When we met Rudy Bottin here in Hong Kong late last summer, he only had a product concept on paper. Only a bit over 7 months later, he has successfully developed a working prototype of his fitness technology product.
In this case study, Rudy explains how he went from idea to delivered product – working with one of our partner manufacturers – and the challenges faced along the way.
Help us bring the Ahera Fitness – Osia to market and get your device before everyone else.
Rudy, please tell us a bit about your background
Hello, first of all, thank you for this interview. I am the CEO and one of the Co-founders of Ahera.
I have always been in the sports industry as an athlete or part of the development process of sports goods.
I moved to Hong Kong with my wife 3 years ago, and decided to create my design studio – The Pixel Studio – working with international brands such as Salomon, Catalyst case, or Cébé.
I have worked many years to develop products for multiple brands, I thought it was time to develop my own sports brand.
How did you come up with this product idea?
As I just mentioned, sports take a big place in my life. More than 20 years out of 30 living around sports as an athlete or product developer. Plus, I have always been interested in the latest SportTech accessories and I have always recorded all my training sessions.
This is a very important point in order to know you are improving, getting better but also your weaknesses. Athletes are always ready to share a remote competition with friends, this is a great source of motivation especially during this COVID-19 situation.
As an ultra trail runner, indoor training is not my favorite part of the journey but it is compulsory to become stronger and remain injury-free.
I couldn’t find any device and platform offering a connected device, social platform and strong interaction between the users this is why I have decided to create my own product.
What exactly can I do with the Ahera Osia?
Osia will become your best friend for all your fitness sessions. Our innovative wearable allows you to plan, track, share and analyze every session, without any restriction.
Via our dedicated application, set ambitious goals, tailor your training, streamline your activity and advance your fitness regime with our innovative app and integrated fitness wearable.
How does the Ahera Osia differ from other fitness wearables?
We are more than just a fitness sensor or just another application. We have developed the entire solution in order to create a neat experience for our users.
We have pushed to maximum limits by designing the heart of our sensor. Osia’s heart is equipped with the latest technologies in order to track your workouts like never before. Our sensor is a pure State of the art motion sensor technology.
In addition to these features, you will be able to follow your training in real-time as your sensor will detect all your movements and count the repetitions, series for you.
This will allow you to allow focus on the execution of your exercises and not worrying about counting your reps or remembering your training routine.
Did you design the product in-house or get outside help?
Our team is composed of 5 team members and 2 of them have a strong creative background as Industrial designer or 3D modeler. This is how we managed to develop many versions of our products and applications in a short period of time.
For example, when we decided to change our idea from connected dumbbells to connected wearable, our team was able to create more 50 different designs for the hardware plus 3 different complete application layouts so we could show to future users and receive instant feedback within a month.
You signed up for the Starter Package in July 2019. How did it help you with the process?
The company was not even incorporated at this moment. Indeed, we signed up in July 2019 with Chinaimportal.com and the company was officially incorporated in September.
We subscribed in order to have access to all the documents database.
Plus, we knew the process of supplier selection could take a while, as we didn’t want to work with a supplier but with a strong partner.
Early on, we introduced you to Agilian Technology. What was it like working with them to develop the prototype?
We have worked in partnership with Agilian Technology from the very beginning and the first rough sketches.
They understood our idea very quickly and were very responsive. This speed was very valuable for us as we wanted to bring our product as early as possible onto the market.
We also had the chance to meet them in person at multiple stages of the development – early idea stage, prototyping and soon manufacturing – as they are based 1 hour away from our headquarters.
This transparency was very important, they have acted as a real partner and not just a supplier.
Did you also approach other manufacturers?
To be honest, we have tried to talk with other manufacturers but none of them were able to offer half of what Agilian Technology was able to offer us. Our choice was pretty simple to make at the end.
What kind of challenges did you deal with during prototype development?
Our initial idea was to create a range of connected dumbbells. Our creative team developed the entire range, and we were ready for prototyping and manufacturing but we have decided to stop this idea as we couldn’t find a valid and affordable solution to ship our products worldwide.
This is the reason why we have decided to design wearable products.
Our creative team was able to develop the wearable from the first sketch to a manufacturing-ready product in less than a month. During this period, they created more than 50 different designs and 3D prints with multiple design features according to the needs of our new potential customers.
During this period the quick replies from Agilian Technology were very valuable, the project moved very fast from connected dumbbells to connected fitness wearable devices.
You recently launched your Indiegogo campaign. Where can our readers learn more?
We wanted to offer a very interesting deal for our first adopters, this is the reason why we have decided to launch our pre-orders using Indiegogo.
And of course on the different social media such as Facebook and Instagram.
When do you plan to deliver the first batch of products?
We actually work on tuning the last details before we start the manufacturing part and making sure our application works perfectly on all devices, iOS, and Android.
We are very confident to deliver our products before September 2020.
About Rudy Bottin
Rudy is a French 3D artist based in Hong Kong. After working for many years for some of the most famous sports, automotive and watch brands, he decided to move to Hong Kong and create his own Design studio – The Pixel Studio.
Growing up and developing products in the sports industry has motivated him to start his own sports brand. As an experienced trail-runner and living in Hong Kong where space is limited, Rudy decided to create a range of fitness connected products that will suit his needs.