In the second post of “Greater China Region IoT Hero Series,” Silicon Labs interviewed Yin Shaoxiang, Manager of Shenzhen Fitcare Electronics Co., Ltd., a leading high-tech company in China, specializing in R&D, manufacturing, and sales of wearable sports and fitness electronics and systems.
With Silicon Labs’ ultra-low power EFM32™ micro-controllers (Gecko Series), heart rate monitor (HRM), and ultraviolet light (UV) sensor solutions, Fitcare’s fitness wristbands, cardio watches, earlobe/finger clip heart rate sensors, and other wearable devices achieve high precision and are comparable to professional fitness devices. Fitcare has been a leader in the Chinese sports and fitness market.
Now let’s learn more about Fitcare and how it has changed the Chinese IoT market.
Please tell us about Fitcare’s company culture as well as its unique strategy for the IoT market
Fitcare’s slogan is “Keep Moving, Keep Fit.” This is unique among hi-tech companies. Our main product line is professional wearable sports and fitness electronics. Our goal is to provide our customers with truly useful reference information and to help them improve their training and exercise results. This is vastly different from manufacturers whose focus is on wearable electronics for general leisure purposes.
Secondly, “precision comes first” is our product design guideline, and “sports and fitness” is our focus. Therefore, our products are far more specialized than various wearable wristbands and smart watches in the market, and we’re able to lead a new area in the IoT market. In fact, since its establishment, Fitcare has been providing high-quality OEM and ODM services. All our founding members have a background in engineering and have been working in the field for many years. We have established great relationships with brand-name clients worldwide and have also accumulated rich experience in the development and production of wearable devices.
Nowadays, like people in America and Europe, Chinese people are paying more attention to fitness. This means a growing and promising business opportunity in a market of a billion people. Fitcare takes this challenge and aims to become the No. 1 “sports and fitness wearable device brand” in China.
Please tell us about Fitcare heart rate watches’ features and benefits.
HW652, Fitcare’s latest generation of heart rate watches, supports low-power Bluetooth transmission and dynamic heart rate monitoring. It adopts Silicon Labs’ advanced Si1144 HRM optical sensor modules and energy-efficient EFM32 Wonder Gecko MCUs, and is equipped with the heart rate monitoring algorithm.
Also, we put a lot of efforts on optimizing optical structures, improving the precision of sensor modules through green LEDs, and adjusting the algorithm carefully for various situations with Silicon Labs. Therefore, the pulse under the skin can be detected accurately. Its error percent is less than 3%, which is comparable to chest straps used by professional athletes.
In addition, the heart rate watch can also monitor users’ daily activities, such as the number of steps taken, calorie consumption, distance, and sleep quality, transmit real-time heart rate data, and store fitness data offline. It is compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 iOS, Android devices, and most sports apps, allowing users to record and track exercise data without wearing traditional chest straps.
Compared with chest straps, heart rate watches are easier to use. When it is as accurate as chest straps, it will gradually change consumers’ preference. Fitcare’s high-precision heart rate watches aims to follow this trend and bring its users “comfort as well as accuracy.”
What made you choose Silicon Labs as your semiconductor partner?
As said before, “precision comes first” is our product design guideline. Silicon Labs helps us fully prepare for designing professional sports and fitness wearable devices. They not only provide us with Si1144 HRM optical sensor modules, which have the best precision in the industry, but also equip energy-efficient 32-bit EFM32 Gecko series MCUs with its own algorithm. This makes the precision of heart rate watches reach the professional level.
Secondly, since wearable devices require endurance, components’ power consumption is also a key factor when we evaluate our suppliers. Silicon Labs is known for its low power technology, and it can provide the most energy-efficient MCUs in the market.
In addition, for wearable devices that support HRM, Silicon Labs has developed a complete reference design platform, including required hardware, Simplicity Studio software development tools, as well as schematics, documents library, API files, and hardware/optical design guidebooks.
Silicon Labs’ American expert team and also its local Chinese team gave us fast, professional technical support and helped us reduce products’ power consumption and accelerate the product development process. Therefore, we are able to launch the first high-precision heart rate watch in the Chinese market.
Please tell us about your opinion on IoT development and also the future of the Chinese IoT market
Looking forward, the Chinese IoT market will have three huge opportunities: smart home, Internet of Cars, and smart wearable products.
Fitcare knows that as a leader in smart home technology, Silicon Labs provides low-power EFR32 (wireless SoC chip) running dual protocols of Bluetooth BLE and ZigBee, which will bring innovative applications combining wearable products and smart home.
Take wearable products as an example. Its next step is to no longer only serve as smart phone accessories for general leisure purposes, but is to gradually enter the professional athlete market, which will make the products more valuable and popular. We will need to develop products such as smart fitness wristbands that can be connected to the cloud management platform, smart medical wristbands that support remote healthcare, and heart rate watches that can help professional athletes trace and manage their training data, etc.
In order to meet the requirement of these IoT and design needs, we will need more precise HRM sensors and easier-to-use low-power Bluetooth wireless connection solutions. These are what Silicon Labs is best at. Therefore, we will continue our partnership with Silicon Labs and explore the new territory of smart wearable devices together.
Visit Fitcare to learn more about their awesome products.
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