new Polar 360 – A Complete Wearable Platform? a Whoop competitor?

Polar 360new Polar 360 – A Complete Wearable Platform?

Polar has quietly launched its new B2B wearables platform – the Polar 360.

TL;DR – Polar 360 packages older Precision Prime heart rate & accelerometer technology into an improved strap then offers partners the opportunity to build 3rd party solutions with its algorithms, API and the FLOW platform.

This is a similar venture to one by MOVESENSE based on the pod from Suunto Smart Belt (2015).

Whoop 5.0 | Major Article, Detailed Analysis | Fact or Fantasy for 2024?

via Marcus @ Wearables for Human Performance

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What’s Included?

Access to all the base data is included meaning that a bespoke solution can be built using the raw data from the strap’s accelerometer, heart rate sensor and PPG.

However, that presents an immediate barrier to adoption as the work required to convert the raw data to meaningful insights is considerable. Thus Polar also licenses its algorithms based on activity, sleep and sports usage. But that still requires an additional app layer to be built so Polar offers access to its excellent FLOW ecosystem if the end use is envisaged to be sports, activity or wellness-related.

Polar also has team-based software platforms and I’m unsure if access to those would be possible.

 

Use Cases Beyond Sports

Polar aims for takeup across a range of industries. Whilst readers here will be familiar with potential sports-related uses, completely different uses like monitoring the wellness of long-distance haulage drivers are envisaged by the company.

 

Tech Specs

The precise details are not listed at this stage. However Polar states that its previous generation PRECISION PRIME sensor package is used. This technology was first seen five years ago in the Polar Vantage V and then slightly iterated in subsequent watches. The latest Polar Watch use similar but more capable Polar Elixir technology (2023).

The product offers 24×7, 5-day battery life and the ability to store/cache data and transmit live data over Bluetooth and ANT+. Compared to the consumer-grade Polar Verity sense armband, an improved and more elegant band appears to be included

 

Is this the Whoop Competitor we’ve been waiting for?

A: No.

Whoop already has a few indirect and direct competitors however none are quite the same.

More: Detailed Whoop Review

Polar 360 offers third parties the opportunity to build an ecosystem to rival Whoop. In reality, a completely new app would be required but the huge amount of work required to build a sensor, capture the data and then interpret and clean it with algorithms would be done. ‘Just’ a front end is needed.

 

Polar 360 – Thoughts

This is an excellent move by Polar, perhaps to be expected as the company licenced its algorithms to Casio a year ago and recently gave access to FLOW to Sennheiser Momentum SPORT earbuds.

Polar’s competitor at this is MOVESENSE. Its product has been quietly gaining traction with 3rd parties for over 5 years however the core pod/strap mechanism must present design hurdles that an arm-worn product like Polar’s will more easily overcome. That said, IIRC, MOVESENSE provides quality ECG-level data for deeper insights.

MOVESENSE typically has medical & sports-related partners whereas Polar seems to be casting its marketing net wider to many other industries.

This move might go some way to explain why we have not seen a consumer-grade version of Polar Elixir/Polar Precision Prime technologies on an armband as efforts were focussed elsewhere rather than on an ‘upgrade’ that may have offered consumers little more than what Verity Sense already offers.

Imagine you run a smaller company with more limited resources than the industry leaders. What better way is there to target new markets than re-purposing old technology and letting 3rd parties: take all the risk; provide all the time; and spend all the development monies? This is exactly what Polar is doing. If 9 out of 10 of these ventures fail it won’t especially hurt Polar. When that other of the 10 ventures goes on to: sell 300,00 Polar 360 units; license 5 sets of algorithms; and license access to parts of FLOW for 300,000 people, then Polar rakes in the money.

A FAR better approach than Polar going head-to-head with the same format of product as Whoop but in a market that today faces competition from advanced watches, rings and more.

More: Polar.com

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8 thoughts on “new Polar 360 – A Complete Wearable Platform? a Whoop competitor?

  1. Looking at this gives me hope that maybe Garmin will see this and are working on something similar.

    I know you mentioned something may be coming in June. I know it is Global Running Day in June so maybe there is hope to an OHR HRM Pro. If anything I would love to have a Garmin OHR band that could be worn on forearm for bootcamp and CrossFit style classes as I have scratched my watch face with the kettle bells so now I dont wear watch on wrist but on my forearm with alternate band.

  2. I wonder if Ray will be doing any review on this device?? I wonder if there will be a consumer version.

    1. Well that was answered!! Too bad Ray was able to get confirmation that this will be a B2B device only for now.

      Maybe this is an opportunity for the5krunner to resell them to members. It can use the existing Polar Flow platform!!

  3. Love the sleek design, but 5-days battery seems a little bit weak for not having a display and all the other sport-watch tech.

    Is there any indication that it takes constant readings with the highest accuracy or just every x seconds to save battery?

  4. Would have been really an interesting device for me and maybe others who don’t like wearing a bulky sports watch in bed or have it chaffing away at the desk at work.

    So it’s just another miss by Polar. At point blank this time even.

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