smart phone

How Does Apple Watch Score Against @WorkTechWork Wearable Predictions?

Apple Watch does not get a perfect score on the WorkTechWork Wearable Predictions that were made in March.  Read on to find out why.  Each prediction is listed, with comments on Apple Watch and a link to more details from the recent industry watch.

1)      Wearables of the future will be more than fad devices; they will satisfy customer needs.

SCORE!  Apple Watch goes beyond tracking fitness and is more than a fad device.  “The list of features is a mile long,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said when introducing Apple Watch.  While not all of these features have been shared with the public, many of the features will satisfy real customer needs.  There is no doubt Apple understands wearable technology should enrich the lives and health of people and make a difference, a difference from technology working for people.

More on Prediction 1.

2)      Where wearables are silo solutions now, in the future they will be better integrated with other wearables and the wider Internet of Things.

SCORE!  Apple Watch integrates with Apple’s HealthKit, one of the platform announcements covered in the Wearables Industry Watch for this prediction.

More on Prediction 2.

3)      Companies that combine the information of multiple sensors in multiple wearable devices will create more value for their consumers than producers of single wearable devices.

SCORE! Apple Watch combines the information from sensors in the watch and sensors in the iPhone to create Wearable Alpha, value above the value a customer receives based on the use of just the watch or just the phone.

 

AppleWatchWearableAlpha

More on Prediction 3.

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.

SCORE! The Apple Watch uses an accelerometer and gyroscope along with optical sensors that use both visible and infrared light.  No other wearable in the market does this.  Through the HealthKit integration Apple and app developers will be able to leverage analytics to derive insights.

More on Prediction 4.

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

TBD: $349 is where pricing starts for the Apple Watch.  There is always a premium for Apple products, especially when they are new.  For now we have to wait to see what happens over time with both the price of the Apple Watch and the costs for the sensors inside.  Bluetooth, NFC and other sensor technologies in the watch have come down in recent years but the focus of the prediction is to look into the future, seeing the costs going down.

More on Prediction 5.

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

TBD: The jury is out still because Apple has not released specifics on the battery for the Apple Watch.  This prediction has two components, energy storage and energy consumption.

The storage question status is TBD but it will be answered soon enough (the battery will probably not benefit from 300% increased capacity from the battery life “Holy Grail” mentioned in the Industry Watch, but we can hope, right?).

Lower energy consumption comes through design, software and functionality that is wearable specific.  Apple did not shrink an iPhone and put a watch band on it; Apple Watch was designed as a wearable.  But, before I can really give Apple Watch a pass on this aspect, I need to get my hands on one and see how good the battery stands up after several full days of use.

More on Prediction 6.

7)      People are going to use wearable technology to make a statement about who they are.

SCORE!  From Apple.com: “There is an Apple Watch for everyone.”  With three different collections and multiple bands, Apple Watch provides smart watch shoppers with more options for customizing their smart watch than all of the existing smart watches on the market combined.  These options along with the millions of appearances possible for the digital face earn Apple Watch a coveted place as the leader in fashionable wearable products.

More on Prediction 7.

8)      People are going to use undetectable wearable technology by using wearable ultra-sensitive micro sensors, sensors smaller and more sensitive than the innovative seat belt microphone in Audi’s R8 Spyder that enables clear cell phone conversation with the top down at lightning speeds.

N/A – There could be ultra-sensitive micro sensors inside that we are not aware of yet but if you have the Apple Watch on, people are going to see it.

More on Prediction 8.

9)      The debate around ownership of wearables-generated data will continue.

SCORE!  Because the Apple Watch generates data and it integrates with Apple Pay, people are already asking tough questions about data security and privacy.  Apple, however, stands firm that it is in the hardware, not the data business.  As Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Charlie Rose last night, “I think people have a right to privacy. I think that’s going to be a very key topic over the next year or so, and we’ll reach higher and higher levels of urgency as more and more incidents happen.”

Here are some related links:

More on Prediction 9.

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

SCORE!  The Apple Watch is itself contextually aware; it knows when it is on or off your wrist or when your wrist is turned towards you to look at the watch face.  There will, no doubt, be the opportunity for apps and services to be developed that are aimed at enriching customer experiences.

More on Prediction 10.

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.

Next Prediction: Who to Watch For Prediction #6

Previous Prediction: Who to Watch for Prediction #4

Back to Wearable Technology

Wearables Predictions: Who to Watch for Prediction #3

This is the third 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 #3: Companies that combine the information of multiple sensors in multiple wearable devices will create more value for their consumers than producers of single wearable devices.

