Polar, a pioneer in sports and fitness technology, has launched a new platform with the intention of licensing its algorithms to other companies. Polar’s innovative algorithms will be integrated into the products of sport and fitness companies as part of the new venture.
This type of licencing model is not new to Finnish companies. Firstbeat previously provided similar services to a number of wearable manufacturers. However, with Garmin’s acquisition of Firstbeat in 2020, there may be a market gap for Polar to step in and capture an additional revenue stream.
The company is a pioneer in health and fitness tracking, having been around for more than four decades. Since the release of their first device, a wireless heart rate monitor called the Sport Tester PE 2000, they have become one of the world’s most trusted names in this field. In addition to heart rate monitors, their current product line includes smartwatches, fitness trackers, bike computers, smart scales, and other items.
Polar provides a diverse set of algorithms for sports and fitness
According to the new website (via Dcrainmaker), Polar currently has 25 algorithms available, divided across six categories: Activity, Training, Performance, Sleep, Recovery, and Wellness. These algorithms aim to provide customers with valuable insights, from tracking their movement patterns to guiding optimal recovery. This is a more comprehensive approach than selling individual metrics such as Vo2Max.
Additionally, Polar’s licensing page includes a link to something called the Polar Research Centre. This is a resource that contains both internal and external studies that provide ample validation and support for their algorithms. It can also act as a good resource for users of their products.
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A few names (such as Valencell and LifeQ) currently dominate the algorithm licensing market. However, these companies primarily focus on offering bundled sensor and algorithm packages. Life Firstbeat, Polar’s approach is different in that it offers standalone algorithms. This should appeal to companies that prefer to develop their own hardware or have an existing hardware offering, and who are in direct competition with the likes of Garmin.
Better for Polar device owners than a subscription model
Polar’s new platform makes sense in today’s market, where innovative algorithms in sports and fitness are in high demand. In terms of software quality, the company has made a name for itself in the market. Its recovery insights, in particular, rank among the best of the best.
Polar’s solid algorithm portfolio and research validation, combined with their standalone licencing model, positions them as a viable option for companies looking to integrate such technology into their products. It will be interesting to see how much take-up there is from brands to implement Polar’s algorithms.
More importantly in our mind, this is a method of earning money that does not harm their customers. And for that, the company should be applauded. Wearable brands are increasingly turning to subscription models and keeping some of the most advanced health and fitness insights under lock and key. Unless, of course, you pay a small monthly fee.
Polar could make a significant impact and fill the void in this space, given the current gap in the market as a result of Firstbeat’s acquisition. Keep an eye on this space.
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