Tag Archives: Fitbit

Wearable Technology Could Become the Future of Day to Day Life

The most recent wave of wearable technology is showing vast
improvements in its development since the first products. Many of the first
attempts such as Fitbit had high prices for products that sometimes were
lacking in accuracy and were not discrete in terms of blending with the user’s
day to day appearance.
Recently, there has been a push for improvements that make
wearable technology more desirable and useful. An attractive feature of
wearable tech is whether it can be ‘invisible’; a lot of the recent innovations
are becoming smaller yet gaining efficiency due to increased power. Wearables
now are more intertwined with fashion as users in the past were likely to not
wear devices due to them standing out. Jewelry is seen as a way of keeping the
technology on the user every day; for example, future innovations could have
the technology in a thin film under something as small as a ring.
A product that is due to be on the market soon is the
eagerly anticipated Apple Watch. The new Apple product is designed to make the
best of smartphone technology available on your wrist. The watch will enable
the user to see notifications, messages, GPS systems and all the useful tools
from a smartphone without having to get out your mobile device. The watch comes
in many different designs so that the consumer can have something stylish as
well as practical. The device most importantly has the potential to manage your
money. You’ll soon be able to manage your bills, make transfers, check
statements and pay with it.
Many wearable technologies are focused around health and
fitness; however one company is involving the technology that senses bodily
functions to be involved with payment systems. The Nymi band recognizes the
unique rhythm of the user’s heart to act as a way authenticating your identity.
It can be linked to devices to use instead of having to type in pin codes,
passwords and soon for payments.
Seamless integration of wearable technology to other devices
has been identified as being very important in the future of the products. The
most common are fitness devices that link with smart devices such as phones,
tablets and laptops to track health information that now can include things
such as BMI, blood alcohol level and even a posture coach. Other technology
goes past just human use to now having collars that can monitor your dog’s
vitals to help check for illness and can be shared directly with the vet.
The future of wearable technology is becoming ever more
efficient and informative. Products are more fashion conscious and
interconnected with other devices to make them more desirable for everyday use
for customers. The question in my mind is how long until wearables connect with
home devices? Will we soon get home and your heart monitor unlocks the front
door, your wearable fitness device will tell the fridge to pour you a cool
glass of water as your hydration levels are low and the air conditioning comes
on because your body temperature is found to be slightly high. The rate at
which the technology is developing means it may not be too far off.

About the Author:
Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the
industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent
graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN
as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival,
World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com.

Personal Data: Revolutionizing Our Professional Lives

Wearable computing and augmented reality will reveal our
lives to the world, and change every aspect of our working days.
You’re at work, reading a dashboard displaying data from the
tracking device you’ve been wearing to improve your health. Your sleeping,
eating and exercise habits have improved, but you’ve noticed a worrying
pattern. Every day from 2-2.30pm, for the past two months, your wristband
device has indicated increased levels of stress, as measured by perspiration.
The dashboard notes changes in your “little data”
‘ granular information about your health ‘ and lists potential diagnoses so you
can take action. In this case, stress could lead to hypertension and high blood
pressure. Looking at your calendar, you realize why those 30 minutes are
fraught with such tension. Your new manager ‘ we’ll call him Bob ‘ demeans you
during daily meetings, comparing you to colleagues in an attempt to raise
productivity. Visible on your screen are the results of his tactics: they’re
undermining your efforts to improve your health.
Two weeks later you’re standing with a group of colleagues
in your CEO’s office. You produce a report showing three months of data proving
you’re all suffering similar, adverse health effects. Timestamps indicate
tension spikes directly correlating to visits from Bob.
“If Bob stays on as a manager, our health premiums will
rise dramatically next year,” you say to your CEO. “More importantly,
unless things change, we’ll all need to look for new jobs based on a simple
fact as laid out in that report.” You pause for effect.
“Bob is killing us.”
We have the technology
This scenario might sound futuristic, but isn’t as
far-fetched as it seems. Someone at your office is probably already using a
Fitbit or other wearable device that tracks health or other behavior. No longer
a nascent sector occupied solely by Quantified
Self
 enthusiasts, Dow Jones estimates the health-sensor market to
surpass 400m devices and $4bn by 2014. The technology is already here; it’s
mainly privacy and protocol challenges that prevent the above scenario from
happening today.
In fact, the dashboards, data output and health correlations
described are standard for today’s wearable sensors. Many organizations already
are beginning to use them to help improve employees’ health and wellbeing while
lowering healthcare premiums.
It’s a trend that’s bound to make individuals less cavalier
about how they currently share personal data. After all, health information
holds intimate details that affect our economics, not just our privacy.
What’s more, the vapor trail of data we’re leaving about
ourselves will soon be visible on devices we’ll wear over our eyes and ears. In
effect, we’re becoming transhuman ‘ using technologies to enhance physical or
mental capabilities to the point where people and machines effectively become
one.
We’re essentially at that stage now, via ubiquitous
smartphones. We’re just under the illusion that, because these devices aren’t
part of us physically, they don’t control us.
The transhuman
employee