Wearable Alpha:

It goes without saying that part of the reason for the platform announcements covered in Who to Watch for Prediction #2 is that these companies are motivated to create these platforms because there is greater value created if multiple devices integrate.  Machine to Machine (M2M) communication generates value because humans don’t have to be involved in passing information from one machine to another, something we used to do by hand, which was error prone, or with tapes and floppy disks, which was time consuming.  With wearable devices, the additional value that results combining wearable device information is what I call Wearable Alpha.  Wearable Alpha results when two wearables create more value for a user when integrated than when unintegrated.  Additional Wearable Alpha is created if the two wearable devices are also integrated with other IoT devices and services.

Wearable Alpha by WorkTechWork

 

While players in the wearable space, as well as the greater Internet of Things, should execute focused strategies leveraging their strengths to develop technology, players should not forget that integrated solutions will create more value than unintegrated solutions.  Moreover, players should build business models that extract part of the Wearable Alpha to generate returns for shareholders and investors.

Wearable to Wearable Integrators:

Wearable devices are still nascent technologies, with years to go before the market is fully mature.  We do not know today which wearable device solutions will be on the market in one year and new wearable solutions are coming out all the time.  With so much change it is hard to find companies working to gather data from two separate wearable devices, let alone communicate between them.

Sensoria:  People don’t usually wear more than one watch, but people do wear more than one article of clothing so some low hanging fruit in the multiple wearable space is smart clothing for fitness tracking.  Sensoria Fitness Socks  provide the most accuracy of any step counting wearable to also count altitude changes, distance and, more importantly for the expert runners, cadence, foot landing technique and weight distribution on the foot.  Sensoria also produces a sports bra and a tshirt for heart rate monitoring.  With smart socks and a heart rate monitor, an athlete is on the way to reaping the benefits of Wearable Alpha.

ThisPlace: ThisPlace created a software solution called MindRDR that combines the NeuroSky EEG brainwave sensor with Google Glass to control photo taking and sharing.  In other words, you can take a picture and post it online just by thinking.  Today there are only a few people who will benefit from the Wearable Alpha generated by this particular wearable to wearable integration scenario; however, this opens a whole plethora of opportunities for mind controlling IoT devices.

Sensum:  Sensum provides a platform that integrates data streams from multiple wearable devices and health sensors to analyze the emotional response to events.  This generates tremendous amounts of Wearable Alpha when analyzing marketing and other forms of digital media because now, instead of just watching responses through tinted windows and asking questions, observers can capture an accurate reading of emotional response.

Do you integrate sensor information from multiple wearable devices?  If so,  tell me about it in the comments below or reach out here and lets meet up and chat about your technology.

Wearable to Smart Phone Integration:

There are many solutions that connect a wearable device to the smart phone.  The smart phone itself is becoming in some instances a hub with wearable devices connected to it and in other instances a stepping stone from wearable to cloud.  Smart phones are being built with more and more sensors, some of the same sensors built into wearable devices.  As mentioned in Who to Watch for Prediction #1, smart phones can run apps such as the Moves App and gather information from these sensors.  For the “multiple sensors in multiple devices” portion of this prediction to be fulfilled with a smart phone integration, information generated from smart phone sensors must be used and result in Wearable Alpha.  As of this posting, I have not found a company doing this.  Do you integrate information from both wearable device and a smart phone sensors?

Next Prediction: Who to Watch For Prediction #4

Previous Prediction: Who to Watch for Prediction #2

Back to Wearable Technology

Hey, Mr. Blogger, What Kind of Technology Do You Like?

My last conversation last night among yet another meeting of Silicon Valley technologist minds began with this question, “Hey, Mr. Blogger, What Kind of Technology Do You Like?”

The answer: Any advancement in technology that makes life easier. I am the guy who said, “Don’t work for technology; make technology work for you.”

If you take a look at the topics I touched on last night, you’ll understand that the kinds of technology that can do this encompass a wide range.  Here is a peek at some of the things I talked with people about yesterday:

In the Bathroom: Smart Toilets, Composting Toilets, Electronic Toilets, Smart Toothbrushes

In the Car: Vehicle Safety, Microphone Sensors (Hands-free cell phone conversations in a convertible at over 140 mph with the top down), Technology solving traffic problems, Finding your parked car

In Outer Space: Searching for extraterrestrial life

In Recognition: Voice Recognition, Face Recognition, Pet/Animal Recognition (which is harder than human facial recognition because of the millions of hairs involved)

In Robotics: Factory automation, precision and cost savings, In-home/personal robotics

In Sensors: Reduced costs, millions of uses to make smart everything

In Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence, Ambient IQ, Derivative Intelligence, Intelligent Recruiting and your smart phone as a gateway to all the other things listed here and more…

There were some wild ideas out there. For innovation and idea generation you have to let your mind go to the extremes and then back off a little bit to settle on ideas that can go somewhere. The world has been changed by dreamers who think of the extreme, who mull it over in their minds, who take it inch by inch out to the far reaches, out to dreams which eventually become reality.  I like all technology that works for you and in the process I enjoy learning about all proposed technology innovations, regardless of how extreme.  Eventually ambitious applications of futuristic technologies may be working for you.