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Oakley collaborates with Intel to launch smart eyewear, mobile app

Oakley, in partnership with tech titan Intel, has just released its latest product, smart eyewear that features a voice-activated coaching system, tracking performance and integrating various data points through a new mobile application that is being released concurrently.

The new product, called Radar Pace, combines smart eyewear with earbuds and a microphone that responds to voice cues with the Radar Pace app, which interprets data from various sources and uses it to calibrate a coaching program that personalizes over time. The app, currently available on both iOS and Android devices, can also synchronize data from various external sensors like a heart rate monitor or a bicycle?s meter for measuring power output.

?Coaches are resources that are often only available to professional athletes,? said Scott Smith, vice president of strategic partnerships at Luxottica.

?Radar Pace is changing that, bringing professional quality performance technology to athletes of all levels," he said. "It provides a ?virtual trainer? or mentor during running or cycling that provides the help and motivation you need to take performance to a new level.

?By interpreting an athlete?s data in real-time and providing personalized instruction, the eyewear and technology provides information that was hard to come by before, and ultimately transforms how athletes track and understand their performances.?

Cutting-edge technology
The smart eyewear?s hardware broadcasts the Intel partnership, with the voice interaction powered by the company?s Intel Real Speech technology. The app?s capabilities are especially powerful for an accessories company making a first-time excursion into the mobile platform, a sign that Intel?s expertise played a significant role in the rollout of the Radar Pace.

By assimilating data through multiple channels, the Radar Pace app uses its coaching platform as both a conduit and interface for machine learning. The technology itself will use the voice cues in addition to collected metrics such as heart rate, distance and speed to design an ever-evolving workout program for the user, which is then made digestible through Oakley?s coaching platform.

The glasses will also include internal sensors, such as an accelerometer, gyroscope, and sensors for measuring pressure, humidity and proximity.

The sports performance equipment company? which has been a subsidiary of Italian company Luxottica since 2007? had been one of the primary gatekeepers of the wearables market since 2004 when it debuted the Oakley THUMP, a pair of sunglasses with a built-in MP3 player and earbuds.

However, its offerings as of late have not kept up with the recent trends in fitness wearable technology set by companies such as Fitbit and Garmin, trends that tend to focus more on the analysis and collection of metrics, which are then anchored and made accessible by a mobile app. 

Instead, Oakley has elected to dedicate attention to the innovation of its hardware, developing proprietary optical technology and impact protection for its sunglasses.

With the Radar Pace, Oakley announces its intention to compete with brands such as the abovementioned Fitbit in an increasingly overcrowded wearables market that some argue it helped to create.

Metric-based market
Wearable technology has not yet experienced a boom, but the industry has been undergoing healthy growth as multiple players set up the infrastructure to compete in the form of mobile apps? growth that suggests the sector is contributing the formation of something more substantial than a bubble.

Accessories brand Fossil has organically incorporated wearable technology as an amenity to their existing selection of watches, releasing a line of hybrid smartwatches that enable wearers to leverage features such as sleep monitoring and activity tracking (see story).

And earlier this year British automaker Jaguar Land Rover revealed its new Android Wear watch application, giving consumers an unprecedented level of control over their vehicles from afar by allowing them to unlock doors, control car temperature and check fuel levels, all on their phones (see story).

?The goal is to equip athletes with rich information and real-time feedback to enhance performance in a way that is easy to digest, understand and immediately make adjustments,? Mr. Smith said.

?In developing Radar Pace, we conducted a number of studies across all levels of athletes and found that they all use their phone for music, phones calls, texts, emergency purposes, etc.," he said.

?Phones nowadays are miniature computers and something we have on us at all times. It is the right place to hold the data that Radar Pace collects.?