Internet of Things

Questions for Intel at IoT World 2015

iot-world-300x250The who’s who of IoT devices, solutions and enthusiasts will convene in San Francisco May 12-13 at the Moscone Center for Internet of Things World 2015.  This includes Rose Schooler, VP of the Internet of Things Group and GM of the IoT Strategy and Technology Office for Intel who will give a keynote address discussing the opportunities and challenges of scaling IoT solutions during the event.

“The IoT will take data, create information, analyze that information and transform every industry, the way it works, the way it’s optimized, and create new business models, not to mention the way we live and the way we play,” Schooler said in a video on Intel’s website dedicated to Intel at Internet of Things World 2015 that also includes details about what Intel will demo during the conference expo.

Knowing where to start is one of the challenges developers face when contemplating solutions with the impact to transform every industry.  Intel is offering IoT solutions at all levels from “security technologies as a foundation, to silicon and software, offering those each as individual building blocks but also offering pre-configured and pre-validated solutions to accelerate that deployment,” Schooler explains to prospective conference attendees.

These are the questions I hope to find answers for during Schooler’s keynote:

Are promises of insights that will transform every industry hype or reality?  Can IoT really boost productivity, reduce costs and downtime, improve efficiency, optimize operations, increase throughput, save energy and improve and enrich lives?  How can the value of IoT solutions be realized amid the challenges in the space?

Will you be at IoT World with an answer to these questions or a compelling IoT solution?  If so, drop me a line and lets plan to meet up.  Tickets and free expo passes are available to IoT World by visiting http://iotworldevent.com/

There is no One-Size-Fits-All IoT Solution

A challenge with monetization of IoT across all segments is there is no one-size-fits-all IoT solution.  It is also impossible to implement a single HW or SW solution in any segment and realize the full potential of IoT (see “Wait and See” in this post – case is made for orchestrating niche applications of wearable technology to create a wearable network effect).

IoT means disruption.  Industrial IoT in particular illustrates this point.  Since the industrial revolution no single technology tool has potentially been this disruptive; computing didn’t do it; the web didn’t do it; social didn’t do it; mobile didn’t do it.  IoT hits industrial at its heart as not just a single tool but an arsenal of tools whose impact is unknown, hence the challenge of monetization.  It’s clear those who fail to appropriately implement value-generating IoT solutions will lose to those who actively do.  There can be no such thing as passively adopting industrial IoT.

FootLogger: Wearable Shoe Insoles That Sync & Charge Wirelessly

Check out my latest #WearableTech piece published on WearableWorldNews by clicking here

 

Audience raises hands indicating wearable ownership/use at #KOTRA2014 Connected Self Panel September 24, 2014 in Santa Clara, CA

Audience raises hands indicating wearable ownership/use at #KOTRA2014 Connected Self Panel September 24, 2014 in Santa Clara, CA

 

WorkTechWork Founder Josh Bradshaw with 3L Labs CEO Jinwook Lee in Santa Clara, CA September 25, 2014

WorkTechWork Founder Josh Bradshaw with 3L Labs CEO Jinwook Lee in Santa Clara, CA September 25, 2014

 

 

IoT Internet of Thursdays Future Trends Panel Discussion

RJ Carver, who writes for Plug and Play, put together this piece on the IoT Future Trends Panel Discussion held on August 21 at Plug and Play in Sunnyvale, CA.

 

Internet of Thursdays - Aug 21, 2014

Left to Right: Redge Snodgrass, Founder & CEO of WearableWorld.com; Andrew Clark, Director of Strategy for IBM’s Venture Capital Group; Stefano Marzani, CEO of DQuid; Josh Bradshaw, Founder of WorkTechWork.com; Ludovic Copere, Manager of Growth Ventures and Innovation for Sony; Eduardo Pinheiro, CEO and Co-Founder of Muzzley.

 

 

Wearables Predictions: Who to Watch for Prediction #10

Skully Helmets captured my attention in January at the VLAB Young Entrepreneurs event.  That night Marcus Weller, Skully Helmet CEO, told an amazing story about his inspiration for the worlds smartest helmet.  Following an accident where he totaled his bike when the car in front of him slammed on its brakes while he was reading a street sign, Weller had a dream where he was reliving the accident.  “But I noticed something very different,” Weller said, “I had GPS navigation kind of floating in front of me like a hologram and I watched as the car hit the brakes and I went around it.”  When internet searches returned no results for the helmet, Weller built a team and product that, among other features, incorporates location based GPS navigation into a helmet.  Location is a form of context.  The point of sharing Weller’s story is to introduce context and the final industry watch for the 10th wearable prediction.

