Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Under Armour's jump into Wearable Technology

            Wearable technology is being integrated more and more into society. Under Armour’s CEO Kevin Plank, as reported on in Forbes, is looking to not only join, but lead the way, in the wearable technology industry. The article “How Under Armour's Kevin Plank Is Taking Wearables Back From Silicon Valley," shows Kevin Plank’s plan of developing wearable technology while also listing the struggles the company will face before going off into Plank’s early life and transition into becoming a self-made billionaire.

            Under Armour is looking at developing smartphone apps and installing technology into their products to help people keep track of workouts. As the article mentions, Apple has released their Health app which is automatically installed on all iPhones, keeps track of similar information and rivals Under Armour’s Record app. Still, Under Armour has 62 million people logging into their apps monthly and is predicting to see a rise in profits equal to $120 Million dollars by the year 2020 thanks to these apps. The cost of becoming the world’s largest digital health platform was equal to 3 years’ salary, but Plank is still supporting the move from just cloths into developing more wearable technology. Similar companies, like Nokia and Nike, which both started as clothing lines, failed to get into the technology market which ended up setting back the company as whole. However, as Forbes reported, “Plank doesn’t care if his apps make a lot of money. He already has plenty.” Even with lower than expected selling numbers with the Fitbit wristband and Apple Watch, Plank is confident this development will help sell more shirts; which, in the end, is the goal. Plank has since brought in the CEO of MapMyFittness, who developed Apple’s Health app, to help develop the software needed.

            Although the article covers everything from Plank’s early life all the way through the history of Under Armour, it does overlook a few major factor that could play in Under Armour’s favor. Currently, in order to use fitness apps, one must go out and buy a wristband and wear it while working out. If Under Armour succeeds in building in the same technology into their clothes, it would be much more convenient, and possibly cheaper, for people to use by automatically transferring data over to their phones. Also, Plank’s network of athletes can help him set up contracts with professional sport teams who want to track player workouts as well as provide him with a popular figure who can help market the product. The biggest factor, however, is that the fact that Plank has used the competition’s technology, which gives him an advantage. Plank noticed how the data in rival apps was there, but not connected and did not mean much to users. By creating a connection between this data collected and helping to explain to users would make him the innovative leader in this field plus being on the cutting-edge, which, when paired with the best athletic clothes, is a win-win.

Olson, Parmy. "How Under Armour's Kevin Plank Is Taking Wearables Back From Silicon Valley." Forbes. N.p., 30 Sept. 2015. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

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