Oura introduces new social options and sleep options to the well being tracker market

Oura, the company behind the smart ring that allows users to track a variety of biometrics, is adding new features centered around social sharing and sleep tracking amid the battle between tech companies to put trackers on consumers’ wrists and fingers install and keep, proceeds.

With the company’s new community sharing feature, which it’s calling “Circles,” ring wearers can create private groups where they can share readiness, sleep, and activity metrics.

Oura CEO Tom Hale said the feature isn’t about competition like other fitness tracking devices or platforms might be, but about “support and empathy.”

“It’s really about sharing your data, your results, your willingness, your sleep with your close, trusted friends, your family, your trainer, your doctor; maybe it’s a husband checking on his wife, or maybe it’s your team collecting the data and comparing it to each other,” Hale told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on Thursday’s Squawk Box show.

Hale noted that shared data “is only shared with the people you choose to share it with. It’s not like a social feature where you post your results on Twitter, although, honestly, some people do.”

“This is about creating a small, intimate group with empathy and support,” he said.

A close-up of Oura’s Gen3 Horizon ring and its sensors.


The additional feature comes at a time when “chronic loneliness represents a public health crisis,” Hale said, adding that sharing this dataset could help create “a physiological dataset that will allow you to understand if someone is really having a bad day.” “You’re not just saying it; their body is telling them.”

This also comes at a time when the race between technology companies to add more features and functionality to their wearable devices is increasing as consumers focus more on the health and exercise measurements that make these devices stand out.

At AppleAt the 2023 Global Developers Conference earlier this week, the company announced several new health-related features for the Apple Watch, including mental and visual health tracking, and new cycling and walking capabilities. This builds on features added to the Apple Watch 8 last fall, including a new temperature sensor that better tracks sleep metrics.

Samsung has also added new temperature sensors to its Galaxy watch to monitor sleep too, and Garmin and alphabetFitbit has also improved the sleep and standby functions of its devices.

Oura, which entered the wearables market primarily as a sleep tracker, is launching a new sleep staging algorithm that the company says is 79% related to polysomnography — measuring brain waves, blood oxygen levels, and heart rate – matches and breathing during sleep, as well as eye and leg movements – for the 4-stage sleep classification, which includes waking, light, deep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

Hale said the improved algorithm is “the largest sleep dataset in existence.”

By tracking these different stages, the Oura app offers a variety of results and opportunities for improvement.

“It’s not just about the quantity of sleep, it’s also about the quality of sleep, and that’s going to make a difference in how you perceive it,” Hale said.

Oura, a two-time CNBC Disruptor 50 company and ranked #33 on the 2023 list, has been trying to get its rings into more hands through additional features and a variety of partnerships. Last year, Oura partnered with Gucci for a $950 luxury version of his ring and recently announced a deal with Best Buy. This is the first large-scale retail partnership based in the United States, with the rings being sold in more than 850 stores nationwide. An employer-focused wellness division was also launched in February, aiming to work with corporations, schools, sports organizations and the military on employee health goals.

The millionth ring was sold in March 2022, the last time a sales figure was given.

Comments are closed.