“Wearable technologies” are smart devices that can be worn on the user’s body (or clipped to a backpack or purse) and have advanced functions ranging from wireless connectivity to processing and analytics capabilities.
The wearable electronics market is expected to grow from $20 billion in 2015 to over $70 billion in 2025. Much of the existing market focuses on the health and wellness area – think Fitbits – with big players like Apple, Google, Nike and Roche.
But small players are in the running too
Recently entering the market is Vancouver, BC based Tzoa. Funded via Kickstarter, Tzoa is a portable air quality monitor capable of tracking:
- Air quality
- Atmospheric pressure
- Ambient light and
- UV (sun) exposure
Wirelessly connecting with your phone, Tzoa displays information about your immediate environment and recommends actions accordingly.
While a Fitbit counts steps, a Tzoa counts particles (among other things). For example, it can tell whether it’s measuring a pollen particle versus another size particle that may compromise your health. With a Tzoa, you can:
- Monitor your own environment – both indoors and out. If you walk or jog, you can find the least polluted route for your run. At home, the Tzoa can prompt you to run the overhead fan in the kitchen if your cooking fumes create unhealthy levels of particulate pollution.
- Share the data with other users. When you wear the Tzoa outdoors, you are basically creating crowdsourced environmental data for your neighborhood.
Why it’s cool
The Tzoa was a hit at the Consumer Electronics Show this past January – and with good reason.
- It’s a better mousetrap. The EPA historically spends $50,000 on an air pollution sensor. Tzoa’s will retail at an early bird price of $99. There is no diminution of quality. Indeed the Tzoa team has worked with the EPA to ensure that TZOA’s sensor closely correlates with governmental sensors and that it provides dependable data.
- There’s money in them thar hills. Tzoa exemplifies businesses that see the opportunity in environmental products and services. Their product will help consumers worldwide, but it will also create new streams of detailed environmental data with many potential uses. By connecting people more closely to their environment, the Tzoa creates new possibilities for understanding and taking action. That’s exciting.
Tzoa plans another Kickstarter campaign in April 2015. It is offering early bird pricing of $99 for pre-orders now. And it expects to ship the first product in the last quarter of 2015.
Last but not least, Tzoa offers an “Ambassadors” program for Tzoa users. The crowd-sourced environmental maps will only be as good and big as the crowd that uses them. So, it is enlisting people from around the world to participate as Tzoa ambassadors. Sign me up!
Images courtesy of Tzao press