Bionym’s Nymi Is The Bluetooth Breakthrough Winner of the Year

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Toronto’s Bionym continues to make waves with its password replacement wearable the Nymi, living up to its game changing potential. Yesterday, during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the wearable tech startup took home top honours at the annual Bluetooth Breakthrough Awards.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), made up of over 20,000 member companies, handed out awards across four categories to recipients whom best represented the use of power-efficient Bluetooth to make things smart. With over two billion devices shipping annually, Bluetooth is the wireless technology of choice for developers, product manufacturers, and consumers worldwide. Bluetooth, especially Bluetooth Low Energy (or BLE) is fast becoming the backbone standard for the Internet of Things and within it wearable technology, so being honored by the SIG with a breakthrough award is a pretty big deal.

Bionym’s Nymi won Breakthrough Prototype as well as Overall Winner. Like most wearable tech, the Nymi uses Bluetooth to communicate to smart devices. But what sets the Nymi apart is it’s first-of-its-kind cardiac authentication technology which uses Bluetooth to communicate identity verification to nearby devices and systems.

Identity is the holy grail of the Internet of Things and any device that is able to do this in a fast, easy and secure manner has the potential to change our life. If the Nymi succeeds at accurately confirming who you are just by wearing it, it could very well become the must-have wearable device we have been waiting for. A device that authenticates and authorizes us with the growing smart things around us has far-reaching effects on the way we do banking, open our doors, start our cars, access our emails, buy our next coffee and more.

The use of Bluetooth for the Nymi is critical. “The Nymi could not exist without Bluetooth Low Energy,” Bionym CEO and Founder Karl Martin told Betakit. “BLE makes it feasible to have one device (i.e., the Nymi) connect with a variety of other devices for very short bursts without draining the battery. Without BLE, the Nymi would have a battery life measured in hours rather than days. Furthermore, being a widely embraced standard, the BLE enables the Nymi to offer near ubiquitous connectivity with other devices out there”.

As the Nymi is intended to be at the centre of an ecosystem, incorporating all Bluetooth enabled devices without the need of a smartphone as an intermediary, it is no surprise to see Bionym recognized as a breakthrough device by the Bluetooth SIG. “Bionym, our overall winner, is an excellent example of how the power-efficient, intelligent connectivity of Bluetooth Smart makes it possible for developers and OEMs to reimagine their products in a way that makes the consumers’ lives more convenient, smarter and better,” said Suke Jawanda, Bluetooth SIG CMO.

Other winners from this year’s program included an app that collects vehicle information from Automatic Labs; a Bluetooth Smart Finger Pulse Oximeter from Nonin Medical Inc. and an Arduino-based brain-controlled prosthetic created by fifteen-year old Shiva Nathan.

The judging panel was made up of SIG staff and some heavy weights in the tech sector including Rackspace’s Robert Scoble, Victoria Woollaston from the Daily Mail and Ken Denmead from GeekDad. As the overall winner, Bionym won a trip and free exhibition space at the Bluetooth World 2014 which will be held in San Jose in April.

Tom Emrich

Tom Emrich

As a writer, consultant and community builder, Tom Emrich uses his passion for new technologies to act as a catalyst to bring on the future. He founded We Are Wearables, an organization that rallies the tech community together to learn, discuss and celebrate the wearable tech space in order to foster adoption and facilitate innovation. We Are Wearables currently has chapters in Toronto and Chicago. Tom writes regularly about wearables and other emerging technologies for MobileSyrup, BetaKit and Designers of Things. He also works with startups, and large organizations as an advisor and consultant offering assistance on product development, marketing and organizational strategy.