May 25, 2022

We here in the hardware world love big round numbers. Collecting a million of something is an impressive feat, not to mention a $399 smart ring. It’s too soon to assume that Oura has changed the wearable space forever, but at a time when things have settled down around the smartwatch form factor – and niche smartwatches in particular – it’s worth noting when startups kick in. shake.

It’s safe to say that Oura has been one of the startups that managed to bounce back from the pandemic, despite the hefty price tag. The device is not so much an active fitness tracker as a health monitor. With significant tracking and a low-profile form factor, the company has made deals with a range of sports leagues, from the NBA to NASCAR. There are some high end fingers that you want to get your product on.

These partnerships went well, with some research into things like built-in product temperature measurement. In late 2020, the journal Nature published a study titled “The Possibility of Continuous Fever Monitoring with a Wearable Device” describing how the device could be used to detect changes in body temperature and potentially COVID could detect infection at an early stage.

The company also used today’s news to highlight the device’s sleep tracking – something that many of us have no doubt spent a lot of time on, two years after the pandemic changed the world and our ability to sleep through the night.

“Ora was the first sleep-focused wearable because we knew from day one how much it affects other aspects of our health,” COO Michael Chappe said in a blog post. “And what we measure, we can improve. Research shows a direct link between chronic sleep deprivation and disease. Good sleep improves almost every aspect of life, including immunity, performance, and mental health.

Oura was not the first smart ring and will not be the last. It has been surpassed by Motiv, though that company has largely remained silent (a hard time to say the least) since moving from health tracking to biometrics in the midst of a pandemic. Companies like Movano and Circular have since teamed up, hoping to generate new interest in a form factor that didn’t initially catch on (I’m still in the ring, by the way. I’m not a man). Google-owned Fitbit is rumored to be working on its own ring, according to a recent discovery of some published patents.

Oura also received negative reviews. As I mentioned in the mostly positive Ring 3 review, the company has recently moved some key metrics towards monthly subscription payments. Some find it hard to swallow this pill after the high upfront cost of equipment. However – at least for now – such resistance is not leading to sustainable growth thanks to good reviews and publicity.

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