Sensoria, formerly named Heapsylon, is a biometric wearables development firm founded by three former Microsoft employees, producing several smart mobile-capable products (smart socks, sports bras, and T-shirts) and an SDK platform that enables any company to develop and manufacture products for the $5 billion smart wearables market .
Smart, mobile-enabled clothing helps professional athletes and everyday fitness enthusiasts improve performance and monitor health and wellness in real-time. Sensoria’s products and the SDK include textile and sensors, electronics, cloud, and mobile software. Garments become biometric data-gathering devices. In addition to sensor-equipped sports bras, Sensoria produces biometric smart socks and T-shirts equipped with various sensors that communicate via Bluetooth with mobile devices running the Sensoria app. Accurate measurements may include step counting, speed, altitude, distance, heart rate, impact force and calories burned . Further, the sensors can precisely track activity, measure cadence, detect foot landing technique, pick-up center of balance information to specifically help improve running form .
Competitors in the sensor-equipped wearables space include Nike Fuelband and Fitbit. Sensoria claims these devices capture only a fraction of the data generated by a Sensoria garment and don’t answer key sports questions like speed, distance, and calorie burn. Nor do they allow data analysis to cut stress and impact that leads to injury .
Sensoria identifies as its target market a population eager for self-improvement and delivers a product that conveniently solves a major health issue. The company positions itself as a much cheaper alternative to an expensive running coach with a camera, which gives real-time auditory feedback in a natural environment. An interesting fact is that only professionals have had access to this kind of real-time, ubiquitous coaching before . So the company’s effort to bring such cutting edge technology and analysis to general fitness enthusiasts and new runners is likely to be met with a good response. Sensoria together with its Italian partner ReplySpA(a global consulting, systems integration, and digital services company), further plans to enable better biometric data-driven experiences in the sports industry including football, cycling, soccer, golf and more .
Sensoria, which does not disclose revenues, self funded for the first 18 months, then raised angel funding of $1 million. In the summer of 2013, an IndieGoGo crowdfunding initiative produced $115,000 in a period of 2 months, which exceeded their initial $87,000 goal . I believe the crowd funding campaign was a tried and tested way to create a positive buzz about the product and gain some customers in the process as well. Sensoria’s marketing strategy at present seems to involve leveraging the most popular social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and news channels like Time, ABC, NBC , FOX, NPR to name a few. In addition, they have been actively featured and positively reviewed in popular technology forums like Tech Crunch, Venture Beat, Geek Wire, CNet, Mashable and Engadget, which I believe has helped create a lot of excitement about the product among gadget lovers and technology enthusiasts. To better reach their initial target market of fitness enthusiasts and runners, they are running targeted campaigns in popular fitness magazines like Runner’s World.
In the long run, the company aims to have its technology used in every bio-metric wearable out in the market . Whether the company can reach this lofty goal, depends on a lot of factors including how effectively it is able to foster partnerships with clothing manufacturers and on how widely its SDK is accepted among developers.
Ajmal Ali Haneef,
MS Information Management Candidate, Class of 2015
Information School, University of Washington