Withings’ 360 degree, blanket-the-market approach makes a lot of sense, as mHealth wizards are increasingly looking at “ecosystems” rather than single devices.
Arguably, connected health manufacturer Withings is known largely for its Connected Scale, which measures weight and BMI then synchs the data with its Web and mobile-based Health Mate app. Selling at $99, a trivial investment for a newfangled wireless device, Withings has made significant inroads with the device.
Since mid-2013, when the Paris-based company scored $30 million in VC funding to expand its R&D capabilities and expand its international presence, Withings has been on a white-hot growth streak, launching wildly popular consumer products while building its other distribution channels. For example, when the Withings Aura sleep coaching system hit Amazon at a pricey $299.95 this August, it sold out within one day, mobihealthnews reports.
At last week’s mHealth Summit, Withings made a point of demonstrating the breadth of its product line, including a connected pulse oximeter, a connected blood pressure monitor and the Withings Activité, an extremely stylish smart watch which would be at home in any businessperson’s wardrobe. (“Well, it was designed in Paris,” noted one of the Withings marketers. Mais oui, what else should we have expected?)
While the $499 Activité hasn’t been released yet, Withings is actively promoting its $119.95 pulse oximeter device Pulse Ox, which looks a lot more like a standard smart band than the fingertip-clasp pulse ox hospitals and doctors use.
Rather than focusing on say, air-deprived asthmatics, Pulse Ox tracks a broad range of metrics—such as steps and distance walked and elevation climbed—as well as monitoring sleep cycles. It only delivers heart rate and blood oxygen levels when the user requests them.
Withings’ blood pressure monitor —another sexy design with silver fabric and a shiny green lining—was also prominently on display at the Withings booth. Unlike other devices, the Withings wireless BP monitor automatically launches the companion app Health Mate, which walks consumers through the steps involved in taking their pressure. The cuff, which sells for $129.95, is clearly priced to be within reach of consumers.
Withings’ 360 degree, blanket-the-market approach makes a lot of sense, as mHealth wizards are increasingly looking at “ecosystems” rather than single devices. In following this strategy, it’s going up against giants like Samsung—but it’s mounted a remarkably strong effort for an emerging company. Next year should be an intriguing one for the growing French startup.
Anne Zieger is a veteran journalist who’s been covering the U.S. healthcare scene for over 25 years. She provides “News with a Twist,” combining solid reporting with expert insights and analysis. Her opinions are her own. You can follow Anne on Twitter @annezieger.