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MC10 and Reebok team up to keep athletes safe

MC10 and Reebok team up to keep athletes safe

Earlier this year, Cambridge based wearable computing startup MC10 and Reebook unveiled the Checklight, a sports oriented protect aimed at protecting athletes from various sports such as American Football, Ice Hockey, Rugby, or other physical sports. In my opinion, this type of product has a lot of potential in sports such as the NFL as concussions has become a serious problem in this sports: During the 2012-2013 NFL season, the league saw more than 160 players going down with a head injury. It is also worth pointing out that the league recently donated $30 million to the National institutes of Health (NIH) for brain injury research. The problem with the Checklight, which can now available for $150, is that it is not a concussion detector, per se, but it would provide valuable information to the staff during practices or actual games in order to identify athletes in danger. Here is a quick video presenting the Checklight:   Bottom line: Wearable computing devices can be used in many different areas, such as retail, constructions, insurance, etc..But sports is probably one of the most promising sector for wearable computing as sensors are already gaining in popularity in many sports. These sensors can be leverage in so many ways in order to create wearable computing devices like the Checklight. I expect MC10 and other similar companies like Adidas, Nike and others to take advantage of this...
Q&A with Nicole Tricoukes, Senior Maverick for Motorola Solutions’ CTO’s office

Q&A with Nicole Tricoukes, Senior Maverick for Motorola Solutions’ CTO’s office

Nicole Tricoukes, senior maverick for Motorola Solutions’ CTO’s office, answered our questions on the HC1, Motorola’s connected glasses, which target the enterprise space. Ms. Tricoukes also talked about some success stories, some of the biggest challenges faced by connected glasses vendors, and what what we should expect from Motorola Solutions in the future. Here is the full transcript of the interview: Gizworld: How did Motorola get the idea of building the HC1? How long ago was that? NT: Motorola Solutions was among the early leaders in wearable mobile computing for the enterprise with innovations such as mobile devices that could be worn on the wrist and fingers. Today, Motorola continues to advance wearable computing with the SB1 smart badge and the new HC1 headset computer. With the HC1, Motorola is leading the way with a new kind of practical and usable form of wearable computing for business and government organizations while redefining how work gets done in the field. The concept for the HC1 started with the idea to redefine hands-free mobility and change how people interact with their mobile computers – creating a new category of device to solve industry-specific problems.  To turn the concept into an actionable solution and revenue-generating opportunity required an innovative framework that combined outside expertise and technology resources to help champion it through our development process.  Through a joint collaboration with Kopin Corporation, we transformed the idea into a hands-free mobile computing solution geared toward the mobile field workforce across worldwide enterprise and government organizations. Gizworld: Consumer vs. enterprise oriented connected glasses: There are a myriad of consumer focused connected glasses (e.g. Google Glasses, Recon...
Q&A with Nadeem Kassam, founder of Basis and BioBeats

Q&A with Nadeem Kassam, founder of Basis and BioBeats

Nadeem Kassam, who is the founder ofBasis, a leading wrist-based health tracker vendor, and BioBeats, an innovative startup merging entertainment and healthcare, backed by Hollywood actor Will Smith, Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, to name a few, answered our questions on the Basis watch, the vision of the company. Mr Kassam also talked about some success stories, some of the biggest challenges faced by smart watch vendors, and what what we should expect from Basis or the wearable computing industry in the future. Here is the full transcript of the interview: Gizworld: How did Basis get the idea of building the Basis Watch? How long ago was that? NK: I came up with the Idea in mid 2004, and worked very hard for 3 years to come up with the first prototype. It wasn’t until 2010 that I came to the Silicon Valley to seek funding and a team that could pull off my dream. The idea came from the notion that getting healthy was boring and adding passive monitoring and gamification would change the game. I have been talking about merging health and entertainment for the last 10 years. I am so happy that the time is finally here for smart, wearable wellness technology to make an impact on the health of millions of people Gizworld: In your opinion, what makes the Basis watch a unique health monitor? NK: I made the decision back in 2005 that only having an accelerometer was just not enough. We had hacked the first Omron Pedometer that contained a USB port to connect to a Facebook App that we built that tracked your steps. I found that people got excited but lost emotional attachment with step count quickly,...
Will wearable computing devices make employees more productive?

Will wearable computing devices make employees more productive?

