2015 was the year of the smart ring. Many of us who have been intimate with the likes of Neyya, Oura, Vinaya, Ringly and Moodmetric, have accepted that this nifty device will never overshadow smartwatches and smart bands. This is mainly due to the limited compact size of the ring. So why did analysts recently forecast that between the period of 2017 to 2021, global smart rings market will grow at a CAGR of 10.16%?
The majority of smart rings are designed to only give notifications of calls and messages. The downfall of this basic convenience is that the no thrills technology does not hold our interest for very long. Realising this, the next generation of smart rings like the second-gen NFC ring could be the key to adoption. Crowdfunded on Kickstarter, second-gen NFC ring can be used to unlock smartphones and smart door locks. Another type of smart ring that could hold the attention of consumers could be the near-field communication (NFC)-enabled smart rings, like Kerv, a contactless payment ring designed to be used for direct payment. With only had a small contribution to the market growth in 2016, the report stated that in 2016 NFC-enabled smart rings accounted for only 31.6% of the overall market.
When we took a closer look at the report by Research and Markets, we were presented with the growth prospects of the global smart rings. Using a combination of primary and secondary information including inputs from key participants in the industry, the analysts considered wearable rings that can be technologically integrated or connected to smart devices. The report recognised brands like Oura, Jakcom, Logbar, Mota, NFC Ring, Ringly, Nimb and TheTouch X as key leaders in this field. In doing so they had input from industry experts and took into account the market size and divided it based on geography.
Covering the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years, the report not only looked at key vendors operating in the market, they also explored market drivers such as advances in technology and miniature electronic components. The report brought to our attention market challenges that have slowed down adoption like low participation from leading consumer electronic device manufacturers and the bulky design of the smart ring wearables that put off consumers who are preferring wrist wear devices over smart rings due to their form factor and having better functionalities.
On the report an analyst from the research team shared, “One trend in market is investments by crowdfunding campaigns and venture capitalists. The prominent vendors in the global smart rings market are startups. There is high support in terms of investments through crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Startups like Ringly raised over $100,000 in preorder sales during their launch in 2014. Soon after it secured $5.1 million in series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz along with Highline Ventures, Silas Capital, First Round Capital, Social Capital, MESA+, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures and PCH International. The startup NFC Ring, founded by John Mclear in 2013, had raised funds of $266,367 through online crowdfunding platforms. The Kerv ring by a startup called Kerv Wearables had raised $121,471 in October 2015 from an online crowdfunding platform called Kickstarter.”
Addressing key points like market trends, challenges to market growth, market opportunities, threats, strengths and weaknesses, the findings in the report confirm that the smart ring is still finding its way through the wearable jungle. I think that for a smart ring to be adopted by consumers it needs to try not to be a smart watch. Instead it needs to simply be a ring with the kind of seamless technology that makes it stand out from other tech accessories for the right reasons.