Oura ring is unlocking the secrets of sleep

by The One Centre

2

October, 2019

2nd October 2019

The Oura ring is packed with bio-hacking sensors designed to optimise deep sleep.

Oura Health launched in Finland after realising that many people aren’t getting enough sleep. And it’s killing us. A lack of sleep is linked to higher rates of chronic illness, dementia, obesity, cancer and heart attacks.

To address the problem, Oura designed the world’s first wearable ring that offers “circadian rhythm guidance”. It’s part of a far bigger movement: the world is moving from a culture that brags about busyness to one that craves sleep – and we’ll pay luxury price tags to get more of it.

As neuroscientist Matthew Walker told an audience at TED Vancouver this year, “The decimation of sleep throughout industrialized nations is having a catastrophic impact on our health, our wellness, even the safety and education of our children … It’s time to stop thinking that needing sleep is a sign of weakness or laziness. In fact, it’s the opposite.”

Oura believes “great days start with good sleep” and that once you understand your own circadian rhythm, you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

Petteri Lahtela, Co-Founder of Oura, says it wasn’t easy attracting investors who understood the company’s mission. “It was really hard to find investors who were also driven by something else other than money. Our mission from day one has been to create a lasting impact by empowering individuals to learn how their bodies respond to their lifestyles.

“It became a huge challenge to find the people who both understood where we were going and how we planned to get there. In particular, it was a fight to convince people that we had the competences needed to blend science, technology and design into a beautiful, valuable solution,” he told Nordic Business Report.

“It was hard to find investors who were driven by something other than money.”

The first Oura ring was unveiled in 2015 via a Kickstarter campaign that raised USD$650,000. It won CES 2016 Best of Innovation, which helped the company raise millions in seed funding.

The next iteration, Oura 2.0, launched in 2018. It is far more elegant with infrared sensors that collect incredibly precise data from your finger’s arteries. The ring can even tell when you’ve drunk too much, leading to positive behaviour change.

Within two months of unveiling Oura 2.0, the company received nearly 20,000 pre-orders, despite costing between US$299 and US$999. By December 2018, Oura had sold 55,000 rings to users in over 100 countries. Today, it has raised USD$20+ million and tracked over 10 million nights of sleep along the way.

Oura is also endorsed by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, worn by Prince Harry, and names celebrities like YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, Shaquille O’Neil, Lance Armstrong and Will Smith among its investors.

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Oura’s sophisticated design and user experience are key to its success. Not only is the Oura ring impossibly light and slender, but the app that accompanies it also speaks “the visual language of a premium product”.

The Oura ring tracks heart rate and body temperature, but it’s the Oura app that makes this data digestible. It delivers beautiful data visualisations like night-time heart rate variability curves, average nocturnal respiratory rates, while a sleep tracking dashboard breaks down daily, weekly and monthly sleep habits.

“Oura speaks the visual language of a premium product.”

The app gets smarter the longer you use it, using machine learning to recommend optimal times for sleeping, eating, relaxing and performing.

Oura is now demystifying the art of meditation, launching a new feature called Moment in May 2019. Moment tracks heart rate variability while meditating, which is a key indicator of stress.

We’re in the midst of a looming sleep crisis here in Australia, too.

One in four Australians are getting less than the recommended seven or eight hours sleep per night, according to YouGov research. It’s costing us dearly. A 2017 report from Deloitte Access Economics calculated that the direct financial cost of poor sleep health is estimated to be $26.2 billion annually.

As more people realise that sleep and good health are inextricably linked, start-ups like Oura will continue to thrive. The average person spends around 26 years of their life sleeping, and according to Oura, that’s time well spent.

Why It Matters

– Oura is tapping into the wearable health tech craze, a market that’s projected to be worth USD$22 billion by 2022

– Wearable health tech is part of the bigger USD$4.2 trillion global wellness market

– Technology is partly to blame for our looming sleep crisis: 42% of Australians surveyed by Central Queensland University in 2017 admitted to using an electronic device in bed

– Yet technology is also providing a solution to sleeplessness, encroaching on big pharma’s dominance of the market via sleeping pills

– According to Fast Company, we’re living in “the golden age of sleep science” as more start-ups look to combat the catastrophic impacts of sleep deprivation

– This trend will have wide repercussions: think nap rooms at work, and fewer demands on staff outside work hours

– Oura also taps into the bio-hacking trend of ‘hacking’ our bodies by implanting chips, taking supplements and tracking health data with the goal of optimising health and living longer – maybe forever.

Credits

Article By: The One Centre
Ideas and innovation company
Twitter @onecentregroup

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