 Josh Bradshaw with Marcus WellerJosh Bradshaw of WorkTechWork.com with Marcus Weller, Skully Helmets CEO August 14, 2014

 Prediction # 10:  Contextual awareness will be enabled by wearable device adoption and become the next big thing in marketing and customer experience.

This is the tenth and final post in a Wearable Industry Watch Series for each of the 10 Wearables Predictions.  Visit the Wearable Industry Watch Series for details.

Weller’s contextually aware helmet is one example of a person’s location context being used to generate value for the wearer.  The wearer’s experience is enriched with information.  My first introduction to technology enabled contextual awareness came through Jeff Stevens, Founder & CEO of ContextM.  Stevens rightfully demoted content from its place as king in the world of mobile marketing and claims that in mobile marketing “Context is king, and content is queen.”

How so?  Enabled by computational power and data from data warehouses, social streams and wearable devices, marketers can go beyond targeting based on generalized segmentation:  relevant messages can be sent to a person by creating a complete understanding of several different forms of a person’s context.  These include but are not limited to a person’s location, who a person is with, where a person has come from, and, with the power of predictive analytics, where the person might be going next.  (For those interested in privacy, check out Who To Watch for Prediction #9 and Small Towns and Connected-World Privacy.)

Enrich Customer Experiences With Wearable Data

Context is about more than targeted marketing based on ambient intelligence; context is also about enriching customer experiences.  Customer experiences can be enriched in many ways which means there are applications of context out there yet to be discovered in the world of wearables.  Context can also be built in such a way that a device can understand its own context as well as the context of the user.

Sensor Platforms, which was recently acquired by Audience, developed FreeMotion™ Library, a software solution that enables sensor enabled device applications to better understand both the contexts and, where possible, the intent of a user engaging with a device.  For the purposes of this discussion we can consider smart phones as wearables because of their numerous sensors (and decorative cases people use to make a statement about who they are; see Who to Watch for Prediction #7).

FreeMotion™ enabled applications can understand various device contexts such as whether the phone is in a pocket, in a hand or sitting on a flat surface.  Similar to other fitness tracking wearables and the Moves App, user contexts can be derived from sensing current motion in the device.  Combined with location or other forms of context, the device can respond differently because sitting on the sofa at home is quite a different context from sitting in a train or sitting in a meeting at work.  As sensors consume energy, a focus on resource management is also made in order to improve energy consumption on the device (learn more about energy consumption in Who to Watch for Prediction #6).

Vehicles, Wearables & Context

No one is going to wear a car, but the car is becoming contextually aware.  Vehicles are now able to detect and communicate with phones and soon will be able to interact with other wearable devices.   We can look at contextual aware cars such as Google’s self-driving car, which has to be acutely aware of its own environment, for inspiration on context with wearables.

Lane assist technologies and automatic braking such as those  demonstrated in this stunt video by Hyundai are becoming available in a number of vehicles.

Mercedez Benz is developing amazing innovations for their smart cars.  Check out this Mercedes Benz contextual car demo with Robert Scoble, Startup Liaison Officer for Rackspace

And when it comes to amazing, a return to Weller and the contextually aware smart helmet is in order.  People are willing to support contextually aware innovation.  Only a few days into an Indiegogo campaign, Weller and his team have exceeded their $250k goal for the AR-1 by an astonishing 466% with over $1.1 million raised.  I tested it out at their offices yesterday and it is better than all the hype.Josh Bradshaw with AR-1

This is the last post in the Wearable Industry Watch.  For more details click here.

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Wearables Predictions: Who to Watch for Prediction #7

People take pride in what they wear; fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Wearable technology entrepreneurs are taking product design seriously, serious enough to be called fashionable, thus enabling people to make a statement about who they are with a wearable device.  Are you making a statement with wearable technology? 

This is the seventh post in a Wearable Industry Watch Series for each of the 10 Wearables Predictions.  Follow this blog or Twitter handle @WorkTechWork to be notified of each part of the series. To view all predictions and links to the other parts of the series, visit the Wearable Industry Watch Series.ShineNodSenseFitbitToryBurch

Prediction #7:  People are going to use wearable technology to make a statement about who they are.

How many of you have worn a fitness tracker even though you knew the battery was dead?  Why did you do it?  Zero tracking is done during the day a dead fitness tracker is worn and folks do not get value from the lovely feel of silicone bands on their wrists so your motivation must have come from some other kind of value, value from making a statement about who you are.

Perhaps on the day the fitness tracker is dead, the statement is to yourself.  “Self, I’m going to be more active today even though I know this thing is off” and maybe a little, “Self, p.s. please remember to charge this tonight.”

