Smart Rings: The Next Breakthrough in Wearables?

Smart Rings The Next Breakthrough in Wearables

Smart rings might give smartwatches a run for their popularity, offering a massive punch in a much smaller package.

From fitness bands to smart glasses—the rapidly evolving world of wearable tech witnessed remarkable advancements. Each step in this journey has brought us closer to integrating technology seamlessly into our lives, enhancing convenience and connectivity. And now, a new contender emerges on the horizon of wearable innovation: the smart ring.

Imagine a compact computer that you can wear on your finger—that’s the essence of a smart rings. Don’t be deceived by their petite stature; these devices are remarkably durable and equipped with various sensors, allowing them to track sleep, health and activity, similar to larger wearables.

Smart rings use wireless protocols like Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) to link with smartphones. The sensors gather data, which is then sent to an app on the connected device. Depending on the ring’s purpose, this data can include heart rate and sleep patterns or even hand gestures for controlling smart home gadgets. Take the Orii smart ring, for instance, which lets you turn off lights with a quick finger gesture. It even includes a built-in microphone for whisper-quiet control of other devices.

Many models now also offer a range of features that extend beyond health and fitness. From providing notifications and enabling remote control of smart devices to facilitating contactless payments and digital identity management, smart rings are indispensable companions in our tech-infused lifestyles.

The perfect blend of precision and comfort

The appeal of smart rings lies in their ability to seamlessly merge fashion with cutting-edge technology, thus making them a popular and innovative choice when it comes to wearables. With their trendsetting design and advanced functionality, these rings offer a unique and stylish way to stay connected and on top of your daily tasks.

Talking about the advantages of smart rings, they are known for their precise data collection due to their unique form factor. The human finger has more arteries and capillaries than the wrist, allowing for more comprehensive data collection. Smart rings are also not exposed to as much natural light as smartwatches, resulting in better data tracking. Noninvasive measurements can be less accurate due to factors like light and poor contact with the sensor. 

Achieving the same level of accuracy with wrist-worn fitness trackers requires wearing them tightly, which can be uncomfortable for some users. Moreover, If you prioritize comfort, consider the design of a smart ring for longer use. Wrist-worn activity trackers may be restrictive for sleep monitoring.

The growing popularity of smart rings

In 2022, the worldwide smart rings market was valued at approximately US$125.60 million. By the end of 2030, this figure is set to grow significantly to around US$747.41 million, driven by a notable compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.8 percent from 2023 to 2030.

A key factor driving smart ring market growth is the increasing use of wearable tech for payments. Many of us now just use our smartwatches to pay for a cup of coffee or even groceries. As contactless payments gain traction, industry players—from retailers to restaurants—are enabling payments via wearable devices. 

Moreover, smart rings are technological companions, empowering smartphone users to store and exchange data like images, contacts, videos and more. The surging health awareness is also boosting the smart jewelry sector. 

As the wearables market progresses, the seamless blend of fashion, technology and utility will establish the smart ring as a driving force for transformation within the wearables landscape.

Leading players in the smart rings segment

The market for wearable technology has been experiencing a surge in competition among companies specializing in smart rings. Brands like Oura and Movano have successfully disrupted the wearables market with their smart rings. 

Oura, in particular, has achieved a significant milestone by selling its millionth Oura Ring in 2022, solidifying its position as a global force in the wearable tech space. On the other hand, Movano unveiled the Movano Evie, a medical-grade smart ring for women, at CES 2023 tech show in Las Vegas. The ring, which will be released in September 2023, tracks a person’s heart rate, SpO2 levels, respiration rate, period and ovulation, activity, sleep and mood. 

Adding to the competition is the renowned brand Samsung, which is launching its smart ring, Galaxy Ring. Samsung is teaming up with Japanese tech company Meiko to incorporate circuit boards into this ring. 

The Galaxy Ring may feature health-monitoring sensors that transmit data to the wearer’s smartphone, similar to the Oura Ring. However, precise fine-tuning is necessary for reliable functionality. The ring does not have a release date yet as it is still in the prototyping stage.

In addition to well-established global brands, Indian companies like BoAt and Noise are venturing into the smart ring market to compete against industry giants like Apple, Samsung and Huawei. In July 2023, BoAt unveiled a preview for its upcoming smart ring, while Noise has introduced the Luna Ring—a smart ring designed to monitor your health metrics.

Challenges for adoption of smart rings

The emergence of smart rings has marked a significant milestone in the technology industry. However, the future of these devices remains uncertain and is highly dependent on various factors. One of the critical factors that affect the adoption rate of smart rings is their design and aesthetics. Unlike smartwatches, which come in various sizes and designs, smart rings require a specific size that fits the user’s finger, and that’s not the easiest feat for companies.

Another factor that affects the adoption rate of smart rings is their limited functionality compared to other wearable devices. Smartwatches offer a more comprehensive set of features, including voice assistants, music streaming and app integration. Manufacturers need to overcome this challenge by improving the functionality of smart rings and providing a more versatile experience. Only time will tell whether smart rings will truly thrive as a groundbreaking trend or face the fate as a fleeting technological experiment.

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Header image courtesy of Oura

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