Yesterday at an extremely interactive press event at The Glass Factory in Toronto, ON, Nike Inc. put journalists and athletes through their paces as it introduced the Nike FuelBand to the Canadian market.
With music blaring out from the sizeable DJ booth, a giant video screen in the foreground and a wealth of individuals armed with the Nike FuelBand, Nike didn't just talk about how its new product works, it encouraged just about everyone in the room to partake in an hour long fitness routine so that they could find out for themselves.
Essentially everyone who registered to attend the event was placed on one of five teams. The unique thing here is that each team was led by a world-class athlete.
These fitness marvels - and I say that with no exaggeration whatsoever - were National Hockey League superstars Steven Stamkos (featured in the video below) and P.K. Subban, as well as Olympians Tessa Bonhomme, Phylicia George and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep.
Once teams were assigned, each would spend 10 minutes at five different stations either climbing walls, swinging on bars, or jumping over whatever needed to be jumped over. So, what was the purpose of this? Fuel points. What are those you ask? Well, in order to understand the points system, you need to first understand the FuelBand.
The FuelBand is an ergonomic electronic bracelet that uses a three-axis accelerometer to provide information about different activities through movement of the wrist. When a user taps the button on the band, he is able to see how many steps he's taken during the day, how many calories have been burned, as well as how many Fuel points have been ascertained over the course of a day. It also keeps time rather well.
Now, Fuel points are basically the incentive for a FuelBand user to remain active - the more someone moves around, the more Fuel points are awarded to him. As the day goes on, 20 LED indicator lights on the bracelet display how much progress has been made, as well as when a goal has been achieved.
To get the bracelet up and running (so to speak), a user has to create an online Nike account and download the corresponding FuelBand software to a PC or Mac. Once the download is complete, the user must attach the band to its USB docking station, and plug it into the computer so that he can set daily goals, and view results and progress reports in his browser.
Do note, that during the setup process, one will be asked to enter in his physical attributes manually, so that the bracelet can accurately track daily activity.
For those always on the go, the band can also be synced with the free Nike FuelBand iOS app via Bluetooth.
This brings us all back to why the journalists and athletes had to go through the riggers of a surprise one-hour workout. The athlete's team that accumulated the highest amount of Fuel points during the course of the hour was awarded a $10,000 cheque for charity. P.K Subban's team came out victorious, while I came out exhausted yet entertained.
The Nike FuelBand will be available in Canada on October 31 for $149.
For more on this product, here is Nike Inc.'s Experience Director for Digital Sport, Ricky Engelberg.