Companies circle around Oura smart ring to keep tabs on employees
Future. As a possible alternative to mandating vaccines, companies are buying wearable technology like the Oura smart ring for their employees, in order to monitor whether they’re returning to work while sick. Even when COVID subsides, the practice may be here to stay… but could receive pushback from employees who don’t want their boss monitoring yet another aspect of their lives.
Wear to share
As employers plot a return to the office, many are turning to smart tech to create some sense of order.
- Smart-ring company Oura has seen an uptick in sales for enterprise purposes.
- That’s because the Oura smart ring can track a person’s vital signs — like body temperature and heart rate — which can clue employers in on whether someone in the building has COVID.
- This health-related usage was backed up by a study from the University of California at San Francisco.
Although it hasn’t been approved by the FDA as a medical device, research from West Virginia University likens the Oura’s heart-rate tracking to be on par with a normal EKG.
Oura CEO Harpreet Singh Rai noted that enterprise sales now make up 20% of the company’s revenue — up from 5% before the start of the pandemic. Many of these companies were impressed by the relative safety of the NBAs last season, which used Oura rings in its bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando and saw no COVID outbreaks.
Analysts project that if insurance agencies start covering the purchase of wearables to monitor infectious diseases, mainstream adoption will closely follow. Some agencies, like UnitedHealth and Devoted Health, have already begun partly covering the cost of the tech.