mattress industryproduct development

Sleep Number Delivers the Goods at CES

“Daddy, you mean to tell me you grew up at a time when you had to use a phone that was tied to the wall? You had to actually get in your car and visit a store to buy something, and your bed didn’t tell you anything about your body while you slept? Were there dinosaurs when you were little, Daddy?” Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 4.44.54 PM

This conversation is going to replace the one I had with my parents. You know the one… “When I was a kid we didn’t have television and if we wanted to roll down the windows of the car, we had to reach over and crank the handle. Now go outside and dig a hole.”

Sleep Number launched their new mattress called the x12 bed. Billed as the smartest bed ever created, it can alleviate snoring, track your sleep patterns and provide reports, as well as give you advice on how to improve your sleep. It will also adjust to your position, comfort level, and temperature preference, massage you, and more. In January of 2008, Leggett & Platt brought a concept bed called the Starry Night to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Our system measured the sleeper’s biometrics, reported back with suggestions on how to improve sleep, massaged you, and let you dial in the perfect position and temperature, much like the x12 – plus it added a killer home theater experience to the master suite. So what is the biggest difference between the two? Sleep Number commercialized the idea!

My goal is not to point out we were first, but instead to celebrate the move by Sleep Number. They have done something nobody else has ever done. They have brought technology into the bedroom in a way that will, in my opinion, redefine how people look at their mattress and sleep.

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Sleep is just as important to health as diet and exercise. Now consider that for diet you can get some simple blood work done to help you measure your current state, or for exercise you just jump on the scale to see how you are doing. If someone asks how you slept last night and you tell them, “Just fine, thanks,” how do you know? I mean how do you REALLY know because until recently in the consumer market we haven’t been able to measure sleep? You’d think someone in the mattress industry would have brought that solution to market, but instead we look to Fitbit or even the old Zeo to help us figure out our sleep. Now we have technology from my good friends at BAM Labs that can actually be integrated into the sleep set itself. Am I the only one that thinks this is a really big no-brainer?!

How great would it be to be able to take your sleep report into your doctor and show him the negative impact your new meds were having on your sleep? Is that relevant? What if your parents lived in another state and are getting older and you can’t be there all the time to look after them? If you logged in and looked at their sleep report for the last 30 days, do you think that could tell you something useful about their health? What if youScreen Shot 2014-01-13 at 4.45.33 PM
had the ability to adjust the temperature or comfort level of your mattress and discovered that you slept much better at certain settings? Could that come in handy?

There are so many things I am not even touching on here but I think you get the idea. It cracks me up when people talk about increasing the frequency of a mattress purchase. Some think that a clever marketing campaign is the key, which can actually be very effective, but isn’t the better solution simply to innovate and create compelling new products that consumers just HAVE TO HAVE so we drive them into the market?! Tech sells and there has been a big movement toward monitoring biometrics over the last few years. Sleep Number is connecting to the other, HUGE macro trend of  product personalization, so they really are getting it right on several fronts.

If by now you are wondering why Leggett & Platt didn’t bring Starry Night to market? We created the concept bed to show the industry we were thinking outside of the box and
hoping to inspire people in the business a different way; plus, it is not really a core competency of our company. I don’t know if we inspired Sleep Number, but I sure am Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 4.45.24 PMglad something motivated their innovation because x12 is going to have a really big impact on everyone in this industry.

Will it be successful? Parts of it will and parts of it probably won’t, but that doesn’t matter because they are on the path.

My hat is off to the Sleep Number team. You have done an incredible job getting this product ready for prime time and the impact you have made so far at CES has been a home run. Thank you for thinking outside the box and helping us all see things through a different lens today.

So what do you think – will consumers embrace this kind of technology? Share your thoughts in the comments section PLEASE!

2 thoughts on “Sleep Number Delivers the Goods at CES

  1. This Sleep Number Bed is interesting technology but it is not for the average consumer at $8,000. It is for early adopters who are interested in Quantified Self applications but its an overpriced system and will be out of date before the mattress wears out. Measuring movement does not measure brainwaves, so I would rather have a modulated system that can be more cost effective and provide better data. If you buy this bed you put “all your eggs” in one basket.

    In terms of Fitbit type companies versus Mattress manufacturers, the core competencies are totally different. Adding technology by mattress companies is more marketing hype for awareness than it is being committed to consumer health and wellness. I think this Sleep Number announcement is marketing.

    1. I agree Bruce at $8,000 it is not for everyone however, they are going to put the biometric package in beds at lower price points as well in the near future or at least that is how I understood it. I also agree that they are not measuring brain waves but movement can tell you a lot about your sleep and knowledge is potential power. Movement, coupled with heart rate, breathing etc. can give you some great information to help you understand your sleep better so you can improve your sleep. I have worked with their biometric partner BAM Labs, closely myself over the years and they are the read deal. I think the biggest thing about what these guys have done is to cross the line in to the tech space in a way that hasn’t been done before which should inspire others in the industry to innovate in a similar way. That is a good thing for the industry as I see it. Thanks for reading Bruce, you have some great insight.

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