There are a number of GPS watches currently on the market that allow you to accurately track the progress of your workouts, including your heart rate. Evident from the clunky size let alone aesthetics, it's fair to say that most of these GPS watches are designed primarily for men. I, a petite female with very small wrists, am certainly not their target audience.
Bia vs Garmin
Gadgets typically come in one size. Iphones don't come in an XXL for individuals with large digits. But as our electronics become more and more wearable, the tech industry may need to reconsider its one-size-fits-all approach to designing wearable technology.
Meet Bia: the latest GPS sports watch designed specifically for women. Yes it's smaller and comes in pink but that's just skimming the surface of the host of other features designed to meet the needs of female athletes.
The duo behind Bia, Cheryl Kellond and Sylvia Marino, streamlined the design of Bia so it would not interfere with their workout: One button, automatic uploading of data, and easy GPS connectivity.
Bia even has a safety feature that automatically sends your location to a loved one and emergency services if you feel threatened or need help.
I caught up with Sylvia Marino to learn more about Bia and the motivation to design a GPS watch specifically for the ladies.
Why design a GPS watch specifically for women? What features make BIA female-centeric?
It is true that we are marketing the watch to women because many of the problems we were trying to solve were ones stated by women. From size, fit, comfort, style, not having to charge the watch plus added features such as real-time race day tracking and a safety feature for solo workouts we're finding a great deal of adoption by women but men have also asked if they can wear it as well (they can!).
BIA comes in a variety of colors with interchangeable wristbands. Why was it important to make BIA fashionable rather than design it to look either "unisex" or "utilitarian"?
We heard from so many women that style was important and having a training tool that was also an accessory that said "I'm an athlete". We're simply bringing style to something that has typically been a black plastic masculine chunk on the wrist. We're Lululemon meeting technology.
Aesthetically, the most unique design feature is BIA's display that rests at an angle on your wrist. What were the reasons that brought you to this unique design?
Yes! There are a number of reasons. First, it fits all wrist types. We've heard from so many that traditional sports watches - and even more so the heavier GPS watches - are uncomfortable on the wrist. Slim or bony wrists encounter uncomfortable hard straps hitting the ulna bone. Larger wrists complained of a comfortable fit without gaps. With all of these devices you have the "wrist twist" syndrome of having to bring the arm up in front of the face to get a direct reading of the data - be it time, heart rate or information such as distance and pace. With Bia's unique design the angle keeps this information in perfect line to the athlete thus avoiding the unnatural wrist twist that also impedes stride and body position - whether running, walking, cycling or swimming.
BIA also has an online community. Are there any unique features to the community that distinguish BIA from other online training software? Will there eventually be mobile app?
We really thought about the type of community members wanted. We approached the motivation differently because women think differently than men. In many of the traditional tracking sites you see features like "King of the Hill" or "First Place" - it's very competitive. Many of our members see the competition as being themselves - hitting personal records (PR's) after a day or week of work, kids, families and more. For Bia, "First" is a priority, not a place. Our goal setting tools is about reaching personal goals - from working out more to hitting certain times or distances. It's social and supportive with women from all walks of life and athletic abilities cheering each other on, giving support and motivation along the way. We are planning additional services for members based that we believe they will find of value and serve them in hitting their PR's.
We are planning a mobile app for users to enter workouts in manually if they choose, or if they have the Bia sports watch with the GPS Go Stick, have their data automatically sync via the cloud upon finishing a workout or race.
Do you think BIA will also appeal to some men?
Yes, many men have asked and we have delivered providing a longer strap and a masculine silver and black finish.
There's 11 days left to help fund Bia! Visit their kickstarter page to learn more.