When it comes to wearable computing devices like Google glasses, most people tend to think that it is primarily a consumer play. I think those people are underestimating the huge potential for wearable computing devices in the B2B/enterprise space. In the long run, such devices could make employees even more productive.  Here are several apps that could improve employees’ productivity in a big way: 1. YourShow app: This new Google Glass app developed by a startup called PajamaNinja is one of the most innovative google apps out there. Basically through this app, google glass users can see their presentation notes in the Glass viewer, with a thumbnail of the current slide. But this gets even better as the company is currently working on a way  to do real-time translation, putting foreign-language subtitles of everything a user may say on his/her slides, enabling them to present to audiences that don’t speak English. Here are some screenshots of the YourShow app on the google glasses: 2. Glass app for police, Firefighters and first responders: This app, developed by Mutualink, allows public safety officials to communicate in real-time via streaming video from the scene, as well as to receive and view key documents such as building schematics, medical records of victims, live feeds of security cameras in the area. Today there are similar apps for connected glasses targeting public safety officials. This includes the Motorola HC1 connected glasses, developed by Motorola and Kopin. Those glasses,  designed for field services and the defense, utilities, telecommunications, aerospace and aviation markets, can be used by firefighters to identify toxic chemicals or building blueprints during a fire. Unlike the google glasses,...
Why PC vendors/OEMs are jumping on the wearable computing bandwagon..

Why PC vendors/OEMs are jumping on the wearable computing bandwagon..

With several PC manufacturers OEMs like Sony, Motorola, and LG already entering the wearable computing market, many others are expected to follow suit in the coming months. Companies like Apple, Samsung and Google have been rumored to be working on a smart watch for some time. According to a recent report from DigiTimes, other players like Epson, Acer and HTC, are now developing such products. So why are OEMs jumping on the wearable computing bandwagon? 1. OEMs want to catch the new wave of innovation: John Sculley, former Apple CEO, made a great analogy the other day, saying: “30 years ago, we saw a true revolution in the tech industry with the emergence of personal computing (..) Today we are seeing a new wave of innovation with wearable computing“. This is why most OEMs don’t want to miss out on this new opportunity. OEMs who do not recognize such opportunity might end up being at a significant disadvantage over time. 2. The smartphone market is maturing with very little differentiation from OEMs: The smartphone market has become a mature market, where many OEMs are struggling to differentiate their devices in order to drive sales. In addition, it has become extremely difficult for smaller OEMs to compete against the Apple and Samsung of the world who have tremendous resources, and can spend heavily on marketing to sell their devices. 3. The PC/laptop market is declining due to the growing popularity of tablets: PC manufacturers such as Acer or Dell have seen their PC/laptop sales declining over the past few years due to the growing popularity of low cost connected tablets. In addition, it has...
Forget Google glasses, it is about creating a contextual software platform for Google

Forget Google glasses, it is about creating a contextual software platform for Google

Today, Yahoo published an article claiming that the Google glasses will be dead on arrival, claiming that the glasses are too expensive, awkward to use, have a poor battery life, and are not even useful. Why all those things are true at the moment, most of these issues will be fixed when Google officially launches the glasses in 2014. I believe that Google’s ultimate goal is to build a contextual platform for wearable computing devices. Here are some additional details below: 1. Price of google glasses will likely come down to $199-299 retail:Several reports are already suggesting that the BOM cost of the google glasses is about $299. Google could potentially sell the glasses below the BOM cost..say $199 and offset the loss through advertising revenue. In fact, Google recently filed a patent called “pay-per-gaze” advertising, and it involves charging advertisers if the user looks at an ad — online or offline — while wearing Glass. Basically Google could show through the glasses location based mobile ads, monetize the Google glasses that way and generate fairly significant revenues over time. Google has done a good job monetizing its Google branded smartphones through advertising revenue, so adopting a similar strategy for the google glasses would be a natural evolution. 2.  Google likely to partner with or acquire glasses vendors to make the google glasses less geeky:  Google has been rumored since February to be in discussion with Warby Parker, a glasses vendor, who has been selling fashionable glasses for $95 online. By doing so, Google would acquire talent to help the company design more fashionable frames for its Glass product. They would also acquire...
Concept: My ideal smart watch

Concept: My ideal smart watch

When it comes to the smart watch market, there are myriad of players out there: Those include Metawatch, Pebble, Basis, Sony, Cookoo, to name of few. The biggest problems I have with most of those smart watches is that they lag in terms of features or functionality, and or elegant design. As a product manager, if I were to build a smart watch, these would be my recommendations:  1. The “hybrid” (smart watch/fitness oriented bracelet) approach: Nowadays, there seems to be a clear distinction between smart watches such as Metawatch or Pebble and fitness oriented bracelets. Most smart watches allow users to surf the web, check their emails, incoming SMS, missed calls, get their GPS location, or even make phone calls. Fitness oriented bracelets like the Nike Fuelband or Jawbone Up, allow users to track steps, activities, calories, or even the quality of their sleep. So here is my question: Why can’t users have the best of both world? A watch which would provide all those features available on both smart watches and fitness oriented bracelets. As a user, I don’t think it makes sense to buy both a smart watch and a fitness oriented bracelet, especially from an economic standpoint. This is why I believe the hybrid approach is set to prevail over time. 2. Flexible display: This is an obvious one. Companies like Apple are rumored to be working on an iWatch, which could possibly be using  Corning’s Willow glass technology (see video below), a flexible display technology. Of course the challenge here would be regarding components. However, this could be achieved through the use of soft components (e.g. soft...
Concept: connected glasses for retailers

