By Chris Benham, co-founder and director of Inspired Jewellery Ltd., and Angelka Vegar, marketing coordinator of Inspired Jewellery Ltd.
The world’s first contactless payment ring has been funded through Kickstarter, achieving 43 percent more than its goal, with more than 2,000 backers. The backers pledged 110,182 British pounds ($158,000) to help bring this project to life.
The ring is called Kerv, and although there are other smart rings on the market, Kerv is the first ring that allows you to make a payment simply by swiping your hand over a contactless payment terminal. We spoke to one of Kerv’s founders, Philip Campbell.
Campbell and the team behind Kerv have backgrounds in the payments, digital, creative and electrical engineering industries.
“We worked on a number of innovative projects in the FinTech sector, but we felt that they weren’t fulfilling their potential, and neither did the other products in the market. We felt we could do it better. Our goal was to make a piece of wearable technology that was desirable and looked more like a fashion item than a piece of technology. Nobody wants to wear ugly jewelry. It’s as simple as that.”
The ring comes in seven colors. Its design was developed by creative director, Dean Leybourn. “Dean and I have worked together for over 15 years, and he's a significant influence on the overall concept.”
And it would seem that people do want to wear it, with such a positive response from more than 2,000 backers pledging their money to get their hands (or fingers) on Kerv. It shows that there is demand for this wearable technology.
Kerv is being marketed to those who are young and active, whose minds are on which mountain to climb next or which gig to attend on Friday. Not concerned with the details, they just want to do it, be there and jump right in.
Currently in the production phase, it will be interesting to follow the journey of this new product concept—a wearable that aims to blend a good-looking aesthetic with useful technology. Executed well, it will provide many opportunities for the company, including opportunities to partner with banks, sports and lifestyle brands looking for clever ways to capture the younger, ‘less is more’ audience. You only need to look at the success of minimalist wallets from the likes of Bellroy, echoing the sentiment of millennials whose daily grind is to ditch the excess.
Campbell points out another group of consumers who have showed positive interest in Kerv. “One of the best responses we have received is from people that lack dexterity in their hands, be it the elderly or some disabled users. We are currently working with some disabled users and groups to help refine the product for this group as it could provide significant benefits. We are very keen to see if we can help support this audience”.
Initial plans were to sell Kerv directly online but the firm is now actively exploring the potential to sell via retail partners, specifically jewelry retailers. “This offers a great opportunity for users to see, touch and try the ring which we have seen leads to a very positive impression.”
There’s no doubt that smart rings are on the rise, only last week the OURA Ring was unveiled at CES 2016. But OURA serves a different function — it assesses your body and sleep patterns to help you live a balanced, healthy life. The NFC Ring (also funded through Kickstarter) unlocks doors and smartphones, and Ringly, the ring that most looks like a traditional piece of jewelry, allows you to receive notifications from apps on your smartphone. Kerv claims to be the first ring to allow contactless payments.
When released to the general public, Kerv will retail for 49.99 British pounds ($71).
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