Hooraythe company behind a smart ring that lets users track a variety of biometrics is adding new social sharing and sleep tracking features as the battle between tech companies to land and keep trackers on consumers’ wrists and fingers continues.
The company’s new community sharing feature, which it calls Circles, allows ring wearers to create private groups where they can share readiness, sleep and activity scores.
Oura CEO Tom Hale said the feature isn’t about competition like other trackers or more fitness-focused platforms might offer, but instead about “support and empathy.”
“It’s really about sharing your data, your scores, your fitness, your sleep, with your loved ones, your close friends, your family, your coach, your doctor; maybe it’s the husband checking the wife, or maybe it’s your team collecting the data and comparing the data. each other,” Hale told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on “Squawk Box” on Thursday.
Hale noted that shared data is “only shared with the people you want to share it with. It’s not like a social feature where you post your score on Twitter, although frankly, some people do.”
“It’s about creating a small, intimate group of empathy and support,” he said.
A close-up of the Oura Gen3 Horizon ring and its sensors.
The added feature comes at a time when “chronic loneliness is a public health crisis,” Hale said, adding that sharing this data set could help “create a physiological data set that allows you to understand if someone is having a really bad day.” “They don’t just say it, their body tells them.
It also comes as the race among tech companies to beef up their wearables with more features and functionality is growing as consumers focus more on the health and exercise metrics these devices emphasize.
On Apple2023 Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this week, the company announced several new health-related features for Apple Watch, including mental and vision health tracking features and new cycling and hiking options. This builds on features that were added to the Apple Watch 8 last fall, which included a new temperature sensor that better tracks sleep metrics.
Samsung has also added new temperature sensors to its Galaxy Watch, which also tracks sleep, and Garmin and AlphabetFitbit has also improved their device’s sleep and alertness capabilities.
Oura, which has broken into the wearables market largely as a sleep tracker, is introducing a new sleep-tracking algorithm that the company says is 79 percent consistent with polysomnography — measurements of brain waves, blood oxygen levels and heart rate. and breathing during sleep, as well as eye and leg movements—for a 4-stage sleep classification that includes awake, light, deep, and REM sleep.
Hale said the improved algorithm is “the largest sleep data set in existence.”
By tracking these different stages, the Oura app provides a range of scores and areas for improvement.
“It’s not just the quantity of sleep, but the quality and quality of sleep, and that changes your cognition,” Hale said.
Oura, a two-time CNBC Disruptor 50 ranked company No. 33 on list 2023, has been trying to get its rings into more hands through added features and various partnerships. Last year, Oura teamed up with Gucci for a $950 luxury version of the ring and recently announced the deal Best buy to be its first major US-based retail partnership, placing its rings in more than 850 stores nationwide. It also launched an employer-focused wellness arm in February to work with companies, schools, sports organizations and the military on health goals for their employees.
It sold its millionth ring in March 2022, the last time it provided a unit sales figure.