With the proliferation of wearable tech like fitness bands and smartwatches, companies are now betting on an even better spot – albeit unlikely – on the body to track one’s heart rate and fitness - the ear.
The ear is one of the most accurate measurement points on the body, yielding readings near equivalent 99.2 percent to those of an ECG machine.
We are putting fitness wearables into the size of earbuds. How we do that? By integrating heart rate monitor and voice coaching - the earbuds will actually do the rep count when you exercise
So, gone are the days where earbuds are just for listening to music. Wireless fitness monitor, powered by Bluetooth, built into a pair of earbuds, is the next big thing.
Ramping up innovation in smart hearable solutions is Jabra; a Danish firm backed by 150-year history in sound technology (It is most notable for making headsets for businesses and call centres.)
“We are putting fitness wearables into the size of earbuds. How we do that? By integrating heart rate monitor and voice coaching - the earbuds will actually do the rep count when you exercise,” explains KC Yap, Jabra Malaysia Country Manager. Pair it with a smartphone app called Sport Life, it allows one to enter vital statistics, goals and existing abilities, and then tailors in-ear voice coaching.
Jabra, while not the only company that has entered the Internet of Things (IoT) market with wireless smart earbuds, it wants to create hearable solutions that combine intelligence, sensors and great sound quality using expertise in the human ear.
Jabra is under the GN Group, which makes medical grade hearing aids too.
“To begin with, we are very into core quality because our parent company is a hearing aid manufacturer. So, we understand very well what kind of sound will create damage to the ear over a long period of time. Having said that, we also have professional grade headsets to deliver crystal clear quality to the user’s experience."
Bluetooth 5 - Setting the Stage for IoT Integration
KC Yap was over at Astro AWANI for a chat on innovations taking place in Jabra, and their capabilities.
Research works on combining intelligent audio analysis and emotional artificial intelligence have been keeping Jabra busy.Without revealing too much on its next major product launch in 2019, KC Yap says its partnership with German audEERING is one to look out for as they aim to transform the way headsets can assist consumers in more meaningful ways through interpreting human emotions.
Smart fridges, wireless speakers, and other gadgets in your smart home should be able to talk to each other easily. You will be able to transfer data faster between gadgets
Most of Jabra’s newer products are powered by Bluetooth 5, the latest iteration of the wireless technology that is setting the stage for a more seamless integration with an increasingly vast complex environment of connected devices or IoT.
Compared to its earlier iteration, Bluetooth 5 delivers twice the speed, four times the range and eight times data transmission capacity.
(Jabra’s latest Elite 65t true wireless earbuds franchise, powered by Bluetooth 5.0, won the CES 2017 Innovation Award in Las Vegas earlier this year.)
“For everyday folks, this means, your devices will connect at longer distances using less energy,” Yap explains.
“Smart fridges, wireless speakers, and other gadgets in your smart home should be able to talk to each other easily. You will be able to transfer data faster between gadgets. This is great for wearable devices, like smartwatches, that are paired with your smartphone and you can leave Bluetooth switched on, without worrying about battery life.”
Bluetooth Mesh Adoption to Boost Growth
To date, over ten billion devices are installed with Bluetooth technology. In 2018, four billion Bluetooth devices are forecast to be shipped.
The global Bluetooth speaker market alone is projected to generate revenues of more than $8 billion by 2023.
The global Bluetooth speaker market alone is projected to generate revenues of more than $8 billion by 2023
“The growth of the music industry and the increasing number of music streaming services such as Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify is propelling the growth of the global Bluetooth speaker market,” says Yap.
But sound solutions are not the only devices to contribute to growth of Bluetooth shipment as the technology is increasingly becoming synonymous with multiple consumer markets, first in audio and entertainment; then phones, tablets, and PCs; followed by automotive.
Next, is the positioning of Bluetooth technology as a global enabler of the next wave of IoT. And what does the future hold for audio solutions?
“The future of audio is about adding intelligence. It’s about applying innovation to more aspects of sound than were thought possible before. Sound technology will be at the heart of people’s lives, in more interactive and intuitive ways.”
“Jabra wants to continue in this direction and foresee that 2019 will be a big year for us,” say Yap.