Wearables company Misfit is turning its fitness tracking devices into controllers for the smart home, announcing a string of new partnerships with Nest, Logitech, August, and If This Then That (IFTTT). Users of Misfit’s minimalist, $50 Flash tracker will be able to control music with the device, send Yos, or even use its sleep tracking functionality to tell Nest’s thermostat when to start heating their house in the morning. Some of the functionality will be automatic (like using the wearable to open August’s smart locks) while other tasks will make use of the device's push button (such as starting and stopping playlists on Spotify). Misfit says that users can currently only assign two functions (one for a single-push and one for a double-push), but that syncing the device with Nest's or August's products doesn't use either of these slots.
Going from wearables to controllables makes sense
Misfit isn't the first company to take this step from wearables to controllables: rival firm Jawbone did something similar back in April 2013 when it announced IFTTT integration for the UP fitness tracker. IFTTT acts as a simple coding language for the internet, letting users connect actions such as "uploading a photo to Flickr" to "posting that photo on Facebook" for free (If this, then that). Jawbone suggested using IFTTT to create custom features such as text alerts that sent when users didn't get enough sleep. Misfit's new partnership with the company will allow users to add similar, personalized functionality.
This transition makes sense for Misfit considering that customers still see fitness trackers as relatively disposable: a study from August last year found that one-third of trackers were discarded after six to 12 months. Adding connected functionality gives users another reason to keep on trackin', while also tieing into Misfit's play for the smart home. The company launched its own smart light bulb earlier this year and yes, the Misfit Flash can control that too. Fitness trackers have proved to be the most popular form of wearable on the market, but they could also be a Trojan horse for the smart home. The Flash (waterproof and with a six-month battery life) is a good example of relatively unobtrusive tech — just the sort of gadget we might want to rely on in our homes.