Star­tups lul­laby adults with tech

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By FANFEIFEI fanfeifei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

AI finds amaz­ing ap­pli­ca­tions in sleep prod­ucts

China’s new-age star­tups are com­bin­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and big data tech­nol­ogy to make smart prod­ucts that help peo­ple sleep well and main­tain a healthy life­style.

In­tel­li­gent pil­lows, smart sen­sors, in­tu­itive lights, cool speak­ers, nifty head­sets ... the list is grow­ing longer by the day.

The seg­ment is part of the global in­tel­li­gent home prod­ucts and ser­vices mar­ket whose an­nual sales are pro­jected to reach $68 bil­lion in 2018 onan­nu­al­growthrate of8to10 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to Re­search andMar­kets.

In China, the fast-grow­ing smart health­prod­uctsseg­ment is es­ti­mated to clock sales of 140 bil­lion yuan ($20.3 bil­lion) this year, ac­cord­ing to Feng Chao, an an­a­lyst at Analysys In­ter­na­tional in Bei­jing.

Small won­der, many star­tups are keen to make the most of con­sumer de­mand for such prod­ucts.

For in­stance, Se­b­long Tech­nol­ogy (Bei­jing) Co Ltd, a Bei­jing-based tech startup, is of­fer­ing a new way for peo­ple to drift off to sleep, just the way they do lis­ten­ing to sooth­ing mu­sic on a head­phone be­fore hit­ting the sack.

The firm’s app-con­trolled smart pil­low records sleep data and helps im­prove the qual­ity of sleep.

Se­b­long has been en­gaged in re­search, devel­op­ment and sales of net­work se­cu­rity prod­ucts since 2011. It en­tered the in­tel­li­gent health gad­gets seg­mentin2014. Its fo­cushas­been on sleep prod­ucts.

Snail Sleep, its app, has been on­line for 17 months boast­ing more than 5 mil­lion users. In Oc­to­ber 2016, its smart pil­low project at­tracted 700,000 yuan in crowd-fund­ing on JD.com, an on­line mar­ket­place.

“With a built-in con­troller, the smart pil­low can mon­i­tor peo­ple’s sleep du­ra­tion, depth of sleep, time of sleep­ing and wak­ing. It can also record words ut­tered dur­ing a dream, in ad­di­tion to the deci­bel level, du­ra­tion and fre­quency of snor­ing,” said Gao Song, Se­b­long’s CEO and founder.

The pil­low mea­sures 40cm in width and 60cm in length, weighs 2.6kg, and is priced 799 yuan. Its built-in high-tech speaker helps users to drift off into sleep faster. It also helps them get a sound sleep by play­ing ap­pro­pri­ate hyp­notic mu­sic, Gao said.

The pil­low uses Blue­tooth tech­nol­ogy, and stops play­ing mu­sic au­to­mat­i­cally as soon as it senses that the user has reached the deep sleep state.

“With the rapid devel­op­ment of in­tel­li­gent home and health­care in­dus­try, we hope to im­prove peo­ple’s sleep qual­ity through tech­nol­ogy. Our lat­est sen­sor tech­nol­ogy and ex­cel­lent al­go­rithms give us a deeper un­der­stand­ing of sleep,” said Gao.

He said the firm has al­ready mas­tered the use of big data tech­nol­ogy to crunch data gen­er­ated by the pil­low con­tin­u­ously.

Now, the startup is plan­ning to of­fer tai­lor-made prod­ucts aimed at solv­ing peo­ple’s sleep prob­lems. The larger goal is to fa­cil­i­tate a healthy life­style us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

Gao said the firm will launch one or two in­tel­li­gent hard­ware prod­ucts this year. “More and more prod­ucts in our daily life will be­come in­tel­li­gent with the ad­vent of the in­ter­net of things and we will keep up with the in­tel­li­gence trend.”

Other tech star­tups, too, are speed­ing up ef­forts to launch in­tel­li­gent sleep prod­ucts. Bei­jing Shiwu Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd al­ready has the Lu­nar, a smart sen­sor to mon­i­tor sleep and help peo­ple sleep bet­ter.

The Lu­nar can record and an­a­lyze sleep pat­terns, es­pe­cially of peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­culty fall­ing asleep. It could also pro­vide them with sleep ad­vice, sleep mu­sic, hyp­notic guid­ance and off­line psy­chol­ogy cour­ses.

The gad­get comes with an el­e­gant and beveled de­sign in white, and weighs only 12 grams, as small as a peb­ble. Users can place the sen­sor un­der the pil­low.

When users are un­able to sleep, they can press the but­ton to play sounds au­to­mat­i­cally sug­gested by ex­perts, which asleep.

Li Yizhou, founder and CEO of Shiwu Tech­nol­ogy, said the fac­tors that af­fect sleep in­clude changes in light, tem­per­a­ture and sound. The firm’s prod­ucts are based on these fac­tors.

“We had worked with psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­sel­ing ser­vice com­pa­nies to of­fer prod­ucts that re­lieve work-re­lated pres­sures of China’s post-1980s and 1990s gen­er­a­tions. Now, the re­mote con­trol func­tion al­lows users to track the sleep con­di­tion of their fam­i­ly­mem­bers, in­clud­ing chil­dren and the el­derly,” Li said, adding the smart home prod­ucts will make use of the big data tech­nol­ogy.

The Lu­nar is priced 69 yuan and is avail­able on Xiaomi Corp’s crowd-fund­ing plat­form.

“I was at­tracted to the Lu­nar the first time I sawit. I’d like to buy one,” said Le­mon Zhao, a grad­u­ate from Bei­jing.

That’s be­cause Zhao, a job­seeker, has dif­fi­culty in get­ting a sound sleep these days due to job­hunt-re­lated stress. She thinks the Lu­nar is af­ford­able for stu­dents.

Shiwu has also de­vel­oped the So­lar, an in­tel­li­gent lamp priced 799 yuan that cre­ates an en­vi­ron­ment con­ducive to sleep by ad­just­ing bright­ness au­to­mat­i­cally, based on data gen­er­ated by the recorder of sleep. will help users fall

Cheng Yu con­trib­uted to this story.

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