Nokia is the latest tech company to jump into the massively growing digital health sector. Nokia has just announced its plan to acquire the French digital health company Withings for 170 million euros, which translates to approximately $190 million. Nokia has been lagging behind other tech giants such as Samsung, Apple and LG for a couple of years now. To bounce back from all the losses the company faced over those years, Nokia bought one of the leading digital healthcare companies out there. This move will be a positive change for the company and will hopefully turn things around for them. Nokia will finalize the deal in the third quarter of 2016.
Nokia’s President and CEO Rajeev Suri said in his press statement, “We have said consistently that digital health was an area of strategic interest to Nokia, and we are now taking concrete action to tap the opportunity in this large and important market… With this acquisition, Nokia is strengthening its position in the Internet of Things (IoT) in a way that leverages the power of our trusted brand, fits with our company purpose of expanding the human possibilities of the connected world, and puts us at the heart of a very large addressable market where we can make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives.”
Nokia To Acquire Withings: The Internet Of Things
Withings, located in Moulinex, France, was cofounded in 2008 by Eric Careel and Cedric Hutchings. Withings came to mainstream attention when it launched its Activité watches. Activité is a Swiss made watch that tracks health data, such as steps taken throughout the day, and user’s sleep patterns. Using this data it develops a personalized activity and wellness plan by syncing the data to an iPhone through its affiliated Health Mate app. Moreover, it has the capability to automatically switch time zones when a user travels to a different country. The watch is currently available in two colors: A sleek black pattern with an orange accent and a sophisticated white face with a blue accent and will retail for $450.
Other notable products of Withings include Pulse Ox, an advanced activity tracker that captures total steps walked in a day, distance covered, elevation climbed, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and calories burned.
Aura is another revolutionary product of Withings. Aura is a high tech alarm clock that features a controllable lamp that changes luminosity by sensing its surroundings. It also constantly monitors room temperature and adjusts it accordingly. Aura features a built-in music player that streams music according to the time of the day, so it will stream relaxing music during nighttime and when it’s time to wake up it will play energizing music. Withings also offers a surveillance camera, smart scales, thermometers and other smart home devices.
Nokia’s Motives Behind Buying Withings
Given the popularity of smart home tech and the expansive catalog of smart devices that Withings offers, Nokia wanted to invest heavily in the market of the Internet of Things (IoT) and it will be Nokia’s first notable consumer tech acquisition in years, the last being the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, which helped develop its mobile network infrastructure.
The smartphone industry has become a cutthroat place. Every day a new smartphone manufacturer pops up, each offering something unique to the table. Nokia hasn’t seen much innovation over the years and to make matters worse, many of the current smartphone companies have launched products that are way more revolutionary than what Nokia created. All of this makes it incredibly difficult for the Finnish company to excel in the mobile industry.
Hence it has made its intentions clear in buying Withings, as it looks to capitalize on IoT and the ease of use it offers in connecting and controlling smart tech devices through a cloud based infrastructure.
Withings will become a division of Nokia Technologies, which has produced other tech products such as the Ozo virtual reality camera and Android-powered N1 tablet.
Future Of Nokia And Digital Healthcare
Internet of Things is still in its infancy, but digital healthcare is a goldmine. Nokia believes its market growth rate will be 37% over the next five years and is the fastest growing healthcare industry for the period of 2015-2020. Hutchings was really optimistic about the buyout. “Since we started Withings, our passion has been in empowering people to track their lifestyle and improve their health and wellbeing,” said Hutchings. “We’re excited to join Nokia to help bring our vision of connected health to more people around the world.”
It won’t be a clear road for Nokia to follow through as other digital health companies such as Fitbit are already heavily invested in producing digital health tracking equipment and more tech companies are expected to follow suit.