“Fitbit, Apple, and Samsung have defined what a wearable can do, and I believe Movano, Oura, and other companies will begin to redefine that over time.”
Stacy Salvi claims that this is the case. She is the Vice President of Strategy at Movano, a health-focused technology company, and has seen firsthand how wearables have evolved, having recently left Fitbit after 15 years. In an interview with Digital Trends, she discussed how smart jewelry, in particular advances in sensor technology, will propel wearables forward in the near future.
“I believe the role of the wearable is evolving,” Salvi explained. “What we want it for and how we intend to use it is only now becoming clear.” We’re still in the early stages, but wearables are providing real health benefits. And as [health tracking] technology improves, [wearables] will take on new meaning. The way we think about utility and experience will change as they evolve.”
Salvi’s experience with one of the most well-known wearable technology brands provides her with a strong understanding of the industry, but she began her journey in the world of wearables in an unusual way.
Because she was so closely associated with the wearable tech space, she paid close attention to what was happening with wearables in the real world, and it was here that she saw things changing.
This preference shift has persisted. Fitbit’s smartwatch market share fell from 4.1 percent to 2.7 percent between the beginning of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, while the Apple Watch remained the market leader with around 36 percent.
Movano, on the other hand, does not compete directly with Apple, Fitbit, or any other smartwatch manufacturer. Its first product will be a smart ring aimed at women, and Salvi explained why smart jewelry in general demonstrates wearable evolution.
Salvi was drawn to Movano because of its work in chip technology. In May, Movano announced that it had successfully built its own, in-house system-on-a-chip (SoC) ready for the upcoming smart ring. Unlike most wearables today, the chip employs Radio Frequency (RF) technology rather than an optical sensor. According to the company, this has several key advantages, including the signal being unaffected by skin pigmentation or bone, as well as the ability to monitor blood pressure and blood glucose levels non-invasively.
Aside from the technology, design on a piece of smart jewelry is arguably just as important as it is on a smartwatch.
Movano’s smart ring technology and design are just the beginning. Salvi repeatedly mentioned the importance of the overall user experience during our conversation. Her understanding of how to create “a unique, thoughtful, and valuable user experience” began while working at Fitbit with Google.
Rather than simply displaying the data, Movano intends for its platform to connect it to specific insights, ensuring that there is always a link between daily health events and the wearer. Movano’s commitment to making the smart ring a compelling product for women runs parallel to the user experience.
Movano values personal privacy. The company was founded on the core belief that good health is a fundamental human right, including a woman’s right to choose, according to a general statement posted on the brand’s Instagram page. Salvi elaborated: “During CES 2022, Movano revealed its smart ring, currently known simply as the Movano Ring.” However, the company has been in operation since 2018. The Movano Ring is aimed at consumers, but it goes beyond fitness tracking wearables with medical-grade technology and an ambitious array of data points such as heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), body temperature, blood oxygen levels, and potentially blood glucose and blood pressure levels as well.
The ring is currently being beta tested, and the company is working to obtain FDA clearance, which is required for medical-grade equipment sold in the United States. The Movano Ring, according to Salvi, will be available in the first half of 2023. The Oura Ring, which is aimed at both men and women, and the soon-to-be-released Circular smart ring are its main competitors at the moment.