Mobile Fitness Apps – Major Challenges and Solutions

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Fitness and health go hand in hand and when you add technology to the fray, it becomes everyone’s business. Regardless of whether you hit the gym to maintain your core muscles or go on a crash diet to reduce those inches, health is on everyone’s mind.

With the pandemic still looming large, the need to remain healthy is gaining significance. While it might not be possible to hit the gym during social distancing times, wearables and fitness tracking apps are helping customers maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In 2019, 68.7 million Smartphone users in the US used at least a single health or fitness app once a month. This figure is expected to reach 86.3 million by 2022.

Globally, health and fitness apps were downloaded 593 million times during the first quarter of 2020. This number is expected to reach 656 million by the end of 2020. The increase in mHealth solutions can be primarily attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing customers to be more health-conscious and rethink their fitness regimen to cater to the new societal demands.

Moreover, the global fitness tracking app market size was $36.34 billion in 2020, and this figure is predicted to grow to $114.36 billion by 2028 at a 15% CAGR during the 2021 – 2028 periods. 

Major Challenges in Mobile Fitness App Development

The wearable market is poised to take over the health and fitness segment in the next few years. However, developing these apps is a complex and time-consuming project. It has many challenges – hardware integration, security concerns, lengthy development periods and more.

In this article, we will talk about some of the challenges faced during the fitness app development process. We are also going to look at a few solutions to overcome these challenges.

Challenge: Data Privacy

A fitness app typically stores information coming from different sensors attached to the user’s body – with devices connected to their wrists, for example. Besides this, users can also manually enter data into the application – such as their food intake or sleep hours. The information saved is stored on the devices’ databases and the cloud.

If such internet-enabled devices are hacked, user’s personal information such as their credit card details, bank account information and ATM pin number can be easily accessed. This information can not only be used to launch a phishing attack but can also be sold to other third-party buyers. Fitness tracking app development companies should pay extra attention to data security.

Take Away:

Fitness app development demands tightened security and proper protocols to be in place. A single misstep can cause thousands of users to lose their confidential information.

Solution:

It is crucial to provide end-to-end encryption of data transfer so that unauthorized persons do not gain access to vital information and high-security standards are maintained. One way to ensure improved security is by adding a decryption key to the app’s lock code and the app’s password.

Challenge: Hardware Integration

When creating mHealth solutions, there is no standardized pattern that’s followed. A fitness app development process can be successful only when it’s designed to integrate seamlessly with as many wearables as possible. Users expect their health apps to combine well with their fitness wearables to deliver promised deliverables.

Take Away:

The spending on smartwatches increased from $18.5 billion in 2019 to $ 21.8 billion in 2021, an increase of 17.6%. And the global spending on ear-worn devices grew 124% from $14.5 billion in 2019 to $32.7 billion in 2020. There are way too many fitness vendors out there, and no single app can integrate with all these platforms flawlessly.

Solution:

Thankfully, these days, several fitness wearables allow glitch-free integration of third-party apps into their hardware using APIs and SDKs.

Challenge: App Updates

App updates are a regular feature for most applications. They need to keep pace with the changing requirements, increasing competition, rising expectations from customers, and bugs that pop in every once  in a while. 

Regardless of whether updates are required to debug or bring in enhancements, app development is never a straightforward process. It requires continuous upgrading based on the user’s feedback. With so many possibilities to work on, the development process can get a bit overwhelming for developers.

Takeaway:

Every fourth customer uses a fitness application more than ten times per week.

But, about 70% of fitness app users abandon the application within three months of using it. 

Solution:

One of the best methods to deal with app updates is having a scheduled update cycle that releases an update regardless of what other developers are offering. No update is small or big – an update to change the font qualifies to be called an app update. Regular updates help retain customers for a longer time and send a message that the fitness app development company is regularly bringing out advanced versions. 

Challenge: Development Durations

To make the application more advanced, most developers choose AI in fitness apps. While AI can usher in myriad benefits to users, it needs a more sophisticated development process that could take considerable time to complete. 

Takeaway:

There would hardly be any customer who hasn’t experienced their applications crashing or displaying errors on first use. Rushing into the development process, especially when bringing in AI in fitness apps, could be a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t make sense to create a partly-functional half-baked application in a highly competitive market.

Solution:

One way to avoid this would be to develop an MVP initially instead of releasing the entire product to the market. Another method is to follow an agile development process that focuses on creating an application with a single functionality. Developers can add additional functionalities to these mHealth solutions based on user feedback.

Wrapping Up

While the sudden spike in the adoption of health and fitness applications can be attributed to the compulsions caused by the pandemic, the enthusiastic implementation of these apps could well outlive the pandemic.

If a fitness tracing app has excellent functionality, it will undoubtedly find takers in the market. Regardless of whether you bring in AI in a fitness app or pose estimation, the development process can be riddled with challenges. However, with these tips and solutions, you can start the development process on a firmer footing.

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