Blog Post

More than an activity monitor, Basis watch wants to change your life

Exercise nuts and data fiends are getting plenty of new mobile gadgets to track their movements and motivate them to better health. But the most sensor-packed competitor is now ready to hit the market.

Basis, activity monitorBasis, an activity and health tracking watch, is finally launching for $199, offering four different types of sensors to monitor a user’s activity and vital signs. In addition to a three-axis accelerometer, Basis offers an optical heart rate monitor, a galvanic skin response sensor that measures a user’s sweat and a temperature sensor, which gauges both ambient and body temperature.

It’s going up against a number of devices, from the Jawbone Up and FitBit Zip and One trackers, to the Nike(s nke) Fuel Band, the Striiv gamified pedometer and Motorola’s MotoActv(s goog) watch. Most of those devices, however, rely primarily on accelerometers to measure footsteps, activity and calories burned. Basis can do that but it can also provide a sense of how a person is doing physiologically. It’s not just to rack up more data. Basis can tell which activities are actually causing a user to break a sweat or raise their temperature. And it can see how well a person’s heart rate is handling different types of exercise.

Basis, activity monitorWhile the sensors are important for gathering data, Basis believes its software is how it will actually change people’s lives. The company postponed the planned early 2012 launch of Basis to refine the software experience, so it can be used to actually change long-term behavior.

Now, users can pick certain habits they want to adopt such as hitting a certain number of daily steps or getting a certain amount of sleep and Basis’ dashboard helps them move toward their goal. The system will give points when a user hits their goal in a week and then will raise the targets for the next week. If a user falls behind, Basis’ dashboard knows to lower the goals, to get users back on the wagon.

“This is about taking small steps and trying to make something a habit,” said Basis CEO Jef Holove. “We can work with and then tune toward their goals based on how they’re living their lives.”

Users who want to deep dive into more personal data can also see plenty of charts and graphs that can show hour-by-hour activity. Or they can back out and see larger trends from a week-long perspective.

Basis, activity monitorThe software and coaching is included in the price of the Basis Watch. Mobile apps are coming in the new year for iOS(s aapl) and Android, which will allow users to check on the progress while out and about. The watch will use Bluetooth 2.1 to send data to a mobile device. It will be available for sale on the Basis website.

Holove said future monetization plans include potentially charging for additional accessories like wristbands or upselling users on more advanced cloud services that could offer better analytics or more data storage. We’ll be testing out the device to see if it really lives up to its promise. I’ll be interested to see how well it performs in the real world and whether the extra sensors actually deliver good data. But if it works, it’s a great package getting all that into an easy-to-wear watch. Some of the problem with many of these monitors is just ensuring that you have it with you at all times.

Basis raised $9 million last year from Norwest Venture Partners and DCM.

4 Responses to “More than an activity monitor, Basis watch wants to change your life”

  1. Beware, support is currently nonexistent. Received in a week ago, immediately requested support because computer doesn’t detect it, and despite 5 follow-ups on my side haven’t received a single (non-arbitrary) response. Still haven’t been able to try it out at all.

  2. I got my device on the 21st (ordered around 5 mins after they sent out the email) Been using it for a week. have allot of questions about the data being recorded. So far I’m noticing its not recording heart rate during any kind of light activity (like walking to the car) also I’m not to sure about the accuracy of the steps data. The other day it was recording steps while i was taking a shower and the next day it record 0 steps (was in all day, but did walk around the apartment) sleeping data is not that in depth and there is no “wake me @ the best time” feature. Blue tooth syncing is also not available yet (they said once there mobile apps are out they will enable it) But syncing is pretty easy with their sync cable that allows you to keep the watch on while syncing. I have a few emails out to them but i think they are away for the holidays as I have not received any comments back.I would wait for a review before picking the product up.

    • Michael Savage

      Hi wondering if either of you had any more feedback on this watch. I keep looking for reviews of accuracy, use of data, user experience but nothing coming up as of yet.

  3. Steven Conner

    Looks like a good tool but something is not right at the company. I was on reserve list for over 5 months and order number 701 and they are telling me that I may get one in Feb.
    Better to wait and see how they back there product up and come out with the apps to go with it, than be an early implementer.