What is a Smart Water Bottle?
The word “smart” has come to take on an entirely new meaning. Instead of describing someone with above average intelligence, the word is now used to describe technology that is able to connect, share and interact with its users and/or other smart devices. The smartness comes from the gadget’s ability to act somewhat as a human. This artificial intelligence helps us do things we previously couldn’t, at least not with the same required effort.
Just as phones, cars and TVs have matured to be smart, water bottles are following suit. And why not?
- The average adult human is made up of about 60 percent water.
- We have been told many things about how to staying hydrated, including to “drink eight glasses of water” or “drink half of your body weight in ounces” each day
- Depending on the circumstances, humans can die from dehydration in anywhere from a few hours to a week or more
Notice in each of these points, there are “averages” and variables that must be considered, meaning what is right for one, isn’t always right for the other. Everything from age to weather conditions can impact those numbers, but how are we supposed to know what level of hydration is right for us? That’s where technology can help.
A smart water bottle is one that can integrate various data points to calculate the precise amount of fluids needed for a person to stay hydrated. It’s highly personal, using current information about the user and his or her surroundings to make science-backed recommendations.
The smart water bottle or its smart water bottle cap will use some type of technology, such as ultrasonic sensors or other liquid level measuring sensors, to measure the amount of water or fluid in the bottle. As the person drinks, measurements are made and stored. The best smart water bottles will be connected to a smartphone app that will combine the water consumption data with live weather conditions, elevation, body type of user, sweat rate, and activity type, duration and intensity (either manually inputted or received from an integrated mobile health application or wearable device). All of these data points will enable the software to make recommendations customized to each user.
This, my friends, is smart. This is personalized hydration that isn’t based on guesses, myths, averages or well-intended advice. The smart water bottle with app should be based on science, real data, and the user’s own unique makeup and situation. Sort of makes the plastic water bottle you’ve been using look a little dumb, doesn’t it?
The History of the Water Bottle
Thanks to the soda industry’s strategy to expand product lines, water began to be bottled in order to boost sales that were declining from soda. Scare tactics and deceptive marketing campaigns convinced consumers into thinking common tap water wasn’t pure and bottled water was the safer alternative. It was also marketed as being more convenient because it could travel, unlike a glass without a lid.
Over time, consumers began to believe the hype, seduced by promises of pristine spring water, even though bottled water costs about 2,000 times the cost of tap water and frequently loses taste tests with tap water. Sadly, however, within a matter of years, half a billion plastic water bottles were being purchased every week.
Yet as consumers became more aware of the impact of all of these plastic water bottles in their landfills, waterways and oceans, a new industry was created: reusable water bottles. In 2015, this market topped $7 billion and is expected to expand at a compounded annual growth rate of 4.2 percent between 2016 and 2024. That means that by 2024, the reusable water bottle market will rise to more than $10 billion.
The key drivers for such growth aren’t only the environmentally sustainable nature of reusable water bottles. Reusable water bottles are also much more cost effective than disposable water bottles and many reusable water bottles have convenience features that outdo its predecessors. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, can attach to multiple objects, are made from varying materials besides chemical-laden plastics, and of late, contain embedded technology that make them smart.
The eco-smart water bottle has made its debut and is likely to become a favorite among athletes and wannabees or simply those who want to be more environmentally responsible and live a healthier life. While the smart water bottle hasn’t been around for long, there are already some key differentiators among the major players. More on that in a bit.
What Are the Benefits of a Smart Water Bottle?
When the plastic water bottle was introduced, we were led to believe they had inherent benefits over tap water. We came to learn, however, than these so-called benefits were nothing more than marketing tactics. The smart water sports bottle is different. The hype is actually legit.
Today more than ever, people are paying attention to their health. They wear devices to track their every move, buy apps to motivate them to diet and exercise, and are enrolling in wellness programs to stay healthier. More than 17 million people in the U.S. alone finished a road race of some kind, whether a 5K, marathon, or anything in between. Way to go, America.
More people are changing their food and beverage habits as well. The global sales of healthy food products is estimated to reach $1 trillion this year, with 88 percent of people willing to pay more for healthier fare. In another report, the natural beverage market is far outpacing the soda industry as people are looking for healthier alternatives.