I’m not sure you’ll do that many days before dropping the fitness tracker from your wardrobe.  It is more likely that the statement you make with the dead tracker on your wrist is to others because they cannot tell it is dead.  The dead fitness tracker still conveys your active lifestyle, early tech adopter mentality, or any other reason you would want someone to see a fitness tracker on your wrist.

Enough on dead fitness trackers, let’s have a look at some wearable products that are actually shaping up to be fashionable, products to keep an eye on to see if people start using wearable technology to make a statement about who they are.

Misfit Shine

In Who to Watch for Prediction #1 all single purpose fitness trackers including Misfit Shine are categorized as fad devices; however, the Misfit Shine looks cool, you can pick its color, and it is versatile in where it can be worn.  Some options include a few different choices of bands, a sport necklace or a prettier bloom necklace, or even a simple clip.  This product scores when it comes to remembering that a fitness tracker is more than just a fitness tracker, it is a fashion accessory people use to make a statement about who they are.

Nod

Nod, first introduced in Who to Watch for Prediction #2, is a gesture control ring.  As a piece of jewelry the design is important.  Nod places the bulky part of the ring under the finger so from a closed fist it looks like you’re wearing a thick, black band.  Not bad for a masculine look.  Nod designers are conscious of this and are contemplating ways Nod could be stylized to appeal to different genders; let’s see how they do in the coming months.  For now, though, like the original Model-T Ford, Nod can be pre-ordered in any color you want so long as that color is black.

Wiacts Sense

Sense by Wiacats is a gesture control device worn on the finger but it does not close completely around the finger to form a ring.  It has a sleek outer cover to shield the sensing components.  There are three colors in pictures on the Wiacts website, black, white and grey.  CEO Yaser Masoudnia, who is razor focused on creating a wearable that is easy to use and compatible with as many devices as possible, explained that Sense is not available for pre-order yet as in addition to finite sensing capabilities for IoT device control they are working on other functionalities, including payment authorization, before releasing Sense.

Tory Burch for Fitbit Flex

Fitbit has partnered with luxury lifestyle brand Tory Burch to create accessories for the Fitbit Flex.  These include a bracelet and pendant designs that one would not be surprised to see in a Nordstrom display.

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Wearables Predictions: Who to Watch for Prediction #6

This is the sixth post in a Wearable Industry Watch Series for each of the 10 Wearables Predictions.  Follow this blog or Twitter handle @WorkTechWork to be notified of each part of the series. To view all predictions and links to the other parts of the series, visit the Wearable Industry Watch Series.

Prediction #6: Wearable devices will need less frequent charging because of better energy storage and lower energy consumption.

For an intro to this topic as well as an introduction to Imprint Energy,  a company creating flexible batteries, check out this piece from Wearable World News: The Battery Bottleneck in Wearable Tech.

Better Energy Storage

Battery life is one of the common complaints of Google Glass which has a 570 mAh lithium-polymer battery.  While it does look bulky on the side of an Explorer’s head, the relatively small size does make it possible to charge in two hours.  Speedy recharge time, however, is not what this part of the prediction is about.  Wearable users need better energy storage.

Breakthroughs in energy storage are rare on account of the challenges associated with increasing energy density or storage capacity.  Increasing storage capacity generally negatively impacts charge efficiency, the ability to maintain storage capacity after many cycles of use, recharge, repeat, repeat, repeat…  A small battery with lots of energy that can only be used a few times is no good.

Scott Elrod, Vice President and Director of the Hardware Systems Laboratory research organization at Xerox’s PARC and a team of researchers have found a way to increase energy density 30% by using print technology.  Learn more in this video interview by Robert Scoble, Startup Liaison Officer for Rackspace:

ScobleXeroxParcBattery

 

A 30% improvement on the battery life of Google Glass will get you about 20 more minutes of video recording.  It still isn’t enough.  What if we could get 10x that?

Researchers at Stanford University’s Department of Chemical Engineering published an article July 27, 2014 covering research findings that both improve storage capacity and charge efficiency.   Forbes contributor Gordon Kelly writes in his piece Battery Life ‘Holy Grail’ Discovered. Phones May Last 300% Longer, “In future it would also allow batteries to become smaller (for example, half the size of a current battery but with twice the capacity).”

Size does matter in wearable devices and half the size is certainly something wearable device designers will be interested in as batteries are usually the largest components in wearable devices.

A copy of the research article can be purchased from the journal Nature here:  Interconnected hollow carbon nanospheres for stable lithium metal anodes 

I look forward to seeing this and other improvements in storage capacity and charge efficiency implemented in wearable devices.

