The smart wearable market was valued at 216.18 million units in 2019, and is expected to reach 614.31 million units by 2025, at a CAGR of 19.1% in the period forecasted from 2020 to 2025, according to a Mordor Intelligence industry report. The general focus in recent years has been on providing a new aesthetic design to devices, in order to attract more customers, and give a new sense of fashion to smart technology.
Wearable technology is an emerging trend that integrates high-end technology into daily activities. Wearable technology fits with the changing and more active lifestyles of this century. It can be worn on a small part of the body, and focuses on tracking and improving health, physical activity, and wellness. The most common smart wearable technology includes smart rings, smart jewelry, smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart clothing, and head-mounted displays.
Rapid technological developments on the Smart Wearable technology market bring competitive intelligence, product innovations, and a variety of strategies on major representatives of the industry. A detailed understanding of some of the pioneers in the wearable industry — as well as the current market dynamics and potential growth opportunities — will help emerging startups thrive in the smart wearable technology industry.
There are enough examples of smart wearable technology devices already available on the market today that anyone can find what best suits specific needs and budgets. As an introduction, let's consider a few cutting-edge innovators, each one a pioneer in the smart wearable industry; products this writer has known as prized possessions since their launch, several years ago.
As pioneers in the smart wearable space, the first version of the Ōura Ring was designed and developed by Finnish industrial designer Harri Koskinen. Ōuraring was established in 2013 and — while its headquarters are in Oulu, Finland — the company also has offices in Helsinki and San Francisco.
Koskinen, together with Kari Kivelä — co-founder and head of design — launched a Kickstarter in 2015, which gathered over $650,000. The first Ōura Ring was launched in San Francisco, in March 2015. It won multiple industry awards, including the CES 2016 Best of Innovation.
The second Ōura Ring — a remarkably smaller, second-generation version with improved battery life — launched for pre-orders at Slush 2017, in Helsinki, and quickly rose nearly 20,000 pre-orders.
The renewal of the app started early in January 2018. The company revitalized the app experience, bringing design-oriented thinking and new processes into the product. The experience now puts digestible insights in the foreground, and moves raw data to the background, curating the visual language of a premium product.
Rather than just being an activity tracker, Ōura gives the wearer a personal activity goal that calibrates daily based on your own individual recovery status and readiness to perform.
The Ōura Ring tracks overall daily movement, exercise, steps, calorie burn, and integrates insights for balancing your personal training and recovery. It even keeps track of your sedentary time, which means a pleasant notification when it's time to get up, move your body, and get some good exercise.
However, since our needs for exercise change from day to day, the device's daily readiness score helps you learn to identify days that are ideal for challenging yourself, and those that are better for taking it easy. This is based on multiple readings such as changes and trends in your night-time resting heart rate and heart rate variability, and continuous night-time body temperature tracking. By tracking your long-term data regarding sleep, recovery, and activity, the Ōura Ring shows you how to find and maintain a lifestyle that suits your body's daily rhythms, helping you feel energetic every day.
In 2018, Ōura was named one of the 31 hottest startups in the Nordic countries, according to venture capitalists, and also made the list for the most promising Finnish startups. They also won two Red Dot awards — one for the ring, and one for the design of the application that comes with the Ōura Ring, which gives personalized tips on how to balance physical activity with rest.
Ōura Ring second generation
The stylish and fashionable Ōura Ring measures the physiological signals of the human body, analyzes and understands personal lifestyle, and takes you closer to a better state of well-being.
The Ōura Ring makes personalized suggestions and can show the wearer trends-over-time, specifically tailored for each individual, and of course it is slimmer and sleaker than its predecessor. It packs multiple sensors, including a 3D accelerometer, infrared optical pulse measurement, gyroscope, and body temperature sensors. All the sensors combined are able to provide insights on three main areas: Readiness, Sleep, and Activity.
It is even integrated with Google Fit, so you can automatically import workouts from fitness apps like Nike, Run Club, My Fitness Pal, Strava, RunKeeper, and others.
In all, the Ōura Ring provides great features for tracking and improving health and wellness, packaged in a very fashionable, stylish, and minimalist ring design. And if that is not enough — in 2019, the company released a new feature for quantifying meditation: Moment.
The Motiv Ring is a smart ring designed for 24/7 wear. Motiv combines fitness, heart rate, and sleep tracking with online security features that protect the wearer's online identity. The ring packs functionality in a new waterproof, jewelry-style finish.
