Last Friday, we co-hosted our Digital Summer event, an industry insiders version of our Digital Seasons series, at the Target Open House in San Francisco. We were happy to welcome great startup founders and executives, who showcased their latest innovation in wearable technology. Then, we picked their brains on how they manage to combine great technology with the latest fashion and design trends.
The evening started with Stacy Marquardt, Marketing Lead, IoT, Target, who introduced us to the representatives of Senstone, DAZL and Mobvoi who participated in the demo session.
After the demo sessions, Jean-Baptiste Su, Technology Columnist, Forbes and Principal Analyst Atherton Research, moderated the panel discussion about how wearables can change our lifestyle. The one hour session was full of industry insiders insights and tips for the next-gen entrepreneurs, thanks to our panelists: Ying Zhou, Business Director, Mobvoi U.S., Aditi Chadha, Founder & CEO of DAZL, Sandy Diao, Director of Strategic Programs at Indiegogo, Nedar Fedorchuk, Founder and CEO of Senstone, Per Ljung, Founder of Looksee Labs. (Photo in the graphic above from left to right, then Jean-Baptiste Su and Eliane Fiolet).
Check out the complete article with the video of the discussion and details about the products demos
During the discussion, founders and executives gave us some insights into what drew them to the wearable tech industry, what was the biggest challenges they faced while developing their products, what are the most attractive wearable startups and products today and where they see the future of the industry heading. Watch the session in the video below:
Markiyan Matsekh, co-founder & Chief Product Officer, Senstone, performed the first demo. Senstone is a stylish and discreet wearable device that allows users to capture notes on the go “five times faster and much more conveniently than any smartphone app”, according to the company.
The start-up rose over $300,000 from a Kickstarter campaign six months ago with about 3000 pre-orders. The tech team is currently testing the device and the iOS+Android companion mobile applications, as the first units are expected to ship in December. The technology inside uses a proprietary natural language processing engine to convert your recorded spoken words into organized notes.The Senstone app can integrate with Evernote, IFTTT, calendar…, and supports eleven languages with an emphasis on English.
On average, people use it for short recordings, from 2 seconds to a minute, and the maximum recording time on a single charge, according to Markiyan Matsekh, is about two and a half hour. When asked by a member of the audience about the potential competition of Amazon – with their Alexa platform – Senstone’s co-founder replied that Amazon platform is, in fact, a great market opportunity that will make the sales of similar products grow.
We covered Senstone when it launched its Kickstarter campaign, more information on our article.
Dubbed “fashion with intelligence” and “safety & health with style”, DAZL was the perfect new wearable product to feature in our Digital seasons series, an event that aims at showcasing the best innovations at the crossroad of fashion and technology. A recipient of the Vodafone Startup Award, and primarily dedicated to safety for women, DAZL sends safety alerts to your close friends (and family) at the push of a button, via BLE from your smartphone (Android and iOS – 100 feet maximum range). DAZL is very practical when your smartphone is buried in your purse and you are in a noisy environment; it also emits selective notifications by gently buzzing your jewelry, so you never miss important calls, emails and SMS.
Aditi Chadha, founder, DAZL, showed us a brief demo of the device at the Target Open House, and started her speech by sharing a few chilling statistics: according to the United Nation, 35% of women on the planet experience some sort of assault at least once in their lifetime, and in America, a woman is assaulted every 2 minutes. As for San Francisco, she said that, according to the official statistics, there were 12,000 assaults in the past year, and many happen during daytime.
During the live demo, Aditi Chadha showed us how quickly the DAZL connected jewelry on her keychain was able to send her location displayed on a map in her smartphone, and she mentioned that the app sent the location to her selected friends via email, SMS, and their own DAZL applications, simultaneously.
In addition to location safety tracking, DAZL is a two-way tracking device, meaning that it can locate your smartphone and vice versa, and it beeps when you leave your phone behind. Therefore, Aditi designed the small piece of hardware so it can be embedded inside a key chain jewelry, a necklace or a bracelet. Additionally, a plain version is available as a key chain as well, since most people get a lot of value out of a regular key chain that can locate and be located by their smartphone – I can vouch for that use case myself!
Last but not least DAZL acts as a remote control to shoot selfies on your smartphone, eliminating the need to carry around a stick, an all that operates for 45 days on a single charge (stand by mode), according to Aditi Chadha. Please note that battery life highly depends on usage.
With an entirely bootstrapped R&D, DAZL is one of the startups selected to the latest class of HAX, the “world’s first and largest hardware accelerator”. A proof of quality in itself, knowing that HAX has a 3% selection rate, according to DAZL’s founder.
The product launch date has not been revealed yet, and, if you are interested, you can register to get regular updates on the DAZL website.
Founded in 2012 by ex-googlers, Mobvoi is the Chinese voice search company behind the famous Ticwear OS Ticwatch 2 that rose over $2 million in 2016, and over $3 million for its Android Wear version in 2017, the TicWatch S&E.
Ying Zhou, Director of Business of Mobvoi US, showed us a few features of the new Ticwatch S&E, which is, according to her, “the most optimized Android Wear smartwatch”. I am not sure how this is the “most optimized” Android Wear 2 time piece, except for the sweet price: $119 early bird pre-orders on Kickstarter for the E, and $139 for the S, they will retail for $159 and $199, respectively. In comparison, the Huawei Watch 2 currently retail from $240 to $299.
“The Ticwatch is the most affordable Android Wear 2 on the market with the full functionality that we have” said Ying Zhou.
The recipient of two awards, the TicWatch S (Sport), is the sports model while the E (Express) delivers a more classic look.
Besides the standard fitness and sports features that are common to all Android Wear 2 devices, the Ticwatch S offers a few unique features such as a GPS sensor located in the band, which provides a little bit more accuracy, and a number of fashionable watch faces. Since Mobvoi core business is voice search, Ying Zhou demoed it with Maps saying “how to go to Montgomery station” a search that triggered a turn by turn navigation.
The Android Wear versions of the Ticwatch use Google Assistant, while the models sold in China feature Mobvoi proprietary voice recognition and natural language processing softwares.
According to Mobvoi executive, getting the Android Wear ecosystem in the Ticwatch was the number one requirement from users of the previous Ticwear-powered model.