If there is one thing we learned last year in the Smart Ring market, it is that Amazon became the first global consumer brand to release a Smart Ring product, the Echo Loop. This event launched a new era in this startup-driven wearable segment – and now Smart Rings belong to the mainstream. But how will this story continue in 2020? These are 7 market signals that will affect the Smart Ring space. Read on to learn why 2020 is likely to be remembered as the beginning of exponential growth for Smart Rings!

1. Mainstream Awareness will Accelerate Smart Ring Sales

Achieving mainstream awareness is a crucial step in the evolution cycle for all global blockbuster consumer products.

It was just a half a decade ago, when the first Smart Ring products were launched that they were considered to be strange Dick Tracy gadgets, only worn by the most tech-savvy early adopter consumers.

It took several leading Smart Ring brands and years of constant product development, design, and marketing work to propel the Smart Ring sector into the consciousness of mainstream consumers.

If judged based on the global online search engine statistics, Finnish sleep tracking ring maker, Oura is currently the most influential Smart Ring brand. The company has made a marketing break-through in terms of capitalizing on the rising megatrends in wellness, health, and self-improvement, and establishing the Oura Ring as a mainstream brand in America and Europe.  

Amazon’s Echo Loop was launched in September 2019 and became a significant event in the Smart Ring market. This is a global consumer brand entering the market, and it generated a huge amount of publicity, which finally turned the tide in the sector and helped ensure that the Smart Ring market enters the mainstream.

Using Amazon Echo Loop Smart Ring
Amazon Echo Loop Smart Ring was launched in 2019 to provide an Alexa voice controller

Amazon, Oura, as well as other leading brands, are crucial for accelerating the growth of the overall Smart Ring market.

2. Smart Rings Are Turning out to be Useful

History has witnessed countless cool, wildly-hyped consumer gadgets, many of which have quickly vanished from the market soon after being launched. They didn't serve a real need in people's lives (anyone still remembers those Google Glasses in 2013?).

Smart Rings do not belong to this category, luckily. They have proven their usefulness in everyday life in many ways – here are a few examples:

Smart Rings help to manage stress

Moodmetric is a Smart Ring for stress management. The device determines the user’s stress level by measuring the electrodermal conductivity of the skin. Moodmetric has been proven to be an effective aid for detecting and reducing stress for individual employees, and even for entire organizations.  

Moodmetric ring manage stress
The Moodmetric Smart Ring enables individual users and organizations manage stress

Smart Rings Provide Easy, Contactless Payments

NFC Smart Rings such as McLEAR and K Ring have won consumers' hearts by providing ultra-simple contactless payments. McLEAR, which holds patents in the US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific for specific implementations within the NFC-enabled contactless payment rings, launched the world's first payment ring with Visa at the Rio Olympics in 2016. The ring works at Visa-enabled contactless payment terminals globally. Banks in several countries, including the UK, Russia, France, and Australia, offer the company's rings for contactless debit and credit payments for their customers. And, in 2020, McLEAR's contactless payment solution will be launched in Japan.

K Ring enables credit payments on MasterCard-enabled Contactless Payment terminals globally. A leading financial service provider, ABN AMRO offers K Ring for its customers for contactless debit and credit payments in the Netherlands.

NFC-enabled contactless payment ring (image credit - K Ring)

Smart Ring Works as a Smart Key, too

What could be a more convenient key for your home, car, or office than an NFC-enabled Smart Ring? An OPN Ring on your finger is a secure and effortless way to open a door and is always with you.    

These, and many other use-cases, such as sleep-tracking rings, prove that Smart Rings are indeed utility devices. Their intrinsic usefulness in everyday life will accelerate market growth.

3. Moore’s Law applies to Smart Rings

Moore’s Law also applies to Smart Rings. We are seeing integrated circuit densities increasing and more and more processing power being packed into a smaller space.

The processing technology required for the advanced Smart Rings is evolving rapidly, and there are already some off-the-shelf products that are available for Smart Ring makers. The chipsets and Systems on Chip (SoC) provide high-performing, energy-efficient, secure, and purpose-built microcontrollers with multi-core microprocessors, flash technology, digital programmable logic, analog-to-digital conversion, I/O circuitry, wireless communication transceivers, and even more – all on a single chipset!

This ever-evolving processing technology enables device-makers to create Smart Ring products with sleeker designs, and more advanced features and sensors.

