by Zuriñe Dopacio González

September 18, 2014

Interview with Juliana Chua from Zensorium, speaker at WT I conference 2014 Asia

1. You are coming from a corporate background before you founded your startup. How did you come up with the idea for founding Zensorium?

The idea originated when my CEO was working in Japan to consumerize healthcare. However we decided to take on the fitness and wellness segment first, where there exist the opportunity to instill lifestyle changes. We saw the trend where 75 million US adults used their mobile devices to access health-related information in 2012, up from 61 million in 2011. In 2017, 50 percent of mobile users are also expected to download a health app. Where consumers desire to control their health and are increasingly taking an active role, there is however a lack of enabling devices. Zensorium was thus founded in December 2011 with a mission to improve the quality of life with innovative sensors and solutions.

2. You will present your company’s first product Tinké at the upcoming WTconference in Asia on October 8. The topic of your speech is “Simplify your Life with Wearable Technology”. How does Tinké work and how does it simplify my life?

We have reviewed long and hard about how factors such as cost of care and quality and ease of service are crucial in determining how well consumerism of healthcare will be accepted as the new normal. When putting Tinké together, we have purposively integrate mobile technology and social media for today’s modern healthcare provider seeking to initiate change in an ever-evolving industry. There are 2 key features in Tinké to quantify your fitness and stress. By taking a fitness test in 30 seconds, Tinké provides a Vita index that puts together 3 elements measured to represent your cardio. You can also take a stress test in 60 seconds to change your breathing patterns and assess your well your body is feeling. The simplicity of measuring from your fingertip with a featherlight device that weighs at 10 grams and 7mm sleek has surprised all of our users.

3. What kind of sensors are you used in the device, how long does the battery last, how much does the device cost?

This shift towards consumerism is a direct consequence of an unsatisfactory healthcare system which is characterized by high costs, lack of access, and unsatisfying experiences. We use optical sensors for Tinké that are similar to what you find in medical devices. However Tinké retails at an affordable price of $119/129 USD for iOS and Android models respectively, available at shop.zensorium.com and in Apple resellers stores globally. While the iOS model does not require battery, the Android model with Bluetooth lasts up to 30 days on when fully charged.

4. You are based in Singapore. How is the wearables scene there? Are people wearing a lot of technology already? Are a lot of companies focusing on wearables? Are they industry giants or startups?

We demo-ed Tinké in US in 2012 and started retail both online and in stores in 2013 across 30 countries worldwide. While we are based in Singapore, North America remains as our key market with their high receptivity towards innovative sensors and wearables. Nevertheless, we observed that the Singapore crowd is warming up to wearables and the market has begun to brew since late 2013. There is a good mix of industry giants and startups that we have met with in Singapore in this year.

5. What is your favorite wearable technologies product besides your own and why?

Personally as a consumer, I like UP24 for its design and how it is built to be an everyday wear although it fall short of sensing capabilities about how your body is feeling. There is also Basis that makes up for (part of) the sensing capabilities that I’m looking for. However the design and wearability can be improve. From our experience, the line between design and functionalities is extremely blurred when building wearable technologies for bodily measurements. I believe every company have made hard choices for their design based on what they know is best for the target users. With Tinké, our goal is to provide simplicity and accurate measurements from within yourself.

Juliana Chua is speaking at the WT I conference 2014 Asia in Taipei on October 8.