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Wearable tech named Top Fitness Trend for 2020

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Do you use your smartwatch or fitness tracker to monitor your exercise, heart rate, calorie consumption or sleep quality? If you answered yes, you’re among the millions of adults who use a wearable device at least monthly and part of the growing movement of individuals taking control of their health. It’s not shocking that more than 3,000 health and fitness pros surveyed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) say wearable tech will be the top trend in fitness in the coming year. ACSM has published the results of its annual fitness trend forecast, “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2020,” in the November/December issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal.

“Wearable tech has become ingrained in today’s culture, and the industry shows no signs of slowing down,” says ACSM Past President Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D. “Tech advances have made it easier than ever for users to collect important health metrics and work with fitness professionals and health care providers to improve exercise efficiency, develop healthy lifestyles, manage chronic diseases and, ultimately, increase quality of life.”

Now in its 14th year, ACSM’s annual survey helps the health and fitness industry make critical programming and business decisions. This year’s survey provided 38 potential trends to choose from, including possible new trends like lifestyle medicine. Other trends were more specifically defined. Notable trends include the continued popularity of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and group training (both in the top three for three years in a row); an increased interest in Exercise is Medicine and fitness programs for older adults; and a growing emphasis on health and wellness programs.

New this year, ACSM published a separate article, “Regional Comparisons: The Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends,” comparing the top 20 fitness trends in North America, China, Europe and South America. The article looks at specific data to provide a more global understanding of the trends in different regions around the world. Partners in Europe, South America and China collected data by replicating ACSM’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends methodology.

“Through the regional comparison we hope to enhance the scope, reach and relevance of the ACSM fitness trends survey to truly make it an international collaboration,” says Vanessa M. Kercher, Ph.D., M.Ed. “We plan to continue developing our international partnerships with the goal of improving and expanding the implementation and methodology of the ACSM fitness trends survey. By doing so, we aim to identify fitness trends specific to different international regions so we can explore and communicate regional similarities and differences to readers.”

According to the “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2020,” the top 10 fitness trends are:

  1. Wearable technology: Includes fitness trackers, smart health watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices.
  2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. Despite concerns expressed by some fitness professionals, these 30-minute or less sessions continue to be a popular form of exercise around the world.
  3. Group training: Group exercise instructors teach, lead and motivate individuals through intentionally designed, in-person classes of more than five participants. Group programs are designed for people at different fitness levels, with instructors using leadership techniques that help individuals achieve fitness goals.
  4. Training with free weights: Instructors focus on teaching proper form for exercises using barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells and/or medicine balls. Resistance progressively increases as correct form is accomplished. Training with free weights debuts at no. 4 in 2020.
  5. Personal Training: The popularity of one-on-one training continues to increase as it becomes more accessible online, in clubs, at home and in worksite fitness facilities. Personal training includes fitness testing and goal setting with the trainer working with a client to prescribe workouts specific to individual needs and goals.
  6. Exercise is Medicine: This global health initiative by ACSM encourages health care providers to include physical activity assessment and associated referrals to certified fitness professionals in the community as part of every patient visit.
  7. Bodyweight Training: Bodyweight training uses minimal equipment, making it more affordable. Not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get “back to the basics” with fitness.
  8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults: As Baby Boomers age into retirement, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.
  9. Health / Wellness Coaching: This growing trend integrates behavioural science into health promotion and lifestyle medicine programs. A one-on-one and small group approach provides support, goal setting and encouragement.
  10. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals: Hiring health/fitness professionals certified through programs accredited by the NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies)is more important than ever. ACSM is one of the largest and most prestigious fitness-certification organizations in the world.

View the full list of top 20 trends in “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2020” and access related resources.

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Alexa can now read all messages

For the first time, an Alexa skill is available that makes it possible to listen to any kind of message while driving

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For the first time, Alexa users can now hear all their messages and email read aloud.

Amazon’s Alexa has become a household name. The world’s most popular virtual assistant is getting smarter every day and now, with Amazon Echo Auto, it’s in cars too. 

“In today’s highly connected world, messaging in the form of emails, texts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and work channels like Slack, are integral to our daily routine,” says Barrie Arnold, chief revenue officer at ping. “However, distracted driving is responsible for more than 25% of car crashes and thousands of preventable fatalities every year.” 

ping, a specialist in voice technology founded by Arnold and South African Garin Toren, has developed a new Alexa skill as a companion to its patented smartphone app, that enables any message type to be read aloud. Designed for safety, productivity and convenience, “pingloud” is the first skill of its kind for keeping users connected when they need a hand or an extra pair of eyes.

“The ping Alexa skill is specifically designed to help drivers stay off their phones while giving them exactly what they want – access to their messages.” says Toren, ping CEO. 

Opening up Alexa to developers has resulted in an explosion of new skills available either for free or for a fee that unlocks premium services or features. These tools magnify the usefulness of Alexa devices beyond common tasks like asking for the weather, playing music or requesting help on a homework assignment. According to App Annie, the most downloaded apps in 2019 were Facebook Messenger, Facebook’s main app and WhatsApp, highlighting the importance of messaging. 

“The ping Android app is available worldwide from the Google Pay Store, reading all messages out loud in 30 languages,” says Toren. “The iOS version is in global beta testing with the US launch coming very soon.” 

Once you’ve signed up for ping, it takes a few seconds to link with Alexa, enabling all messages and emails to be read aloud by a smart speaker or Echo Auto device. Simply say, “Hey Alexa, open pingloud.” ping links an account to a voice profile so unauthorised users with access to the same Alexa cannot ask for the authorised user’s messages.

All major message types are supported, including Texts/SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Slack, Telegram, Twitter DM’s, Instagram, and all email types. Promotional and social emails are not read by default.

*For more information, visit www.pingloud.com

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Coronavirus to hit 5G

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Global 5G smartphone shipments are expected to reach 199 million units in 2020, after disruption caused by the coronavirus scare put a cap on sales forecasts, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global 5G smartphone shipments will grow more than tenfold from 19 million units in 2019 to 199 million in 2020. The 5G segment will be the fastest-growing part of the worldwide smartphone industry this year. Consumers want faster 5G smartphones to surf richer content, such as video or games. We forecast 5G penetration to rise from 1 percent of all smartphones shipped globally in 2019 to 15 percent of total in 2020.”

Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “China, United States, South Korea, Japan and Germany are by far the largest 5G smartphone markets this year. The big-five countries together will make up 9 in 10 of all 5G smartphones sold worldwide in 2020. However, other important regions, like India and Indonesia, are lagging way behind and will not be offering mass-market 5G for at least another year or two.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The global 5G smartphone industry is growing quickly, but the ongoing coronavirus scare and subsequent economic slowdown will put a cap on overall 5G demand this year. The COVID-19 outbreak is currently restricting smartphone production in Asia, disrupting supply chains, and deterring consumers from visiting retail stores to buy new 5G devices in some parts of China. The first half of 2020 will be much weaker than expected for the 5G industry, but we expect a strong bounce-back in the second half of the year if the coronavirus spread is brought under control.”

Exhibit 1: Global 5G Smartphone Shipments Forecast in 2020 1

Global Smartphone Shipments (Millions of Units)20192020
5G19199
Rest of Market13941165
Total14131364
 
Global Smartphone Shipments (% of Total)20192020
5G1%15%
Rest of Market99%85%
Total100%100%

Source: Strategy Analytics

The full report, Global Handset Sales for 88 Countries & 19 Technologies, is published by the Strategy Analytics Emerging Device Technologies (EDT) service, details of which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/wep83gc.

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