Admittedly, we’ve been a little harsh with regards to the wearables market. It’s a product category that, in our opinion, hasn’t lived up to the hype that manufacturers and industry analysts created over the past several years. For the most part, these connected tech products center around a wrist-based device that connects to some app and tracks something—whether it’s steps, heart rate, distance, or something along those lines.
The problem we’ve had with the market is that, after Fitbit and Apple, it’s all just a bunch of noise. Wearables has become an oversaturated category, and consumers are left underwhelmed. And, beyond that, there are plenty of concerns that have come up over privacy, security, and even the accuracy of some of the top wearables out there.
But then CE Week 2017 happened.
I’m not quite ready to give in and admit that wearables have fully turned around as a market. But manufacturers in this space are certainly turning the ship in the right direction. And they’re doing that by rethinking and reimagining the design of their products. We’re finally starting to move beyond the wrist. In fact, a few manufacturers at CE Week showed us how they plan to go right to the source of what it is they’re trying to track.
In short, they proved to us that innovation is still possible in this market.
One day we’ll look back at the smartwatch and laugh at the fact that we used a device strapped to our wrist to track steps. Why were we relying on a product that’s placed closer to our hands than our feet to track the amount of steps we take? Makes no sense.
That’s one of the questions MEGAComfort set out to answer with its new Energysole product, which is powered by its MEGASteps technology. Designed as an insert into the user’s shoe, Energysole can measure and analyze activity at the literal point of contact: their feet. Sensors in the product can generate step-by-step performance data that is transmitted to the MEGASteps app in real-time. Data tracked includes steps, calories burned, level of activity, and distance traveled by foot.
On top of the connected functionalities, Energysoles are designed with 100 percent dual-layer memory foam that is “clinically designed” to reduce pain and fatigue. So, not only are you getting all of that smart tracking information with the added benefit of a product that makes it more comfortable to walk.
REM-FIT ZEEQ Smart Pillow
Though it doesn’t exactly qualify as a wearable, the REM-FIT ZEEQ Smart Pillow can perform all of the same functions as other devices that fall into this category. Rather than use sensors baked into a wrist-based device, or even those sensors that you slide under the mattress, REM-FIT packed it all into the very product that we lay our heads on every night.
But the ZEEQ Smart Pillow does far more than just analyze sleep. This thing has all kinds of crazy features including Bluetooth for streaming audio to the pillow for a personal listening experience, a music sleep timer, a partner-friendly alarm, two-week battery life, and anti-snoring technology.
With that latter feature, how it works is the pillow will detect snoring through a built-in microphone and respond by gently vibrating the pillow to encourage the user to change positions without waking them up.
Further, the ZEEQ Smart Pillow has smart home compatibility with services like IFTTT and Amazon Alexa. With IFTTT, for example, hitting the Start Sleep button in the ZEEP app will automatically put your smart home into night mode, dimming lights, locking doors, and lowering the air to the ideal sleep temperature. The opposite happens in the morning when the Stop Sleep button is hit.
These are just a couple of examples of companies with vastly different takes on the connected tech and wearables market. And their innovations—both of which were recognized in the Best in Show awards program—are perfect examples of how you can innovate in a market that’s gone stale.