When Kurt Wurkman and his wife decided it was time to start a family, their first fear was that their child would inherit the heart condition of his mother. The traditional heart monitor was not to tell them whether their child's heartbeat was disturbed or to warn them when there was a danger.
– Smart sock
So he developed the Smart Sock, a non-intrusive device that measures a child's heart rate, monitors his breathing, and informs parents when they exceed normal levels.
When Kurt Workman, 23, did not have the technical and medical skills needed to design SmartSock, he worked with his colleagues at Brigham Young to develop the device and set up the start-up company, which they called Olyt.
Olyt began selling SmartSock devices in September 2015 and by the end of the year had generated $ 2 million in revenue. The company, which has 115 employees and is headquartered in Lehigh, Utah, ended in 2017 with revenues of $ 25 million and expects earnings to double by the end of the year.
The SmartSock is sold for $ 300 through the company's website and is suitable for all children up to the age of 18 months. The device wraps around the baby's foot and uses oxygen measurement technology, a non-intrusive method to monitor oxygen levels and heart beat. For parents, the company provides a wireless base for the device, lights up green when the child's health is fine, or learns through other lights and sounds if the child has a problem. Parents can also use the company's dial-up application for real-time readings, as well as the Olyt camera that comes with the device to check the baby's status remotely.
– Superior equipment
Consumers are very excited to buy devices that help them monitor their fertility, facilitate breastfeeding, and help motivate the child to sleep. The children's products industry posted a profit of $ 7.4 billion last year, an increase of 84 per cent compared with 2012, according to IBISWorld, a market research firm. The company expects the market to continue to grow rapidly, achieving a return of $ 10.4 billion by 2023.
Olyt, the only company that has introduced an oximeter product, competes with Incel Care, which manufactures a bed mattress to monitor the breathing and movement of the baby, and the wearable Snoza, which snaps the baby's nappy and monitors its breathing.
Olite has designed its first device for children and is currently developing a pregnancy-targeted technology so that it can start working with new customers early. Olyt is expected to launch the new product in 2019.
One of the challenges facing the industry is pushing people to spend money to buy technology they will use for a certain period of time, says one observer. Therefore, start-ups in this area need to manufacture business models as a product, which customers benefit from at various stages in child-rearing, or must find a strong anchor for investing in a product industry that people may not use for long periods of time.
Wurkman and his partners made some smart models for SmartSock before receiving $ 50,000 from an investor and winning a prize for an innovation competition through the university. During the development phase, Wallerman and his wife had two children, who tested the SmartSock models.