This results in better products that will feed the increasing consumer appetite, and speed up the Smart Ring market growth in 2020 and beyond.

4. You don’t have to be a Scientist to Make a Smart Ring

Token Ring inside picture
Inside of the Token Ring

One thing we do know is that the Smart Ring is the ultimate engineering, product development and design challenge! It is a tiny, fully-rounded item, which is packed with high-end electronics, sensors, battery, antenna, software, and more. It must endure extreme wear and tear through the day and night and also look good - it's a piece of smart jewelry after all!

Up to now, a lack of skilled engineering competence has been a big challenge for companies that want to develop Smart Rings. Many startups have failed to bring their ring to the market - simply because their team was not ready to meet the challenge.

In 2020, the situation looks much brighter. After several products have been developed and launched, many Smart Ring device makers and specialist engineering houses, such as Haltian have built-up and honed the knowledge and skill needed to build and design successful Smart Ring products.

With all that accumulated development experience, developing a Smart Ring should no longer expect you to be a rocket scientist!

5. Smart Rings Inspire Innovation

The Smart Ring space is exceptionally dynamic. Understandably, some device makers will probably fail to launch or maintain their products in the market in the near future.

There are, however, several determined companies that are trying to enter the market with new innovative products. The more that innovation flourishes, the more we will be likely to see true blockbuster Smart Ring products entering the market in 2020.

Here’s a rundown of a few companies planning to launch innovative Smart Ring products soon:

Token Ring intends to launch its NFC-enabled Smart Ring for secure contactless passwords, payments, office access, and more. This device would be the first in the world to identify its user with a fingerprint scanner. The launch is planned for 2020.

New Token Ring
The new Token Ring due to launch in 2020

The health device segment could take a giant leap ahead soon. Lakka Technologies, a Finland-based startup, is developing the world's first Smart Ring to measure blood pressure, and, in the future, this could significantly impact the world by allowing anyone to measure their blood pressure at any time.

6. B2B Partnership Opportunities

Spartan Race UK partners with McLEAR for contactless payments

Commercial partnerships between ring makers and different types of service providers have already proven the potential to boost the adoption of Smart Rings.

A case in point is one of the best partnerships in 2019, when McLEAR's Contactless Payment rings were chosen by Spartan Race UK, the leading obstacle race and endurance brand to work together. This partnership agreement enables McLear to promote its products at Spartan's events, and Spartan's customers can enjoy discounts and easy payments during the races and exercises.

So, how can Smart Ring makers benefit from the B2B partnership? In addition to addressing consumer space directly, they can also offer alternative routes to smaller market segments. Through B2B partnerships with venue operators, event organizers, and various types of service providers to boost ring sales in 2020.

7. Smart Ring Becomes a Motion Controlled UI

Microsoft Smart Ring patent picture
Microsoft's patent for a Smart Ring with a motion controlling

Touchscreens have prevailed as user interfaces (UI) for more than a decade now - and, without any real advancements. Until now. The Natural User Interface (NUI) is quickly approaching with the acceleration of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies.

NUI can sense motion and gestures and perform actions accordingly. What could be a more logical NUI-device than the Smart Ring? It is the most natural device for motion and gesture control – as we use our hands and fingers all the time for communicating, steering, and pointing at things.

Wave by Genki Instruments is the first successful and commercially available NUI Smart Ring. The user can use the Wave ring to control sounds and effects in a MIDI environment to compose music. This happens with simple hand motions and gestures, much like a conductor leading a symphonic orchestra.

Microsoft has already filed a patent for a Smart Ring for controlling its Holo ecosystem. Apple’s Smart Ring patent, which was awarded in the US, primarily provides functionalities for controlling other devices through motion and gestures. So, also a NUI-device!

The rise of NUI is happening, and it could be one of the fundamental drivers to make Smart Rings mainstream consumer devices in the future, if not yet in 2020!  

In Conclusion

With less than a decade of history, the Smart Ring market is still a very young wearable device segment. The market has been driven by startup companies, and growth pace has been slow but steady. This was until 2019.

Now, thanks to the mainstream awareness coupled with the many useful applications, the rapid development of the technology, competence, and innovation, it is quite possible that this year – 2020 – will be remembered as the turning point in the Smart Ring evolution – and the beginning of the era of exponential growth!