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Automatic exercise recognition comes to Fitbit

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Fitbit has introduced automatic exercise recognition and enhancements to heart rate tracking on the Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge.

“At Fitbit we’re always working on innovative features that are easy to use and make tracking health and fitness a fun, motivational experience,” said Tim Roberts, VP of Interactive at Fitbit. “Our users find exercise in all parts of their day, including activities like short walks with the dog or a bike commute to work. These new features allow them to focus on their exercise, giving them credit for their most active moments and letting the technology do the work to automatically track progress toward their fitness goals.”

Fitbit provided the following information:

Record Workouts Automatically with SmartTrack 

SmartTrack provides a smarter, easier way to track workouts and see how efforts accumulate to reaching fitness goals. SmartTrack automatically recognises select exercises and records them in the Fitbit app, giving users credit for their most active moments, so they are more informed to be able to reach their goals:

  • Automatic exercise recognition – SmartTrack automatically recognises continuous movement when wearing Fitbit Charge HR or Fitbit Surge. It identifies the type of activity and records it in the Fitbit app along with an exercise summary, including duration, calories burned and heart rate stats. SmartTrack is capable of identifying a wide variety of activities, including elliptical, outdoor biking, running, walking, and general categories of aerobic workouts (i.e., Zumba, cardio-kickboxing and other dance classes) and sports (i.e., tennis, basketball and soccer).
  • Personalised settings – Because everyone’s definition of exercise is different, users can select the types of activities they want recognised as exercise and adjust how long they must be moving before an activity is recorded in the Fitbit app. By default, activities are automatically recognised when users have been active for at least 15 minutes.

Enhanced Real-Time Heart Rate Tracking During Workouts 

Fitbit’s proprietary PurePulse heart rate technology has been updated to provide users with an even better heart rate tracking experience during and after high-intensity workouts like boot camp and Zumba. The update is activated when using Exercise Mode on Fitbit Charge HR and multi-sport modes on Fitbit Surge. PurePulse optical technology provides users with continuous, automatic wrist-based heart rate tracking including resting heart rate and heart rate trends over time – without the need for an uncomfortable chest strap.

Fitbit is dedicated to developing the most consistently accurate wrist-based activity trackers on the market. This software update improves upon an already positive heart rate tracking offering.

Stay Motivated with Weekly Exercise Goals

The American Heart Association and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend an average of 30 minutes of exercise each day, five days per week to improve health. While most people are aware of the benefits of being more active and exercising more, these activities can be time consuming and difficult to achieve.

Available for free to all Fitbit device and app users, exercise goals are tracked on a daily basis with a weekly goal set for the number of days they plan to exercise. Exercise goals encourage people to embrace a more consistent workout routine in order to achieve their fitness goals. Exercise Goals can be personalised by choosing the number of target exercise days per week and the types of activities that will count toward their goals. Progress toward goals is displayed within the Fitbit app.

To receive credit toward an exercise goal, Fitbit device users can:

  • Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge: Use SmartTrack or track an activity using Exercise Mode, multi-sport modes or MobileRun; or log an exercise in the Fitbit app.
  • Fitbit Charge: Track an activity using Exercise Mode, MobileRun, or log an exercise in the Fitbit app.
  • Fitbit Flex, Fitbit One, Fitbit Zip: Track an activity using MobileRun or log an exercise in the Fitbit app.

Availability 

The SmartTrack and PurePulse software updates are free and available globally to all Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge users today. Exercise Goals are also available globally to all users of the free Fitbit app for iOS and Windows, with Android coming soon. These innovative features will also be available on all new Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge trackers.

Also, just in time for the holidays, Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge are available in new blue and tangerine colours, with the Fitbit Charge HR also available in teal – arriving in South Africa soon.

For more information on Fitbit products and services, please visit www.fitbit.com.

Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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