Lower Energy Consumption

There are many creative solutions for lower energy consumption.  We’re more likely to see solutions on the market for lower energy consumption prolonging battery life in the near future than we are to see 300% improvement in battery storage capacity.  Lower energy consumption is going to come about because of energy conservation through multiple methods, methods that when combined can provide energy savings that keep wearable devices going longer and longer.

One of the key enablers of wearable device adoption is Bluetooth Low Energy.  With its lower energy consumption, wearable devices can sync with other IoT devices while consuming less power than classical Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

In Kane Fulton’s TechRadar article covering an interview of Noel Hurley, Deputy GM of ARM’s CPU Group, three key energy consumption solutions caught my eye.

  1. Chips specifically designed for particular use cases rather than off-the-shelf chips
  2. Software improvement that reduces CPU usage over new processor design
  3. Stripping functionality of systems down to only elements used in the wearable

ARM is not alone in the battle to reduce energy consumption.  PsiKick is well on its way to completely changing sensing technology by combining ultra-low-power system-on-chip (SoC) design and Sub-Threshold processing, processing that occurs using the energy that leaks through a digital switch even when the switch is off.  PsiKick can then use several different energy harvesting techniques to supply this energy, resulting in endless operation without a battery.  If this technology interests you, visit the PsiKick website or read this article: A Batteryless Sensor Chip for the Internet of Things.

These advancements in wearable energy technology are exciting and I’d love to hear more about efforts to reduce the frequency wearable devices need charging.  Please comment below or reach out and lets chat.

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Wearables Predictions: Who to Watch for Prediction #5

This is the fifth post in a Wearable Industry Watch Series for each of the 10 Wearables Predictions.  Follow this blog or Twitter handle @WorkTechWork to be notified of each part of the series. To view all predictions and links to the other parts of the series, visit the Wearable Industry Watch Series.

Prediction #5: The cost of sensors will continue to go down, thus enabling more uses and innovation with sensors in wearable devices.

Fifty years ago Cray’s 1964 CDC 6600 super computer sold for $8 million (about $55 million in today’s dollars).  Your smart phone can do more than that supercomputer.  It goes without saying that in fifty years one would expect the cost of sensors to go down; however, I actually anticipate the costs will go down dramatically in the next 10 years.

A Look at Sensor Cost Trends:

We’re going to take a tangent here away from wearables and focus for a moment on sensors in general as the sensors used in wearable devices are used in other places and a lot of the innovation that is occurring for sensing in manufacturing, research and development and other applications is benefiting wearable technology as a side perk for this fledgling industry.

A comprehensive report on sensor trends can be found in the Association for Sensor Technology’s Sensor Trends 2014.  There you can learn about development trends in electromechanical measuring, sensor electronics and semiconductor technologies, communication and system integration, packaging, and testing processes for MEMS components.  Several points discussed in the report touch on reasons for lower costs in components, packaging, sensor housings and other areas are attributed to cost savings for sensors.  The report also notes pressure being applied by sensor purchasers to reduce costs and cost reduction as sensor production increases and the industry benefits from economies of scale.

Robert Scoble, Startup Liaison Officer for Rackspace, talks about the decreasing costs of 3D sensors such as the one made by PrimeSense, which he and Shel Israel write about in their book, The Age of Context.  Acquired by Apple in 2013, PrimeSense sensors are used in the Xbox Kinect and have gone from costing over $100 a few years ago, to around $50 last year and now to an estimated $25.  This is ultra-video sensing for less than a trip to the movies with popcorn and soda.  For those who are curious, check out the precision of the Xbox Kinect sensors:

In this clip see Skeleton, Orientation, Muscle & Force and Heart Rate detection.

In this clip see 3D Sensor, 2D Color Camera and Active IR which allows the Xbox to see in the dark by removing ambient room light.

What does this mean for sensor technology?

I’m not sure if wearable sensors will experience 50% year over year cost reductions but lets note some prices here for the record to watch.

To pre-order and outfit oneself with Sensoria smart socks and t-shirt mentioned in Who to Watch for Prediction #3 you’ll be set back $300, $150 for one pair of fitness socks and one anklet and anklet charger, and $149 for a Sensoria Fitness T-Shirt and heart rate monitor bundle.  Another socks bundle offers four pairs of socks for $199.  The fitness t-shirt, sports bra and heart rate monitor are sold separately for $79 each.

For comparison, Hexoskin, whose product has been on the market for a year now, sells a starter kit for $399 that includes a biometric sleeveless shirt, the Hexoskin Bluetooth device and a USB cable.  Additional Hexoskin sleeveless shirts are sold for $179.

