I’ve been quietly ignoring ResMed (ASX: RMD)’s new consumer S sleep monitoring device since it was announced earlier this year. It just seems like a lot to ask of a gizmo on your bedside table to tell you how you’re sleeping. But the deal announced this week to integrate S into the Apple HealthKit in iOS8, and to stock it in Apple retail and online stores means we may have to start taking it seriously.
The basic idea behind the S is that it records your breathing and movements while you sleep as well as your overall environment (including light, temperature and noise). It then syncs up with an app on your phone or tablet to let you know how you’re sleeping and provide suggestions as to how you can sleep better.
It also ‘synchronises soothing sounds to your pre-sleep breathing, helping you drift off more easily’ (hmm ... I reckon the wife will think she gets enough soothing sounds from my side of the bed as it is) and wakes you from light rather than deep sleep to leave you feeling more refreshed.
It even dispenses that sine qua non of modern health devices: ‘a daily sleep score that can be viewed and shared in the same manner as calories, steps walked or miles ran’. Yes, people will be able to boast on Facebook about what a great night’s sleep they’ve just had.
I'm not convinced, though I'll probably have to get one – it looks shiny enough. But for ResMed it goes deeper than this, because one of the keys to developing its core market for treating sleep disordered breathing is to get people to realise that they suffer from it in the first place.
Presumably at the first whiff of an apnea the S will tell you to get yourself down to a sleep clinic – where you can buy a machine that does a crucial job for thousands of dollars rather than a gimmick for hundreds. And by getting into consumers’ hearts and minds – or at least onto their bedside table – there’s a good chance you’ll buy it from ResMed rather than its competition.
DIsclosure: The author owns shares in ResMed.
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