products Span Retailer Aisles

The latest issue of Vision, the Consumer Electronics Assocation’s excellent trade publication features Gaming for Health.  The video gaming industry is feeding new technology and ergonomic interfaces to keep people of all ages fit, alert, and helping them to recover and rehabilitate.

“Exergaming” extends into all age groups and global selling regions. Foundations and university research sites also advance the use of exergames to help better understand health risks and behaviors.

At VQ ActionCare, we’re expanding our retail channel partnerships for sales of a low-impact, seated exercise and rehabilitation system called the Resistance Chair.  While clearly low-tech in form and function, thousands of Resistance Chair users plug into instructional DVDs that allow people stay at home and keep fit. We’re studying our customer’s useage habits and deciding what the next generation of this product will be. It will likely contain more digital intelligence, and link to online fitness and training aids.

Established sporting goods and big box retailers are re-thinking their product lineups, to serve their loyal, aging shoppers. Will be interesting to see how category buyers cross over from the electronics aisle to the fitness corner, when promoting and displaying exergaming and other smart exercise systems.

Read more.

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CES Wraps in Vegas; 140,000+ Attended

CEA, owners and producers of the annual Consumer Electronics Show event, has another one under their belt, one to brag about.

Major technology trends emerged from the CES show floor, including the launch of more than 80 tablets, wireless 4G LTE, connected TV technologies, smart appliances — featured for the first time in show history — and electric vehicles.

Ford Motor’s Alan Mulally unveiled the company’s first electric car at the 2011 International CES with its Ford Focus Electric. Interesting to note that Ford opted to hype this new product line via this consumer venue, alongside the annual car show.

Of note? More than 30,000 international participants… that’s 20% of total headcount. This global technology gathering featured more innovation, more news, more social media buzz and more international attendance than any other show in CES history.

The International CES will return to Las Vegas next January 10-13, 2012.

The Nitty Gritty from Consumer Electronics Show

Greetings from Las Vegas on The King’s Birthday, where everything is so much more… where Cirque du Soleil meets Viva Elvis. Where everything’s sexier in Paris, thanks to Barry Manilow. A couple of observations on what looks cool, and even better what looks hot, in my usual terms of successful market entry:

3-D TV. No stranger to the show floor, but so much more this year. Emboldened by successful entertainment ventures, all major TV manufacturers and gaming systems makers featured wowzie displays of 3-D, with requisite weird Terminator glasses. None of it makes sense unless there’s a successful market entry at play, though, and the most feasible one I learned about was at the Panasonic mega-booth. Here, a rep from Dish TV announced that Dish will launch a 3-D content package, with the promise of plenty of 3-Dness via ESPN and other networks, and dedicated paid content channels for subscribers. Supposed to be a nationwide launch in June, let’s watch it and see the uptake from trendy consumers. Will it be worth it, and tip the scales toward broad acceptance, or will it languish a few more years? I feel that the human interface is still so awkward; any industrial designers out there who care to win world domination by fixing that?

Google phone. Motorola staff showed me two new models at their booth, for AT&T and Verizon. There’s a stickiness to the devices that further insinuates them into users’ daily routines: upon activation, users load up every bit of their social network life into the device, and so much more, and it never forgets. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace… it’s all there, all the time, always. But here’s where I see a market shift taking place: the inclusion of Google’s mapping and location siting technology. That single factor signals the death of another consumer market sector: portable GPS systems. Why will I need a Garmin or TomTom device if I buy a Google phone? I cross-checked my theory at their respective booths, and saw Garmin continuing its strong action sports and wilderness positioning that transcends concerns about mobile phone coverage areas. But – where does this leave their market for standalone devices?

So much more to come. Hint: powering our future through inductive coupling technology.

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