Bringing together sportswear with Artificial Intelligence in the most unique way possible is an India based start-up, Boltt. Arnav Kishore (CEO & Founder) along with Aayushi Kishore (Co-Founder), founded the sport-tech start-up which aims to change the face of global Health and Wellness industry. The company will be showcasing their advanced fitness wearables such as Connected Shoe, Stride Sensor and Smart Band along with AI health and fitness coach that will represent ‘connected fitness’ solutions at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

To further enhance their fitness wear, Boltt has partnered with Garmin, the world pioneer in wearable sensors. Together they are working on unique sensor forms that capture all forms of body data (mechanical and cardiovascular), most intuitively. These form factors are aimed to make technology pervasive by interweaving it into the users’ daily life.

Combining cutting edge heath monitoring technology with artificial intelligence, the team has developed a Virtual Boltt Coach (B), a personality that will guide the users, in their journey to fitness and athleticism. Boltt’s coaching mechanism includes more than just tracking of data. It offers real time coaching and feedback based on how one is moving.

Moreover, the team at Boltt is going beyond fitness. Boltt is also working on predictive analysis and disease management programs in healthcare for which the Company is assisted by a global board of influencers and experts ranging from Marathoners, Tri-Athletes, Data Scientists, world renowned Biokineticists, Nutritionists and Sleep Experts.

Speaking about the new products, Arnav Kishore, CEO & Founder said, “Till now, all activity trackers and wearables gave data. We are conspiring to change that by inferring this data and giving it meaning. At Boltt, the goal is to deliver the next generation of premium, highly advanced connected technology, the world has not seen till now.” 

We recently spoke to Boltt’s co-founder Aayushi Kishore to get an insight about the company, its products and understand its future strategy. Here is the edited transcript of the interview:

What was the founding philosophy behind the conception of Boltt?

With Boltt, the mission is to empower millions of users around the globe to take a leap towards a healthier lifestyle and stay fit by customising their fitness routine according to personalised data analysis.

With an increasing market for wearables and people taking fitness seriously, India is taking a stride towards becoming a healthier nation. With robust developments in the wearable space, there is an increased focus on how we consume what’s sold in the name of ‘fitness wearables’. With customised data analysis and meaningful insights garnered through Boltt’s AI enabled coach, we provide the end users with something they can make sense of. We make the user become his/ her mentor and coach with ‘B’.

How is Boltt different from the rest of the products and players in the sphere of fitness and wellness electronics?

Comparison sheet (Click to Expand)

While there are keen interest and sufficient data, thanks to the advent of increase in wearables, there isn’t much in offering that makes sense to the end consumer in terms of meaningful insights. If we look at things from a consumer’s standpoint, we realise that they usually lack the ability to decipher data. With oodles of data around nutrition, fitness activity, sports, and wellness there’s little deciphering of data that most wearables track. This becomes a challenge. An ample number of dieticians and fitness coach/guide subscriptions are available with a host of fitness bands / trackers, but all that is human and time-bound. This means additional investment from the consumer side. There is an urgent need for a holistic solution to this. Boltt is a ‘sports tech-brand’ that is developing the next generation consumer-centric solutions for personal health & fitness.

Other competitors in the Wearable Tech Space are only innovating on hardware. There is no powerful digital experience that supports the hardware. Most people dump their wearables within weeks of using them, simply because they do not know what to do with the data. Boltt is innovating an AI health Assistant along with the wearables; that will give actionable insights, and go beyond just tracking the data.

Our Brand is a combination of:

  • Boltt Fashion: innovative wearable products consisting of a ‘ Smart Shoe’ ‘ embedded with sensors and a range of Smart Bands.
  • Boltt Tech: Advanced Sensor Technology developed in partnership with Garmin –the world pioneer in wearable technology & sensors.
  • Boltt Interactive: AI Virtual Coaching on health and fitness.

The ability to innovate and the ability to be able to convert large chunks of data, into valuable insights and guidance, using virtual coaching is our unique offering. A 24 * 7 text coaching and user interaction it also guides and supports the user in eating healthier, getting more active, and building great lifestyle habits.

How big is the fitness electronics market worldwide, and how big a slice of it do you guys wish to carve out?

Research estimates wearable devices shipments will grow at a CAGR of 29% between 2016 and 2020. By 2020, wearables will represent a market worth $40 Billion with over 240 Million annual unit shipments. The Global Health and Fitness mobile market is currently worth $4 billion now and predicted to be worth 26 Billion by 2017. There is more than 60% drop-off rate by users after getting a fitness tracker/app. Boltt is making the difference by inferring the data with the help of AI and cognitive computing. With premium functionality and customer engagement solutions, Boltt is set to capture a big spot in the exponentially growing market.

Wearables: SNS Research estimates that wearable device shipments will grow at a CAGR of 29% between 2016 and 2020. By 2020, wearable devices will represent a market worth $40 Billion with over 240 Million annual unit shipments.

Mobile App: The Global Health and Fitness MOBILE market is currently worth 4 billion USD now and predicted to be worth 26 Billion by 2017.

There is more than 60% drop-off rate by USERS after getting a fitness tracker/app. This is where Boltt is making the difference by inferring the data with the help of AI and cognitive computing.

With premium functionality and customer engagement solutions, Boltt is set to capture a big spot in the exponentially growing market.

