Oura is betting on social wellness.
Thursday, the company known for its wellness tracking ring is launching Oura Circles, a social component to the brand’s app that allows users to share their health stats and connect with friends and family. When joining a circle, users can opt to share specific Oura metrics — sleep, activity and readiness — over a two-week period with daily or weekly data. Members in the circle can then view each others’ data and respond with five different emojis. Oura users can join up to 10 circles, each one capping at 20 people.
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The new Oura feature comes on the heels of the rise of social wellness models, as consumers and brands are looking to address the loneliness epidemic recently announced by the surgeon general. The Apple Watch, for example, which also aims to track health data, offers a feature where wearers get alerts when friends finish workouts, and can respond with emojis or a text.
“Isolation fundamentally affects our mental, physical and societal health, which is why the U.S. surgeon general recently reported that chronic loneliness is a public health crisis, increasing the risk of cognitive decline by 50 percent, cardiovascular disease by 29 percent, and stroke incidence by 32 percent,” said Oura chief executive officer Tom Hale. “This new feature is just the next step in delivering a personalized experience that allows our members to connect with not only their bodies, but also their community.”
Oura Circles, which has been in development since last year, were inspired by an organic response from ring users, according to the brand.
“People’s health journeys often feel like a lonely journey,” said Jason Russell, senior director of product at Oura. “We know that’s true for our users as well. There’s a lot of organic behavior for people doing the Oura journey together, especially folks like couples. They buy the ring together and they do their own work to compare scores and learn about their health together.”
“Oura Circles is a way to connect, share and care for your friends and family. That’s both through celebrating highs when you hit your activity goal a few days in a row, but also showing support for the lows, whether you’re sick or in need of rest,” Russell said. “There is a big social component to motivation as well. We know that folks when they share their data with others have an increased boost in keeping with habits they’re trying to build.”
In an effort to further personalize and enhance the Oura experience, Circles is rolling out along with the official New Sleep Staging Algorithm, which has been in beta testing. This new algorithm employs Oura Ring and reference polysomnography (PSG) data from sleep diagnostic testing. The new algorithm is based on 500 users of varying “ages, genders and skin tones, and over 1,200 unique nights of data,” according to the brand.