OMsignal’s Up & Running Kit can be pre-ordered for $199 and comes with a bio-sensing compression shirt, a data module and a USB charging cable.  A separate short sleeved shirt, the OM Endurance Fitness Short Sleeved sells for $99 and the OM Focus Lifestyle Sleeveless sells for $79.

Similarly, Live Athos is pre-selling a $390 bundle with a shirt ($99), shorts ($99) and Core ($199).

For this prediction to be right, the prices of these and smart clothing with similar features should go down dramatically over the next couple of years on account of sensor cost reductions if these producers pass the sensor cost savings on to their customers.  This should start to happen in the next year so we’ll stop back here and take a look at the prices and see how the price of a quantified jog changes.

There are other prices that ought to be documented here.  Several fitness trackers for both the quantified self and quantified pet come in at or around $99 including Whistle, Polar Loop, Misfit Shine, Nike+ Fuelband SE, Fitbit Flex, Mio, Skechers Gowalk, Sync Burn Fitness Band.  The Jawbone Up sells for $79 and Up 24 for $149.  LG’s FB84-BM also sells for $149 as does the Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit.  I could continue but this is an industry watch of a few companies and products, not a comprehensive review by a team of analysts.

If you are producing sensors, what is happening to your costs?  If you’re building sensors into wearable devices, are you applying pressure on suppliers to get the costs down so that you can attractively price your devices for the market?  If so, comment below or reach out as I’d love to talk.

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Wearables Predictions: Who to Watch for Prediction #4

This is the fourth post in a Wearable Industry Watch Series for each of the 10 Wearables Predictions.  Follow this blog or Twitter handle @WorkTechWork to be notified of each part of the series. To view all predictions and links to the other parts of the series, visit the Wearable Industry Watch Series.

Prediction #4:  Wearables will become more intelligent because of developments in sensor technology and the ability to translate data from these sensors into insight via analytics.

Developments in Sensor Technology:

One of the challenges of wearable electronics is the rigidity of the components and the resulting space requirements to manage ridged components.  Consumers want small, comfortable devices but the inherent rigidity of metal and silicon require that components be kept from bending or flexing or else they can becoming brittle and break, a particularly challenging issue wearable textiles.

Dr. Wenlong Cheng and a team of researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia have come up with a sensor that can bend or be twisted without cracking (read more here).  I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Cheng about this technology last week and the conversation has me excited for potential applications in the wearable industry, as well as the wider Internet of Things because of this material’s fast response times, high sensitivity and stability under lots of different situations.  This technology could disrupt how all wearable devices are designed in the Biosensing Wearables Landscape described by Rock Health. (image source Rock Health)

RockReportWearables4 from Rock Health

Ability to Translate Sensor Data to Insight via Analytics:

Knowing how many steps taken in a day is one thing, being able to detect anomalies in behavior that resulted in more or less steps, or understanding how the number of steps taken in a day affects behavior, particularly spending behavior, is another and data scientist are working hard to translate sensor data into insight.

It is no easy task.  The Cityzen Sciences team produces D-Shirt, a smart shirt that generates 200,000 data points in one hour.   Big data suddenly became humongous data with such finite data for the quantified self.  Fortunately, the team also offers the Cityzen Data platform which enables data collection and storage so that value, created through analytics, can be created from sensor data.

Cityzen is not alone in analyzing wearable data.  Empath Analytics acquires data from multiple wearable devices and is positioned as a Backend-as-a-Service API to help developers create apps leveraging data from wearable devices.  Empath Analytics can collect, parse, and clean data as well as apply machine learning techniques enabling developers the luxury to focus on generating value for users and improving user experience.

Moreover, big players in the space including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others are acquiring sophisticated analytics producing companies with skilled data scientists almost as quick as they can incorporate and build websites.  All that glitters is not gold, though, because it is easy for a bus dev team member to say, “We can turn data into actionable insight” and difficult for a team to actually deliver on that promise.

On a lighter note, what is good for man may also be good for man’s best friend.  Pet wearable players like Whistle  and  Voyce are enabling the quantified pet and using data analytics to enrich the lives of both pets and pet owners.

Lastly, I’ll mention a point on the immense quantities of raw data (recall 200,000 data points and hour from one smart shirt!).  With large data sets, it becomes challenging to identify features in raw data that are meaningful.  Deep learning  may find attributes in quantified self data that humans simply cannot detect.

Are you aware of developments in sensor technology or are you working to translate sensor data into insight?  If so, I want to hear about it so express your thoughts in the comments below or reach out on the contact page.

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