Vishal Gondal is a well-known entrepreneur and famously known as the father of the Indian gaming industry. He enjoys running marathons, trekking and sky diving. It is this passion for technology, fitness and gaming that led him to his next venture, GOQii, which is focused on helping people make a change towards a healthier lifestyle. “Today, more and more people are becoming health and fitness conscious and are getting inclined towards technology like GOQii—a band which is worn around the wrist which collects data such as steps taken, distance walked, calories burnt and sleep pattern,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:
GOQii is just an year old company. How’s your product faring among existing fitness tracker brands?
GOQii offers a distinctive combination of wearable technology, coaching model which includes a human factor and the ability to support a cause that matters to users. GOQii is the only company that combines service with the
device and adds a human factor to it. The device is a band which is worn around the wrist which collects data such as steps taken, distance walked, calories burnt and sleep pattern. The data generated is updated into the GOQii app that a personal fitness coach can analyse.
GOQii users are rewarded with karma points which can be donated to a cause of their own choice. This interesting and unique proposition has been appreciated by many users.
As of now, GOQii is present in multiple countries including India, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and US and has also successfully integrated with 35-plus major fitness devices and apps including Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin, Moov, Misfit, Nike+ and Strava. Based on the response we are getting from the market, we are on track to acquire over 1 lakh users in 2015.
What are the challenges faced in the wearable device market?
One of the biggest issues faced in India is the low awareness rate and knowledge on the usefulness of wearable technology. There is a need for these market players to come together and raise awareness about the benefits and feasibility of this technology. Even though there is an increase in understanding and adaptability in the west markets, there remains an air of hesitancy around the need of wearables devices. Today, almost everyone has a smartphone with inbuilt apps so indulging in such technology is only when an individual wants to make an effort to adapt to change and improve their living.
How is the new GOQii band different from the previous device?
GOQii works on a unique and innovative coach marketplace model, revolutionising fitness coaching by empowering a user with regular guidance from a coach based anywhere in India or abroad. This offers services to users irrespective of their location. Independent coaches get certified on a GOQii-prescribed curriculum to provide services on the platform. GOQii’s goal is to enable millions of people across the world to “be the force” by helping them to unleash their untapped potential. The new GOQii band comes in a sleeker & slimmer design offering superior battery life ranging between 10-12 days.
What must a wearable device do to be successful?
In a recent published report by a leading technology analyst house, Juniper Research ranked GOQii amongst the top 5 developments that will impact the smart wireless devices sector in 2015. Hence the important ingredients for any technology to be successful are: (i) Easy and friendly to use (ii) amazing use case especially with one feature that makes the product stand out (iii) right pricing.
Industry data suggests more than 60% of wearable technology users tend to discontinue usage after a few months. GOQii on the other hand is a perfect blend of technology, Internet and a human factor to keep an individual engaged.
At GOQii, we collect the data generated by users including the steps taken, distance walked, calories burnt and sleep patterns, the same data is then synchronised with your phone onto the app enabling GOQii personal fitness coach to analyse and engage with user to help them achieve their health and fitness goal. Also, GOQii platform enables users to earn Karma points which can be donated to support a social cause of their choice. On the pricing, GOQii offers subscription at R3,999 for three months, R6,999 for six months, and R11,999 for 12 months.
How does GOQii help build the health ecosystem in India?
According to a latest report by the Delhi-based Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) chronic lifestyle driven diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, mental health illness, cancers, and chronic lung diseases are the leading cause of deaths in India. They account for 60% of all deaths annually killing more than 5 million people every year. Most of these chronic diseases are because of an unhealthy lifestyle majority of us follow.
With the technology available today, it’s much easier to track your basis dietary and fitness needs which helps monitor one’s lifestyle.
Your thoughts on adoption and integration of digital technology into health care.
The bold claim for wearable technology is that it could lead to ‘a revolution in self-care’ by improving the monitoring of patients with a host of long-term conditions as well as encouraging people to live more healthily. Patients with conditions such as diabetes, liver disease and asthma could benefit from wearing devices that can detect deterioration and alert the patient or anyone else they choose via a smart device. We at GOQii are aiming to help build this gradual shift to a healthier lifestyle with technology and fitness experts to guide people to have a fitter today.