The Strategist

Jawbone’s Wearable Fitness Tracker Allows Contactless Payment

04/20/2015 - 16:08

After a delay of five months, Jawbone has launched its long awaited UP3 which will include a wearable NFC chip to enable contactless payments. The company also discloses its plans for the next product called UP4. – 16 April 2015 – Parmy Olson, one of the Forbes staff, reports about the latest launch of Jawbone UP3.
According to Olson’s post, the Jawbone manufacturers have gone through financial crisis wherein the flow of cash was an almost stagnant squeeze, resulting in a late delivery of five months that ignited the anger of the suppliers. However, the launch of new UP3 device, according to Re/code reports, has earned another three hundred million dollars.
The company is also launching a simultaneous successor of UP24 wristband, which has been named as UP2. The latter contains all the functions of its predecessor in a smaller form though it borrows from the new designs of the UP3, which has “announced” during last November.
The delay in the release of UP3 was a result of the manufacturer’s efforts to make it a better product. Consequently, upon the insistence of the company that their said product be water-resistant, UP3 was successfully made waterproof. At present, the product is finally ready to be launched on the 20th April 2015 at the price of hundred and eighty dollars. Moreover, the UP2 is also available on the company’s website along with Amazon and BestBuy at the price of $99.
Nonetheless, Jawbone is bringing more to the table with the announcement of yet “another new wristband”, which will be named UP4. The said product will be ready to be shipped this summer. The features of UP4 will include “an NFC chip” which will enable “contactless payment” in collaboration with American Express. All you will have to do is to hold up your hands at the payment terminal which will be equivalent to a swipe of “an Amex credit card” through the EFTPOS terminal.
Jawbone is venturing into untrodden territory as this will be the first time when the consumers will be able to “use a fitness tracker for NFC payments”. This inclusion draws its inspiration from the design of the “forthcoming Apple Watch” which is to incorporate “a tap-to-pay feature”.
According to Berg Insight, there are likely to be more of such wearable devices in the market that would the technology of NFC; consequently:
“...tap-to-pay terminals are expected to grow by more than 28% between now and 2019.”
Moreover, the new Jawbone addition of UP4 will incorporate “the same fitness-tracking functionality of the UP3” along with the features that would enable it to monitor your heart-rate, track your steps and sleep besides “the NFC chip” for making payments. In fact, it appears that the company has “bought itself more time” in order to continue its business run. As mentioned earlier, Kara Swisher reports on Re/code tech site that Jawbone made three hundred million dollars from its investment firm BlackRock; although no spokesman volunteered to give any comments.
Olson has gathered some information from various sources, which confirmed the financial crisis that the company underwent over “last few months”. Olson writes:
“A report in Fortune also said that a production glitch caused it to miss the critical holiday season of 2014 with the UP3. And Jawbone has yet to turn a profit. A round of new funding should be a welcome relief for CEO and co-founder Hosain Rahman.”
The latter is now “steering” a “more compelling” strategy in the field of wearable device manufacturer which marries the “smart data analysis” with aesthetic design principles while Yves Behar, the main designer, is at the helm of the designing section.
It is impressive to witness Rahman lead his bright team of scientists who collects data wherein Monica Rogatti, who invented “LinkedIn’s People-You-May-Know”, is involved to figure out how best the data collected by the wearable UP devices can be reamed together and churned “into useful insights”. Instead of stopping short at reading patterns from collected data, Jawbone along with Monica Rogatti plan on using the UP wearable devices to encourage “healthier” behaviour which will be guided by “right notifications”.
However, to turn the looming hopes of the consumer into Jawbone’s success, the company will have to launch the “UP4 on time this summer”; any kind of delay like the launch of UP3 can turn the table for Jawbone.