The ring automatically measures metrics and tracks activity progress. It detects when you fall asleep and when you wake up in the morning thanks to sensors incorporated directly into the ring. Tracking the Active Heart Rate gives a clear idea of the benefits and health impact of your favorite workouts. This helps prevent heart disease and stroke, and improves cardiovascular health.
Motiv Ring adjusts daily targets based on personal progress toward a weekly goal. Made of lightweight titanium, waterproof, and with a three-day battery life, the ring can be charged in just 90 minutes. The companion application is available on iOS and Android.
Bellabeat Leaf (all-in-one pendant, broach, bracelet)
Bellabeat, a Silicon Valley-based company building technology-powered wellness products for women, is behind the Leaf health tracking smart jewelry for women and Spring; the first smart water bottle powered by Artificial Intelligence. Leaf was selected as one of the best mobile products of 2015, according to Digital Trends.
Leaf is a beautiful piece of smart jewelry that comes in several versions. This is a wellness product that you want to wear at all times, which is why this fashionable wearable device for activity, sleep, and wellness-tracking was especially designed for women.
The Leaf incorporates reproductive cycle tracking, meditation and breathing exercises, and other interesting features. It even counts with several discreet alarms. The Leaf syncs with the companion application by tapping twice on it.
Withings invented the first hybrid smartwatch in 2014, in response to a need to support tracking activity and varying sleep patterns — without sacrificing the elegant-looking wearability. As a hybrid watch, it fuses regular mechanical clockwork with the processing power of a smartwatch.
According to Withings, the company's latest product — called the ScanWatch — is the world’s first and only clinically-tested watch that features a combined heart rate and SpO2 sensor, three electrodes, an altimeter, and PmoLED screen. Everything is packed inside a premium water-resistant stainless-steel case, encased in sapphire glass. It even sports a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 30 days.
Having a ScanWatch is like having a mini-doctor attached to one's wrist. It is like having a continuous, EKG heart-scan that alerts users to irregular heartbeat. It detects sleep apnea, and tracks other in-depth activity, including regular sleeping patterns — all seamlessly synced to apps for both iOS and Android.
ScanWatch was made to help users reach their health goals, share valuable information with their doctors, and enjoy a durable, easy-to-use watch that complements real life. The Electrocardiogram detects atrial fibrillation, normal heart rhythm, and even monitors low and high heart rates 30 seconds flat.
It checks heart rate and receives heart health notifications when the heart rate is atypical (either too low or too high). It detects if irregular rhythms are detected such as sleep apnea, and monitors oxygen saturation all night long via the embedded SpO2 sensor to see how many apneic episodes occurred through the night.
The ScanWatch has a dedicated workout metrics, fitness level via VO2 max, and connected GPS. It also features elevation as well as water-resistance down to 50 meters, all packed into one durable design. It has a combined heart rate and SpO2 sensor, three electrodes, an altimeter, and a PmoLED screen, with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 30 days.
Apple Watch Series 5
Without a doubt, everyone would agree that classic is classic. And, in the smart wearable space, there is nothing more classic than the Apple Watch. Since the first generation was first launched on April 24, 2015, the Apple Watch has remained on-market as one of the most widely-adopted wearable devices by global consumers. The customizable Apple Watch Series 5 has a new always-on Retina display and added new features.
One cool feature is the new Noise app that alerts you when decibels rise to levels threaten your hearing (if good hearing is a priority). Another new addition is the Cycle Tracking app, which allows women to log and track menstrual cycles. For fitness enthusiasts, the advanced workout metrics, GPS, and water resistance of 50 meters makes the Apple Watch ideal for a wide variety of exercises. The Activity Rings motivate you to do more exercise, and you can even challenge a friend — if you're up for the challenge.
Your entire Apple Music library, podcasts, and audiobooks go with you when you exercise, of course. If hiking is your thing, the compass and ground elevation are a lifesaver for those of us with little-to-no sense of direction. The entire App Store is now on your wrist, ready for updates or new downloads; you will go too far to download the next cool app you just learned about.
Of course, this Watch doubles as a mini-iPhone for those wild calls that come while you are surfing, or skiing down the slopes. You may even ditch your credit card and wallet, because you can pay for your morning coffee with Apple Pay, straight from your Watch. What is there not to love about the Apple Watch Series 5? It is worth every penny. But it is important to remember to buy smart — keeping individual preference, budget, or both, in mind.
The best recommendation when trying to purchase a wearable smart device is to choose what is best for your personal needs, so you can finally realize your fitness and wellness goals.
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