The only thing that seems to be missing when it comes to our health is understanding just how much hydration plays a part in our everyday health. Hydration is one of the most important driving factors of health and athletic performance. Whether you are an elite athlete or wish you were one, hydration can be the difference between just getting through a workout and performing at your best. This is where the smart water bottle and cap come into play.
The best smart water bottle will accurately measure how much water you are drinking, consider the personal characteristics of you and your workouts, and send you push notifications on your smartphone or wearable device to help you reach your best. It will enable you to set and measure your personal hydration goals and give you scientifically-based recommendations on when and how much you should drink.
Being that every system in your body depends on water, such as flushing out toxins, carrying nutrients to your cells, and lubricating joints and tissues, it only makes sense to include hydration in your overall health. Regular bodily functions, exercise, weather and certain medical conditions all pull water from the body, but just how much do you need to replenish it?
The smart water bottle will tell you. Studies have found that being properly hydrated can help you lose weight faster, keep digestion moving, fight fatigue, protect yourself from certain types of cancer, improve your mood, prevent headaches, keep your kidneys working, protect your joints, and even lessen a hangover. The smart water sports bottle will give you the information you need to keep your fluids and your life more balanced.
Are Smart Water Bottles Right for Me? How to Choose the Right One.
If you are an athlete, a smart water bottle with an app is a must. There is no better way to understand your personal hydration. If you are into fitness and want to perform better, get stronger, faster and fitter, then hydration is just as important. Carrying around a disposable water bottle is so yesterday and while a typical reusable water bottle is a huge step forward for mankind, it isn’t smart. And we need some smart.
It’s not enough to think you need eight glasses of water or to wonder if you’ve had enough fluids for the day. Now you can know exactly how much you need, based on your own lifestyle, body and activity. So how do you choose among the “smart” water bottles?
Look at features. Remember that the word “smart” isn’t exactly regulated. Anyone can claim their water bottle is smart but is it really? If it’s only measuring how much you’ve had to drink and then reminding you to drink more, that’s not smart. If it doesn’t connect with your wearable fitness devices to upload real-time data, then it’s going to be a pain in the ass to manually program. And if it guesstimates how much water you’ve had instead of accurately measuring it, put it back on the shelf.
A smart water bottle cap can accurately pinpoint water levels within a fraction of an ounce so you can know for sure. It will also seamlessly and easily connect with your other devices in seconds so you can focus more on your workout and less on manual data entry. Find one that will provide predictive and actionable feedback so you can optimize your intake at just the right time before you ever start down the dehydration path. The best smart water bottles will enable you to follow your friends, teammates or training partners so you can set goals and encourage each other, too.
Is it science or fiction? Some “smart” water bottles recommend hydration based on best guesses. Be sure to choose one that is backed by science and incorporates, in real time, all of the variables that go into proper hydration, such as:
- Local temperatures
- Local humidity
- Activity type
- Duration of activity
- Intensity of activity
- Consider material. We can probably all agree that plastic is no longer the way to go. It is full of chemicals, never decomposes, has a huge carbon footprint, and can take on odors. Find an eco-smart water bottle that is made of high-quality, durable materials, like stainless steel, to ensure you are doing the best for your body and your planet.
- Look at integrations. You may not use fitness apps or wear fitness trackers, but if you do, you’re going to want your smart water sports bottle to connect to it. Be sure whichever bottle you choose can quickly and easily integrate with your favorite app(s) and/or device(s) so you can get to your workout sooner.
- Can it measure more than water? Many smart water bottles can only measure water, yet we frequently drink sports drinks, add powders to water, or drink other liquids before, during and after a workout. You’ll want to find a smart water bottle with a cap that can accurately measure whatever fluid you choose to drink.
- Think about price. When you’re considering price, keep in mind the features. The cheaper bottles likely have fewer features and integrations, less accurate measurement technology, and lower quality materials. While price is important, you want to be sure you choose a water bottle you will want to use, will be able to use for years to come, and will get the most out of in order to reach your fitness and hydration goals.
- Look for flexibility. You may want to consider a smart water bottle with a versatile cap that can be used on other water bottles you may choose. This will give you the ability to alternate water bottles without losing the benefits of the “smart” part. A cap that is standardized to fit most other water bottles will offer the most flexibility.