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March 19, 2012, 6:56 a.m.
Jonathan Collins Principal Analyst
HypnoCore Ltd has launched a consumer focused analysis application under the name SleepRate that highlights ongoing disintermediation between wearable devices and the applications that leverage them.
Tel Aviv based HypnoCore Ltd was founded to commercialize a sleep monitoring application for professional healthcare use. Now it is extending its application and algorithms that convert heart rate measurement into an analysis of sleep patterns for the consumer market. Consumer sleep monitoring is not new, but the SleepRate subscription service stands out as it plans to leverage existing, and more importantly third party devices, to collect and share the data. Existing approaches have tied the data analysis to their own devices or vice versa.
Sports heart rate monitors have been available for years from players such as Polar or Garmin and they are usually in chest or arm straps. The devices collect heart rate data and transmit it wirelessly to a gateway or display/storage device. There are millions of heart rate monitors being used around the world as athletes and keen sports and fitness participants look to better monitor and understand their performance. SleepRate hopes to leverage that existing user base by extending the usefulness of these devices currently used for a few hours during exercise to make them useful all night as well.
While online sports and fitness applications have been competing to provide analysis of GPS and other performance data from a range of sports devices from competing hardware vendors, existing consumer sleep monitoring offerings have seen the analysis software and the wearable device tied together in a single offering. That has companies having to seed the market with devices to make use of their monitoring algorithms or developing monitoring algorithms to improve the usefulness of their devices. SleepRate’s confidence in leveraging devices from other players is driven by the awareness that the market for wearable sports and fitness devices is set to boom as standardized wearable device connectivity is embedded in millions of new phones, device pricing declines and a wave of new applications and services come to market. Sleep monitoring is one of the many markets that will expand from a small niche as these devices become available and affordable.
Just as we have seen in countless technology markets before from the largest computer systems to mobile phones there is emerging a split between the hardware and the software that leverages it. The same disintermediation is increasingly moving to wearable wireless devices as the market increasingly supports standardized data profiles and standardized protocols to transmit that data. Delivering just the application provides SleepRate with the potential to enter the market based around its software without the need to develop and market hardware. It also brings the potential for partnering with existing and emerging device players looking to enhance the benefits and appeal of their products.