Chinese wearable smart device pioneer Zepp Health Corp is accelerating its research and development in artificial intelligence and semiconductors as it plans to make big strides in smartwatch technologies.
Huang Wang, founder and CEO of the US-listed company, which changed its English name from Huami Corp to Zepp Health Corp in 2021, said the company aims to be a cloud-based, data-driven company. which can offer healthcare insights via the growing global popularity of its smartwatches.
“Despite the challenges posed by the global macroeconomic environment, the shipment volume of our Amazfit and Zepp branded products increased in the fourth quarter, growing 14.3% year-over-year thanks to their global appeal. growing,” Huang said.
For 2021, shipments of the company’s own-brand products were up 60% year-over-year. “This growth reflects our growing global appeal. Our strong international expansion momentum continued, for example in North America, where our shipments increased by more than 200% in 2021,” added Huang.
Zepp Health adult smartwatch shipments ranked top 3 in markets including Brazil, Turkey, Italy, Indonesia, Spain and Russia in Q4 2021, company says market research firm International Data Corp. It was the world’s fifth-largest smartwatch maker. last year, with 6.82 million units shipped, which marked a year-on-year growth of 53.8%.
These strong performances enabled Zepp Health to continue to invest in R&D. The company has worked hard to bolster its chip technologies since unveiling the first-generation chip it developed nearly four years ago.
The company’s Huangshan 2s artificial intelligence chip, unveiled in July, offers substantial performance increases over its predecessor, reducing operating power consumption by 56% and idle power consumption by 93%, as well as improving graphics performance by 67%.
Last year, based on five years of technical research and using the company’s proprietary Huangshan AI chip and biosensor array, Zepp Health also introduced Pump-Beats, a non-invasive blood pressure measurement system and sleeveless on its Amazfit smartwatches. PumpBeats’ algorithm can measure blood pressure through sensors in Amazfit smartwatches.
Clinical tests on hypertensive patients at Peking University First Hospital, a prominent Chinese hospital, revealed small deviations in PumpBeats blood pressure measurements, making them similar to measurements taken using medical equipment professionals, the company said. The blood pressure measurement only takes 30 seconds, he said.
It’s just part of Zepp Health’s broader drive to connect health and technology. The company said it has a vision for a broader health and wellness system that engages consumers and the mainstream health system. In 2020, it established an AI research institute, which includes three joint laboratories with medical institutions and experts.
“As collaboration between medical institutions, R&D institutions and businesses intensifies, we are excited to leverage our expertise in smart wearable technology to promote applied research and transformational achievements in respiratory health,” Huang said.
The company has also partnered with the China Athletics Association to build a lab that focuses on using wearable devices for sports training and other activities.
Smartwatch vendors are trying to take a big generational leap in technology, according to Jason Low, director of research at market research firm Canalys. To stand out, they improve the fundamentals, such as user experience and battery life, and rely on their respective ecosystems to derive new features and uses.
“But health tracking is the single most important use of smartwatches. The ability to deliver cutting-edge health tracking functionality and offer users meaningful data and actionable health insights will set the winners apart.” and losers,” Low said.
“It is critical that vendors invest in next-generation health sensors and develop in-house algorithms and solutions to not only track vital biomarkers, but also to ensure good accuracy and reliability. Vendors should strive to give users insight into health trends involving data collected over a longer period of time, so they can understand how their lifestyle is affecting their well-being,” Low added.
In 2020, Zepp Health said it also recognized that its engineering expertise in AI, chips, sensors and algorithms could be leveraged for disruptive new medical imaging technologies coming to market. The company said it has partnered and made significant financial investments in several new pioneering medical imaging companies, including Promaxo Inc and Hyperfine Inc.
Their new miniaturized and portable MRI, X-ray and ultrasound systems are expected to disrupt the location, application and costs of medical imaging, which should have a significant impact on improving care and the cost reduction globally, Zepp Health said.
The company also said it expects medical imaging data generated by advanced, low-cost wearable diagnostic imaging, combined with continuous health data from smart wearable devices, will improve the ability to detect health issues. potential at earlier stages.
The company has also developed Zepp OS, which it says is not just a smartwatch operating system, but also the heart of an open health management platform.
Zepp OS supports Internet cloud service apps for music, voice control and fitness, such as NetEase Music, Spotify, Alexa, Joyrun or Strava, and it is expected to become a platform that will enable thousands of developers to participate and create global open health. ecosystem for smart wearable users, the company said.
“We envision Zepp OS as an operating system made up of thousands of developers with tens of thousands of mini smartwatch apps that form an ecosystem to help our users better manage their health and enjoy a better life,” Huang said.