The bleed of talent from Nokia continues to be a sad testament of a company that has fallen on hard times recently, but Nokia’s loss has been the startup scene’s gain. We continue to see exciting new companies pop up as they reveal the interesting things they have been working on. In this case it’s a company spun-off from Nokia and founded just around a year ago (give or take a few weeks) in November 2012. Based in Finland and with only 13 employees they might sound small but they believe their product could end up having a big impact in its intended market.
PulseOn has closed a €1m seed investment round, mainly from Mr. Otar Margania, a Russian banker and dean of the Economic Faculty of St. Petersburg State University, and Mr. Olli Pohjanvirta, to finalize and launch its own optical heart rate monitor. The company, and its investors, clearly see a niche in the booming market for wearable consumer biometric sensors and propose that their ‘comprehensive multipurpose heart rate monitoring solution is the world's easiest to use and accurate wrist device for sports and 24/7 use.
A bold claim and one we’ll have to wait to judge when it come to market in the first half of 2014 according to Tero Mennander the Managing Director of PulseOn, who also said, “We want to disrupt the market for traditional chest belt based heart rate measurement products by offering the easiest and most comfortable solution to wider audiences.” So maybe they are on to something with the ‘easiest to use’ claim as I can certainly see a wrist based device being more comfortable and accessible than any chest belt.
That wrist device is based on PulseOn's own proprietary optical heart measurement technology and we’re told that gives it the ability to measure a person’s heart rate with beat-to-beat accuracy. What does that mean? Well PulseOn expect to see the data generated to be used in a wide variety of ways including exercising, activity, recovery, stress, and sleep monitoring.
The plan PulseOn have is that the device will be able to integrate with mobile apps and offer feedback based on heart rate analytics, so PulseOn will be focussed on developing the best heart rate monitor they can and leave the application of the data they produce in the hands of developers. It kind of reminds me of Microsoft when the Kinect first came out, they brought an interesting piece of hardware to market and then encouraged the development community to try out new ideas and take advantage of the new opportunities such a device provided.
Then, like consoles and most other hardware, its success might rely on the range and quality of the software built to make best use the device. With a release still potentially six to eight months away the team have time to perfect and polish their product. Let’s see how it’s doing then.
Top Image Courtesy of Shutterstock // Health Monitor