What are your projections for growth in this segment?

Wearable technology concerns any electronic products that are designed to be worn on the person. In this report, IDTechEx analysts find that the market will be worth over $30bn in 2016, and growing in three stages: 10% annually to over $40bn in 2018, but then accelerating to 23% through to over $100bn by 2023, before slowing to 11% to reach over $150bn by 2026.

Your product is driven by AI, do you guys not feel scared that companies with more advanced AI systems may eventually race ahead of you in the longer term? How have you guys hedged yourself against the merciless onslaught of the tech giants in the AI scene?

The AI that Boltt has built is not easy to replicate. We have innovated a dynamic In Built Virtual Health Assistant, that gives real-time feedback on health fundamentals like training, sleep, nutrition, activity and diagnostic conditions. It is a personal trainer, sleep doctor, nutritionist and activity mentor all in one!

You are aiming at elite customers, or are your products aimed at medium to low income groups as well?

We cannot reveal the pricing right now, but it will be in the “white space”, where there is immense vacuum.’ and scope. Boltt has already aligned channel partners for distribution in India and abroad, and products will be available for commercial sale, towards the end of the 1st quarter of 2017.

How many products do you have on offer? Can you walk us through them?

We have three products in the offering, namely, a pair of smart shoes, a strider sensor and a smart band.

The smart shoes are high on performance and embedded with sensors to track data at each moment while indulging in any activity, while running, jogging, hopping, etc. They measure the speed, distance and calories to give real-time analysis. To keep a record of performance and progress in your fitness regime.

The stride sensor can be clipped to any shoe and provides real time speed, stride length, and keeps a tab on your sports performance. It maps your activities and running metrics. One can easily check their calories, steps, distance through the data collated by the sensor.

The aesthetically appealing fitness trackers in the form of smart bands, that track your sleep and also gives notifications.

The most poignant of them all and our ‘smart’ brainchild “B” in the form of a mobile application gives actionable insights.

Which countries do you plan to target in the short term, and which markets would you want to target over a longer period?

Besides India, from where we are based, the US and EU markets are more advanced in the acceptance of connected technologies. The consumer is already mature in adapting to these products.

Sports, health and fitness, play a big role in the life of everyday users in countries like South Africa. Everyone is very health conscious in these countries. So we are looking at a global market and the more, the merrier!

What according to you are the most basic misconceptions people have about fitness electronics, and how does Boltt plan to create awareness?

The Problem is that 75% of the global population today suffers from a Lifestyle Disorder (or lack of a healthy lifestyle). It has become a modern day epidemic. It stems from everyday causes like work-life imbalance, stress, lack of time; which further leads to unhealthy habits, poor nutrition, lack of good sleep and lack of activity.

Unfortunately, a Lifestyle Disorder cannot be cured with medicine or extreme measures or a wearable!

It can also not be cured, if there is a lack of awareness or knowledge of your health data. This is a massive problem resonating with more than 5 billion people across the globe and needs a solution.

Thus comes the need for an AI Health Coach. So how does one solve a Lifestyle Disorder? One would want to see a sleep specialist, nutritionist, hire a fitness trainer or take a gym membership.

Each of these experts would work in isolation to treat you. They would carry out a 4 step process. Ask for your health history, gather data, analyse, form a hypothesis, carry out multiple tests and repeat this till the hypothesis was proven true, by hit and trial.

This process is inefficient in many ways – unnecessary wastage of time, money? And geographic constraints?

So Boltt has innovated a solution in the form of an AI Health Coach, that is smart, adaptive and efficient. And the simple inability of a human expert to comprehend the 1100 TB of data that we all produce in a lifetime. It is an ALL in ONE health expert. One can feed it with data set after data set after data set. It does not get tired or make mistakes.

On the other hand, there has been an exponential rise in the technology, both via mobiles and wearables that aim to provide a means of “tracking” daily movements, sleep and nutrition. The technology that presently exists mostly focuses on “data gathering” and motivation by means to “goal setting” and that’s where the story ends.

If technology wishes to continuously grow in a positive manner and aim at high rate of adaptability, it has to be intelligent. And bringing about this fundamental change has been the driving force behind developing our Central Intelligence Module. Extensive research, consultation and advice from our panel of experts paved the way for this intelligence to take on the manifestation of a “Coach” “Mentor”,“Guide” and other terminologies synonymous with genuinely helping someone in various aspects of life.

People have to be coaxed to trust the fact that chatting with a coach makes us act and behave differently in a positive manner. A coach makes pre-committing to goals helps us make positive changes. By learning and responding to our habits and desires, machine-learning technology has the potential to fundamentally change the way we work.

Can we see a possible integration of Boltt AI with virtual assistants such as Google, Cortana or Siri in the future?

Too early to comment on further tie-ups.

What are they keys things you would like our audience to know about Boltt as a brand and its products?

BOLTT is committed to bringing the best “connected technology” to the world. Our smart solutions around health, fitness and sports performance will guide millions of users to unlock their true potential. With a commitment towards invention, BOLTT is elevating every aspect of human lifestyle and fitness habits. We’ll be showcasing at CES, and soon after, we go live on Kickstarter. From the audience in India, we need you love and support to make a mark as young Indian brand, trying to create waves in the global markets.

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