Trust in the accuracy of wearable fitness data is too low, according to the CEO of Polar.
Sander Werring spoke to Wareable in an interview and told us that less than half of wearable users trust the data they receive from their sports watches.
“For us, the opportunity lies in the fact that research shows that only 42% of wearable users trust the data they receive and the guidance they receive,” he told Wareable.
“I think it's too low. You can't afford anymore to have a 42% level of trust in the accuracy of what you do.”
Werring was speaking to Wareable after the announcement that the company would open up its algorithms to third parties for the first time.
The company announced a partnership with Casio and the new G-Shock GBD-H2000 which uses 25 Polar algorithms.
“We have always strongly believed that our role in the industry is to provide high-quality guidance based also on high-quality data," he said.
We asked Werring which of the Polar algorithms partners were most keen to access:
“The features for sleep, for example, are extremely important. But I know also the algorithms for positioning, GPS and heart rate are really important,” he said.
Werring also revealed that he felt that sports devices were leaning toward health.
Garmin's launch of ECG features is part of this shift, he continued, but said that it’s still early days for the technology – and wouldn’t rush to add it to Polar devices.
“And as a consumer device company, currently, we do not have medical registration. That's not what we are focused on, as a strategy with our brand,” Werring said.
“ECG is not something you can widely implement in your portfolio from the start. So there are a lot of limitations where you can use it and how you can communicate it to your customers, etc. So it's really in a nascent stage at the moment.”
But Werring also sees partnerships as a way of getting medical features, such as ECG, to Polar devices:
"We see a big opportunity in partnering up also with other companies to reach those people through more dedicated wearables or services or apps that are not developed by ourselves,” he said.
Polar is part of the Qualcomm Wearables Accelerator Program, which also counts AliveCor as a member.
Werring revealed that Polar could return to Wear OS devices, so it could turn to a partner such as AliveCor to handle features like ECG.
Regardless of how things play out, it seems that Polar is set up for a much more active role in wearables going forwards.
"This is an exciting direction for us. So yes, we expect more and more exciting launches to happen," Werring said.
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