But technologies in the works today would integrate man and
machine even further. In August, Google filed a patent for an
advertisement-based system called Pay Per
Gaze
. Used in conjunction with a head-mounted device like Google Glass, the
company hopes to charge advertisers when people wearing the device look at
their ads. The patent also describes the next phase of the technology, “pay
per emotion
“, where pupil dilation or other physiological responses to
advertising stimuli would be measured in real time so Google can monetize your
responses.
Instead of advertisements, devices in the workplace could
monitor people’s faces for visual cues to track employee sentiments throughout
the day. Not engaged in a meeting? Your device could send a
“see-mail” to your boss indicating your blood pressure slowed during
a presentation indicating boredom.
Eye tracking could also be used to see if someone’s gaze
lingers inappropriately on the body parts of a colleague ‘ leer too long and
your data could appear in court. Whatever the behavior, the vapor trails we
leave at relating to our emotions, health and character will soon be visible in
ways they never have before.
While this type of work-based tracking may seem creepy,
people are already measuring themselves for these types of insights. So the
push to use these tools and methodologies is more likely to come from employees
who don’t want to stop using their devices during work hours than from a
C-suite mandate.
“I have no doubt these types of things will
happen,” says Brian Wassom, an expert on augmented
reality law
 and a partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, a
Michigan-based international business law firm. “People could also wear
clothes with sensors to know which parts of their outfits are most appealing so
they can gauge their wardrobes accordingly.”
Your brain at work

This data could also be used to make work life more
sustainable. For example, Neumitra, a Boston-based company, is developing
wearable and mobile technologies that monitor the effects of stress on the
brain’s health and performance. The technologies aggregate health data to
provide insights about when employees are at their best or when they need a
break.
Neumitra’s work is proving that working smarter means
recognizing the fundamental limits and power of the greatest asset that
knowledge workers possess ‘ their brains. Neumitra founder Robert Goldberg
explained:
“The number of hours a truck driver can be on the road
is strictly limited, but staff at hospitals are pushed to work an insane number
of hours and still be expected to be at their best.”
Real-time data showing the balance of working efficacy and
wellbeing could help leaders recognize when employees ‘ and their productivity
‘ would benefit more from a protein shake or a nap than longer nights at the
office.
Rewards-based tracking provides another positive way for
organizations to introduce these methods to employees. Take Allstate’s
Drivewise App as a precedent. It monitors customers’ driving, alerting them of
higher-risk behaviors and rewarding safe drivers with lower insurance rates.
Drivers might’ve been expected to baulk at the idea of having their cars
monitored, but the offer of lower rates ‘ seven out of 10 drivers save money
through the program ‘ has attracted volunteers.
Similarly, offering rewards for improved behavior ‘ on a
voluntary basis ‘ will be a primary way to make employees feel comfortable with
sharing their personal data in the workplace.
A data with destiny

It would be a mistake to think that devices revealing data
about health and behavior can be kept out of the workplace. As more people
monitor various aspects of their health ‘ from cholesterol levels to their
number of steps each day ‘ data is getting personal. It’s inevitable that
you’ll soon see the impacts at work.
As these technologies and data become increasingly available,
transhuman resource departments ‘ in which human resource professionals help
navigate the intersection of carbon and silicon in the workplace, balancing
workplace productivity and ethics ‘ will become standard.
The scenarios involving sensor-enabled devices and
augmented-reality-visualization tools are endless. But now is the time for
organizations to establish protocols regarding privacy, ethics and etiquette
that make sense for their stakeholders. It’s best to develop a vision for
handling these issues now; otherwise, when the day of this data arrives, you
may not like what you see.
About the Author: John
C. Havens is the founder of The
H(app)athon Project
 and author of the upcoming book, Hacking Happiness ‘ Why Your Personal Data
Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World
. John will also be speaking
at The
Future of Consumer Intelligence
, May 19-21, 2014 in San Francisco, CA. To
learn more about FOCI 2014, click here: http://bit.ly/GOzmEn

The New Extension of the Quantified Self: Your Quantified Pet

Two stories demonstrate how this trend is progressing:

How Technology Helped Track A Wandering Cat – WHEN CAROLINE PAUL’S KITTY REAPPEARED AFTER A LONG MONTH AWAY, SHE DECIDED TO FIGURE OUT WHERE HE HAD BEEN SPENDING HIS TIME. via Fast Company

Startup Whistle has designed an activity tracker that clips on to your dog’s collar, but its core offering is a cloud-based analytics service designed to quantify your pet’s health. via Giga Om

Now we won’t need to wonder so much about what our pets are up to when we aren’t looking.

Happy Friday!