See the original story in Japanese.
As is well known, smart watch is one of the wearable devices gathering much public attention. Even in Japan, some startups focusing on smart watch development exist as well.
Japan’s Veldt, which is working in development and sales of IoT products, had launched a smart watch named Veldt Serendipity in 2014. The team especially insisted on the design as wristwatch. The device provides information from the smartphone a combination of LED light and small display behind the analog dial face, and can also display collected data linked to smartphone apps.
First of all, Veldt Serendipity has reached a high degree of perfection as a wristwatch, so users like that point and are willingly to wear it. Therefore, data acquisition and service provision leveraging these data can be realized, said Veldt CEO Jin Nonogami.
The reason for not adopting full-screen display like Apple Watch is that Nonogami is particular about making “display-less computing” possible. The strong preference for the coexistence of engineering and craftsmanship is attracting users.
At the world’s biggest wristwatch fair Baselworld 2016 held this March, Veldt showcased its new model or collaboration products with Kyoto Denim. He said that they drew much attention as a ‘wearable brand’ overseas. After this, it established a project at Japan’s crowdfunding website Makuake and has already started pre-sales.
In the spotlight, Veldt had last week secured its seed round funding from Accord Ventures and CyberAgent Ventures. The money will be spent for development of its own brand Veldt Serendipity, development of new devices or service expansion for business use.
Veldt was originally developed with so-called ‘executive athletes’ as targets. The team is also considering development of devices such as activity tracker focusing more on grasping health condition, while continuing development of the higher-grade productline.
Also, the team will modify Veldt Serendipity to make it thinner and improve it to be a device which will be easily selected by women.
Coinciding with this fundraising, the team had also announced a plan for OEM (original equipment manufacturer) supply and software licensing of IoT products, excepting Veldt’s brand offered jointly with Japanese electronics company SMK (TSE:6798). The team and SMK have also been jointly developing a circuit for Veldt’s next-term products.
There are so many hurdles upon creating IoT devices. You have to find engineers for development of software as well as hardware, while considering separately both prototyping and mass production. The cost-curve can hardly be lowered through small-lot outputs.
The need to be involved in IoT products development is gradually spreading among players other than electronics companies. While business or services utilizing IoT have seen increased demand, there are obstacles such as the securing of development resources beyond fields including software / hardware / designing / engineering, in addition to ensuring product quality upon commencing mass production or implementing cost control.
Veldt aims to lower the hurdle of the IoT project by investing its knowledge as to development of IoT products / software plus its resource network, and utilizing SMK’s design know-how and production technology based on sufficient past accomplishments in the electronic components field.
As the wearable brand Veldt attracts more attention, demands for its service upon business use is expected to increase as well.
Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy