Try to imagine a wristband that sets out to be simultaneously part of and a link to a complete health ecosystem. Of course, you need to know what that even means. For GOQii founder and CEO Vishal Gondal, it means his company sees itself as a preventive health care firm, not as just another wearable maker, according to Forbes India. One key to understanding GOQii’s positioning lies in the platform’s support for other companies’ wearables such as Fitbit and Jawbone. Even iPhone users who do not wear the GOQii wristband can access the company platform.
Gondal sold his mobile gaming company Indiagames to Disney for $100 million in 2011, so theoretically he could have funded GOQii himself, but the company, with offices in India and San Francisco, attracts venture capital investment as it gains market share and expands the platform depth. On the wearable device side, GOQii has proved its business model with 27.1 percent market share in India, trailing only Xiaomi. But the company focus remains on building a preventative health care platform in both India and the U.S.
GOQii’s feature list reads like an outline of possible fitness and health tech wearables attributes… by intention. The ecosystem breaks down to five areas. You can get personalized advice based on wearable activity tracking, with data sent to a health and fitness coach. The platform includes coaching backed by experts, providing health and nutrition advice based on your goals. Medical consults with doctors and the ability to schedule diagnostic tests via the platform differentiate GOQii from most health tech wearable devices and data platforms. There’s a data repository called the “health locker” that stores health records and medical reports in the cloud. And last, the Karma aspect of GOQii converts your healthy activity to Karma points that result in monetary support for social causes, for Oxfam India or any cause you choose.
The wristband activity tracker and app record track steps, distance, sleep, and your Karma score. It has an OLED display, 14-day battery life, and an integrated USB charger. The wristband also supports caller ID, SMS, and Whatsapp alerts as well as alarms and coach notifications and reminders. You can set goals, communicate with your coach, log meals and water intake, and view your current health and fitness data via the compatible smartphone app. The GOQii wristband can also make near field communication NFC touchless payments if you use a supported bank. The health and fitness coaches and physicians on the GOQii platform collaborate to design your health and fitness plan. The coaches provide unlimited interaction and you can consult with the medical doctors via text or phone calls. Video calls with coaches and doctors will be supported soon, according to the company. More than 1,000 coaches are currently associated with GOQii and Gondal expects more than 500 doctors available soon on the platform. GOQii coaches and doctors are a mix of full-time employees and contractors.
Storing health records and medical reports in the GOQii health locker raises privacy issues, but that’s the plan. You can also book appointments with associated health care facilities via the platform app. GOQii’s plan is to build a network of affiliated facilities that support the platform. You won’t find pricing information for the GOQii wristband or the GOQii platform on the U.S. website, but you can sign up for a waiting list. The list is for U.S. residents with a local shipping address. It appears the groundwork is being laid for a rollout of GOQii’s comprehensive health and fitness platform in the U.S.
The concept of a “complete health ecosystem” has appeal, but also has many moving parts. Records storage and privacy, affiliated medical and testing facilities, banking support for NFC payments, and how access to medical professionals will work await proof of concept, at least in the U.S.