New fitness technology more popular than video game products at University store

Jon Stinchcomb and Jon Stinchcomb

An old form of technology has reemerged recently with a new twist. “Wearable tech” is encouraging its users to get off the couch and live a more active lifestyle.

This semester, Ziggabyte began carrying an entire line of fitness-based wearable technology products from companies like TomTom, Garmin and Fitbit.

“It’s the way technology is heading— convenience and portability— that’s wearable tech,” Michael Weatherford manager of Ziggabyte said. “So we brought in the fitness stuff, which was kind of the beginning for us.”

While there is more and more non-fitness wearable technology, such as “Google Glass,” Ziggabyte stuck with a more active slant, Weatherford said. Including products like the GoPro line of wearable video cameras.

Stuart Fatzinger, a sales representative at Ziggabyte, said he has been using a GoPro for years to record while snowboarding.

“It’s along the whole active line,” Fatzinger said. “I’ve had a lot of people come in showing interest in that. I think a lot of people are finally starting to be more active and the wearable tech kind of helps with it.”

Fatzinger said the reason they carry so many different brands is because of how prominent these products have become. The most popular one at the University is the Fitbit line.

“The Fitbits are just gone,” he said. “We’ve sold out of all of them.”

Fatzinger said he isn’t sure if it’s just a fad or if it’s here to stay, but for now, these popular electronics are encouraging users to exercise.

“People are like, ‘Oh, Apple Watch is coming out,’ or ‘Hey, Fitbit is awesome, maybe I should start running more,’” he said.

Whether or not the store will be able to carry the new Apple Watch when it launches in early 2015 won’t be up to Ziggabyte, Weatherford said. As an Apple-authorized campus store, Apple Inc. will decide if they get to carry that unit.

They are, however, still looking to expand their inventory of “smartwatches,” he said.

They’re looking into wearable devices made by Samsung, LG and Motorola, but the store will have to wait until those companies are distributing to smaller venues.

All of the current brands they carry today are doing well though. Despite wearable tech being a new department for Ziggabyte, the products seem to be flying off the shelves.

“We’ve actually been very, very happy with how it’s moving,” Weatherford said. “We literally got these in two days before the semester started and we’ve just been blowing through them.”

The fitness bands are huge, he said.

One of these new products combining both existing technology and recent innovations with a modern look is the “Garmin vívofit.”

According to Garmin, it’s the only fitness band that automatically tracks a user’s progress, analyzes that data to provide individual daily goals and appropriately intensifies workouts over time. It even monitors sleep patterns.

These components are all designed to help inspire its users to embark on healthier lifestyles.

Upon the vívofit’s initial release, Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales, described it as “the fitness band that knows your potential.”

“Being able to monitor the quality of rest after retiring for the night, being challenged by personalized daily goals and doing so without having to charge it every few days, makes vívofit a fitness band that should be on everyone’s wrist,” Bartel said in a statement.

But the most notable advantage it has over the Fitbit wristbands is that the information is both analyzed and displayed on the unit itself without the need of syncing to a secondary device.

Regardless of which product customers ultimately prefer, this emerging focus on fitness appears to be energizing consumers on campus.

“People like the technology involved with wearable tech,” Fatzinger said. “I think it’s a good thing that people are getting interested in it, starting to get a little more active.”

Ziggabyte is selling more of these fitness products than Xbox and Playstation items.

“I think that’s a good sign,” Fatzinger said.