Concept: connected glasses for retailers

In the past 12 months, ever since Google unveiled its Google glasses in great fanfare, there has been many rumors of major companies working on connected glasses projects. Those include rumored companies like Sony, Samsung, Microsoft..to name a few. Big box retailers such as Target or WalMart are also eyeing the wearable computing space. In this post, I will give my thoughts on the ideal connected glasses for online or box box retailers such as Target, Best Buy, WalMart, or even Amazon. But first, why would it make sense for retailers to get into the wearable computing space? In my opinion, it would make sense for retailers to make inroads into the connected glasses space for several reasons: The wearable computing space is gaining momentum: Wearable computing is  not a new space. In fact, in the past 10 years, the market has seen the emergence of many prototypes anywhere from connected glasses coming out of prestigious universities like MIT, but  in the past few months, following the launch of Google glasses, the wearable computing space has seen the emergence of a myriad of new players, from small players (e.g., Pebble, Basis, Misfit, Amiigo, Kopin/Golden-i, Recon Instruments, etc.) to major companies (e.g., LG, Samsung, Adidas, Nike) releasing their first products in the market (e.g. Connected glasses, watches, fitness oriented bracelets, etc..). Big box retailers like Best Buy or Target under significant threats from online retailers: Big Box retailers like Best Buy or Target have been under significant threats from fast growing online retailers like Amazon in the past couple of years. This has forced them to adapt their business models. For instance,...
Elegant and less geeky concept for Google glasses..

Elegant and less geeky concept for Google glasses..

Some of the biggest issues or complaints regarding wearable computing devices like the Google glasses include privacy issues, the design of the device itself, the lack of appealing apps, and the retail price of the device. While I expect the price of the Google Glasses to come down to $200-300 over time and the app ecosystem to grow, redesigning the Google glasses so that it looks less like a gadget and more lore like real glasses, is set to be the biggest challenge for Google. There are already several concepts of more “elegant” Google glasses . One of my favorites concepts is the one made by Sourcebits who came up with a thinner and more elegant version of the Google glasses. You can see the various screenshots of the concept below: Screenshot 2: Memory storage Screenshot 3: Battery storage Screenshot 4: sideway Screenshot 5: camera and glass prism Bottom line: At the end of the day, wearable computing devices like the google glasses need to become more elegant and less geeky. This is why I expect Google to hire designers from well-known sunglasses makers (e.g. Ray Ban, Oakley, Gucci, etc.) or simply partner with those same leading manufacturers. With that in mind, I expect the Google glasses to be available in different sizes, design and at different price points. In addition, I don’t believe that it is in the best interest for Google to continue to manufacture its own hardware for the Google glasses over time. Like with the smartphone and tablet market, the success of the Google in the connected glasses space will highly depend on the company’s ability to forge...
15 Tips to create a best-in-class wearable computing device..

15 Tips to create a best-in-class wearable computing device..

Over the past few months, I had the opportunity to advise several wearable computing startups on their strategy to build attractive and highly differentiated products. That gave me the opportunity to reflect on what it takes to build a successful wearable computing device. Here are 15 tips on how to create a best-in-class wearable computing device: 1. Make it elegant, fashionable, transformable, and waterproof. I would start by saying what the CEO of MetaWatch told me one time: Don’t forget that wearable computing devices like connected glasses or smart watches should be a piece of jewlery. The only difference between those devices and traditional piece of jewelry is that they are smart and connected. This is where I think some wearable computing devices fall short as they are not elegant and fashionable. But this is where companies like Misfit, which built a highly elegant and transformable device called the Shine which monitor users’ heart rate, steps, etc..and can be used as a neckless, bracelet, or earing, is spot on. Unlike jewelries, wearable computing devices have electronic components that can be damaged by water. This is why creating wearable computing devices that are waterproof is critical. By doing so, it will also improve the durability of your device. Lastly, to make your device waterproof, you might want to work with companies like HzO, which specializes in waterblock technology. 2. Make it smart, contextual, and customizable: In my opinion, this is where many wearable computing devices like smart watches are lagging. There are many smart watches or bracelets that are not very “smart”. Yes those types of devices can track things...
Why the Amiigo bracelet is better than the Nike Fuelband and Fitbit Flex..

