In an interview published by Tech Crunch, Oura’s new director, Tom Hale, talks about connected rings, an alternative to watches and activity sensors. It is also an opportunity to take stock of the choices made by society and its future.
During the interview, Oura’s general manager revealed a strange detail. In fact, in addition to a connected ring (which is not surprising), he wore an Apple Watch on his wrist. An unexpected combination that now seems almost natural to the leader and is confirmed by the fact that 30% of users would be in the same case according to Oura.
This contrast makes the difference between the expectations of the team that designs the product and the way the public takes it. Oura was intended to be an alternative to fitness equipment in a less bulky version, it turns out that for many it complements a connected watch.
Discreet but impressive growth
When it comes to activity trackers, it’s hard not to think about the well-stocked market of wrist-bearing devices. However, despite much lower visibility, Oura managed to make a name for herself and announced last month that she had sold her millionth ring.
A success that the company owes to its former boss, Harpreet Singh Rai, a true follower of the product who came to the helm of the company in 2018 and announced his departure after three years of activity, but also in various health studies and associations with the NBA and NASCAR.
Software at the heart of the future
The new CEO, Tom Hale, brings with him his experience in the field of software, having held many positions within companies such as Adobe, HomeAway, Momentive AI and Linden Labs (producer of Second Life), in a context where the company is increasingly interested in data collection.
During the interview, he highlighted the importance of continuous data to extend the impact of wearables beyond sleep analysis, an aspect that focuses on French competition with the Circular ring, designed to replace wristbands more voluminous.
According to Hale, hardware is the catalyst for software to become the key to tracking user health. His project for the company is to allow people to better control the data collected by discrete devices in order to personalize their health journey. This mission cannot be achieved without data science and minimal investment in the field.
Hardware as a service
This need for data processing led the company to make a decision that slowed growth. In fact, the company promised more detailed information through its app, but moved some available data to a monthly subscription.
If the idea is to offer a full software service, Hale admits that the company made a miscalculation by placing in a subscription information that users thought they could get directly by paying for a device at full price (around $ 300 ). To make up for that, the boss says he will certainly offer services that were planned for the next generation of devices.
Precisely for this third generation, the company is considering a HaaS model, thus offering the device at a reduced cost in combination with a monthly subscription. The physical accessory would therefore be an element that carries a health offer more than the product itself.
To close the chapter on the future of the company, Hale also focused on a possible IPO, but clarifying that they are not building “this company to go public, we are building this company to impact the world of health and put the preventive medicine in the hands “. of the people who can improve their lives through it ”. Therefore, the operation is not planned for the near future.