Last year, Alfred Poor asked if people really need to spend $50 for a bottle that reminds them to drink water in his article about the Trago smart water bottle. Well, it appears the enthusiasm for techie and stylish hydration aids hasn’t waned; in fact it’s growing.
Hidrate, Inc.’s HidrateSpark, built for a Google Entrepreneurs Startup event, received initial funding as part of the Spring 2015 Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator Program. Hidrate ran a Kickstarter campaign from June 1 – July 13 in which they met their $35,000 goal in 20 hours and in the end raised $627,644 from 8,015 contributors. That’s a lot of money for water bottles. The first production run went to contributors and pre-order customers before year’s end and now the $59.95 water bottle is officially launching in January 2016, with shipment promised in March of this year.
The 24-ounce capacity HidrateSpark, available in six colors that follow the usual hues of yoga accessories, is made of BPA-free, dishwasher safe plastic and comes with replaceable battery rated to last a full year. The battery powers the Bluetooth Low Energy wireless connection with the user’s smartphone or smartwatch. Android and iOS compatible apps help you calculate your daily water goal, track how much you drink, and adjust your consumption need based on your location’s altitude and weather. The HidrateSpark also coordinates with fitness wearables, according to the company. The app sends reminders during the day to be sure you meet your hydration goal and, if you lag, an embedded LED in the bottle glows as a reminder.
Technology adoption follows different paths. Smart water bottles arguably serve a necessary purpose, for certainly too many of us live in a chronically dehydrated state. The 24 ounce capacity of the HidrateSpark is only 1/4 to 1/2 of the recommended water intake for typical American adults, so you will have to refill it at least once a day. Contrast that with the practical, ugly, and (at 8 pounds) relatively heavy gallon water jugs carried around as a sign of rugged readiness by many lifters and gym jocks. Quite possibly driving the success of HidrateSpark are the style, the color, and the glow. If you’ve been to a yoga or Pilates class at a fitness studio, the look is more than just the outfit. The exercise mat, towel, and often the water bottle all accessorize the diligent exerciser. Imagine if you could have a shapely bottle color coordinated with your exercise mat that even glowed for you! It isn’t just the information content that matters, sometimes it’s the manner and style with which the information is delivered that makes the difference between adoption success or failure.