Why the Amiigo bracelet is better than the Nike Fuelband and Fitbit Flex..

When it comes to fitness oriented bracelets, most people think about the Nike FuelBand, Fitbit Flex, BodyMedia’s Core 2, but what aboutAmiigo? Although the Amiigo bracelet is not commercially available yet, this is by far the most advanced fitness oriented bracelet out there. Here is why… 1. It can recognize 100+ activities: The problem with competing fitness oriented bracelets like Fitbit Flex or the Nike FuelBand is that they are fairly limited in terms of activities they can track. In fact, they can only track the number of steps, the number of calories burned.. The Amiigo bracelet, using gesture recognition technology, combined with a shoe clip, can track and recognize 100+ activities such as cycling, swimming, golfing, jogging, squats, push ups, or bicep curls. Of note, like many other competing products, the Amiigo bracelet can also track skin temperature, blood oxygen levels or hear rate. 2. It can generate personalized workouts to users over time: To me, this is where the Amiigo bracelet stands out from the crowd. The biggest problem with the Nike FuelBand or Fitibit Flex is that those devices are not “smart”, in other words they are unable to analyze activities and provide meaningful feedback to users. The Amiigo bracelet is unique as it uses smart algorithms and is capable of learning and analyzing the user’s activity, and comparing such data with friends or even professional althetes. “We’re building a feature where the user can actually record different types of running in a practice session, and then see how/where those are turning up during competition or performance. Additionally, by using activity recognition data from friends and/or standardized references,...
Plantiga: Smart Footwear and the Future of Smart Shoe Technology

Plantiga: Smart Footwear and the Future of Smart Shoe Technology

Quin Sandler is the CEO of Plantiga, an innovative startup from Vancouver, who is currently developing a smart shoe which could revolutionize the footwear industry. In this post, Quin explained his vision of Plantiga and the kind of applications that could be used for the Plantiga smart shoe over time.  Plantiga: Smart Footwear & The Future of Smart Shoe Technology By Quin Sandler Introduction & Background Plantiga committed to re-thinking and re-engineering footwear several years back. But not just the shoe itself and how it could benefit people’s lives with more comfort, control and performance, but we desired to develop footwear as a digital interface between the person and her world. That process resulted in our team fundamentally changing footwear with a novel design and approach – although we’ve kept the look the same. Not only have we advanced footwear mechanically, we have designed the shoes to ship with embedded sensors for the purpose of generating a stream of real-time movement data (weight distribution) that can feed into different apps for a variety of purposes – similar to the data output that comes from force plates. Our aim is to develop a new type of footwear company comprised of both hardware and software – an eco-system of technology products and services which will be adapted to various markets. One goal is to build out our own SDK, allowing developers to build their own apps utilizing our platform. Included in this, our working with other API’s. Major Applications & Uses Cases The footwear is both mechanical and comes with instrumentation. The analytic engine that reads and interprets the data output...
My 2014 predictions: Another great year for the wearable computing space

My 2014 predictions: Another great year for the wearable computing space

We are just a few hours away from 2014, so it is time to reflect on what happened in 2013, and look forward to 2014. I don’t think I need to explain what I am excited about these days. In my opinion, 2013 was the confirmation that the wearable computing space is real, well alive…To quote John Sculley, co-founder of Misfit Wearables, “30 years ago, we saw a revolution with personal computing, and today we are seeing another revolution with wearable computing”. So what happened in 2013? Emergence of wearable computing startups: In my opinion, Pebble, Misfit, Basis, Fitbit, Withings, Recon Instruments , Omate, Metawatch, Neptune Pine (Forgive me if I am forgetting one..it is highly subjectiveJ),  were among the success stories of 2013. Some of them raised money from crowfounding sites like Indiegogo or kickstarter, then raised an additional round through VCs (e.g. Pebble, Amiigo). According to reports I have seen, the average amount of money invested by VCs on wearable computing startups was about $5M. Clearly, crowdfunding sites are a blessing for wearable computing startups because it is a lot easier to get funded, and for startups who don’t want to take VC money, and keep control of the company, it is the perfect solution. Big players bought hot wearable computing startups:  In 2013, Jawbone acquired BodyMedia for $100M+, while Under Armour acquired MapmyFitness for $150M. Leading semiconductor companies like Intel, who is on a mission to disrupt the wearable computing space, made strategic investments into Recon instruments, Basis, Thalmic Labs (MYO armband), and Omek. These are just some examples. My point here is that big corporations recognize the...