Connected watches and bracelets are no longer offered. Against them, another type of wearable is trying to win: the smart ring. What is a connected ring? How it works ? what is the point ? explanations.
The smart watch market is booming. The latest studies from Counterpoint Research Institute show 13% growth in smartwatch shipments in the first quarter of 2022, despite the slowdown in the consumer electronics world. With the Apple Watch, the world’s best-selling smartwatch, Apple collects more than a third of sales.
In addition to connected watches, most manufacturers also offer connected bracelets. More focused on sports monitoring, it is generally less complete than smart watches, especially in the field of health monitoring.
The connected ring is still emerging, trying to find its place in the sun for portable connected objects, but it is still struggling to find its way into this market as technologies are increasingly developing. Because of its compactness, the miniaturization challenge is important to manufacturers, who can be quickly restricted in their proposals.
What do you expect from a connected loop?
Like smart watches, there is no typical function specific to smart rings. It all comes together around a ring-shaped design and thus is worn like… a ring. Appreciation is their true asset. It is also aimed at those who do not wish to wear a watch or who prefer traditional needle-equipped models, devoid of any attached function.
To date, there are two main classes of connected loops. The first is intended for controlling a smartphone or a connected object. It can, for example, alert the cardholder when he receives a message or notification, help enter a text message, open an electronic lock or act as a contactless payment method – limited to 50 euros in France, as with a credit card. In the latter case, the system can be similar to, for example, Apple Pay, and then NFC technology is required.
The second Smart Ring family certainly represents the future of the connected ring. It closely approximates the functionality offered by a smartwatch, with health and activity tracking. More complete models integrate multiple sensors responsible for measuring heart rate, SpO2Or breathing or even the level of physical activity that is done, but they are deprived of the functions of a smart home.
A market that is still emerging, led by three major brands
The number of players already in this market segment is limited.
France’s ICARE Technologies won the Lépine competition in 2021 with its first connected Aeklys One ring, designed in partnership with industrial designer Philip Starck. Far from being oriented towards luxury, it is a practical accessory that allows you to pay offline, unlock connected Elocky locks, buy transport tickets (many French cities offer this service) or even send a digital business card. Regarding the payment function, the downside should be noted, because it does not work on any account. You have to create a specific account, then recharge it regularly.
Its design is discreet and light as it weighs only 5 grams. It is IP57 certified and therefore resistant to dust and immersion in clean water at a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. This ring is marketed at 49 € with a subscription of 9.90 € per month (no commitment) or free provided that you subscribe to the offer for more than 12 months at a total price of 99 € or even more than 24 months at a total price of 169 €. However, the limited number of its partnerships may hinder its development.
Aside from this small shot, before the manufacturers of smartphones and other smartwatches start (or not), the market could be led by three innovative manufacturers: Oura, Circular and Movano. They want to make these things real alternatives to smartwatches.
Ora Ring 3
Oura is the most famous brand. It just launched the third generation Smart Ring, and it’s a relatively complete connected ring. Measures your heart rate at rest, during exercise and while sleeping2The skin temperature analyzes sleep quality and level of physical activity as well as recovery. Finally, it tracks your menstrual cycles.
All these features are enabled by infrared LED sensors, gyroscope, accelerometer and temperature sensor. All data can be consulted from the dedicated application, which also offers personalized recommendations. It weighs, according to Oura, only 4 to 6 grams depending on model size, and provides between 4 and 7 days of autonomy. Water-resistant to 100 metres, it’s also compatible with Apple Health and Google Fit. Oura Ring 3 is available at the price of 419 euros with a monthly subscription of 5.99 euros.
This model designed by French startup Circular was unveiled at CES 2022 in Las Vegas. It weighs only 4 grams and offers the same functions as the Oura 3 ring. In the program, the wearer can keep track of their heart rate, fluctuations, pulse, energy level and SpO2Or their breathing rate, skin temperature, or level of physical activity. Sleep monitoring is also offered with the analysis of different phases. It takes into account cardio-respiratory monitoring for possible sleep apnea. It intends to differentiate itself by interpreting health and sports data, as well as the adjacent advice it offers via the app. The manufacturer declares it an autonomy of four days. Finally, it is water resistant to a depth of 5 metres. The publication was recently available at a price of €264.
This connected ring was also revealed at CES 2022. With its sleeker, more detailed design than the classic ring, it provides sleep monitoring, and measures heart rate, heart rate variability, body temperature, respiration, and SpO2As well as the level of physical activity. It is not available for sale yet. The manufacturer did not specify a release date or price.
Gradually, new players can impose themselves on this market that is still emerging from the connected rings. Apple will also work on such a project and file patents in this direction. However, it is too early to conclude that it will actually launch a smart ring.
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