Posts Tagged ‘says’
One of the early pioneers in the Quantified Self movement has quietly gone out of business. Zeo, a leading maker of hardware and software used by consumers to track sleep and improve their health, has not been operating since the end of last year. A trustee has nearly completed the sale of all company assets. Zeo has been very quiet about the news up until now. In fact, Zeo’s website is still up and doesn’t mention the news.
Zeo was founded by three students at Brown University who had a passion for using the science of sleep and technology to improve people’s lives. The company introduced its first product, the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach in June 2009.
The following week, the first article mentioning the term “Quantified Self” was published in Wired magazine. While the article didn’t mention Zeo, it did claim “a new culture of personal data was taking shape.” And that every facet of life from sleep to mood to pain was becoming trackable. “Even sleep – a challenge to self-track, obviously, since you’re unconscious – is yielding to the skill of the widget maker.”
In 2011, the widget maker Zeo introduced a mobile version to its Sleep Manager product line. By wearing a special headband, with sensors to measure electrical current, the Zeo could track different phases of sleep, such as Light, Deep and REM sleep, in addition to awake time. This data was then sent to an iPhone, iPod, or Android phone, and could be automatically uploaded to a personal and private online sleep database. This data along with some analytical tools could then be used to help improve your sleep and health.
What Went Wrong
Former CEO, Dave Dickinson, who lead the company for the past 5 years, tells TechCrunch the problem was not the brand or the product. In fact, the company was growing before it shut down.
Dickinson says the problem was the business model. “The business model is more important than the brand. Consumer health devices are a very capital intensive business. You have to find enough money to address the consumer, funds to address the physicians, and also the retailers, and that’s up and above the device business having to fund inventory.”
Zeo had two business model options on the revenue side. Become a SAAS-like business with subscriptions and recurring revenue or make enough money from a customer who bought just one unit. But that was very difficult when the company started pricing its mobile product at $ 99, with ‘sub-optimal’ profit margins.
The Newton, Massachusetts-based company had raised more than $ 30 million over eight years. Dickinson says raising capital was not the problem either.
Sleep Tracking As A Commodity
Another problem for Zeo was that sleep tracking became a commodity. Devices like the FitBit, lark, and Jawbone Up use an accelerometer to determine sleep and awake cycles, using wrist actigraphy. These products brand their products as sleep trackers just like Zeo.
Dickinson says Zeo had peer reviewed scientific studies, including one published in the Journal of Sleep Research, showing his technology was 7/8th as accurate as data from the a sleep lab, considered to be the gold standard for measuring sleep. The study also says data from wrist actigraphy to measure tiny motions in devices are much less accurate. But that didn’t seem to matter for enough consumers.
Dickinson says he admires what the Fitbit and others like it have done. Those devices are not limited to one health issue like sleep, which was another problem for Zeo. Those other products work for different health and wellness areas, such as the well established desire to lose weight and become physically fit. Consumers already spend billions of dollars to achieve those goals. And they are already educated and motivated to improve their weight and fitness.
Part of Zeo’s business model required it to educate the consumer on the importance of sleep and how sleep awareness and data can improve your health. Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post, our AOL sister site, has been a crusader on the importance of sleep to your health. But according to Dickinson, “sleep is still lagging behind as important to your wellness. So in that respect, Zeo was early in terms of its mission.”
I used the device for several months last year and thought it was amazing. While wearing the headband took some getting used to, for me and my wife, the data it revealed was eye-popping. In addition to learning that I wasn’t getting enough sleep, which I knew already, I learned about the different types of sleep I was getting.
Most nights, I would get a half hour to an hour of “Deep Sleep” (dark green in the chart below) after going to bed. This is the phase of sleep the helps you feel restored and refreshed.
I would also see several periods of REM sleep, important for overall mental health, mood, and the ability to retain knowledge. The bulk of my time asleep, like most people, was spent in “Light Sleep,” which is better than not sleeping but doesn’t do as much for my health as Deep or REM sleep.
I was able to see graphics like this on my iPhone in the morning.
Here’s a good night with a sleep score of 90 out of 100 and more than 8 hours of sleep.
And here’s a bad night, with a score of 47 with just 4 and a half hours of total sleep.
If I woke up in the morning during REM sleep, it was hard to get out of bed. If I didn’t get enough Deep Sleep, I didn’t feel I had a good night sleep.
Zeo claimed the real value of the program was I could get personalized online sleep coaching. But this required logging in to the website and entering more information about my sleep and other variables I wanted to track. If I could have entered the data right on my iPhone, I would have likely used it more. Since it required logging in on the website, it proved too much friction for me.
I also stopped wearing the headband after awhile because it does feel a bit awkward. The former CEO says the company was aware the device was too invasive for some customers.
But if a less invasive sensor was made and it was easier to enter custom data and get actionable information, I would have used it every night.
Dickinson can’t comment on exactly what’s next for Zeo, after all the assets are sold. But he is hopeful that there may be an opportunity for the company to re-emerge in the future.
An article appeared in the MobiHealthNews in March, that reported the Better Business Bureau had listed Zeo as being “out of business” but with no official announcement by the company, the news hasn’t been widely known.
It is still possible to log-in to Zeo’s “My Sleep” site that contains your sleep data. An article on the Quantified Self website today tells users how they can download their data in case the site goes offline.
As word about Zeo’s status has spread, Dickinson says they have received tremendous support and inquires from all over the world from disappointed customers and sleep researchers who had planned to use the units for the research.
He wrote a post on the MobiHealthNews site last week that included some additional lessons learned. He concluded by writing “motivating behavioral change through data visualization can be very powerful, but it is more of an art than a science. We will need far more artists, user interface experts and psychologists to help make our data work harder to motivate better health.”
Over the seven months since Microsoft released Windows 8, the sales data haven’t been encouraging, with IDC reporting a 13.9 percent decline in the PC industry last quarter, its largest on record. But it looks like there’s one bright spot: as much as 10 percent of new laptops sold that quarter included touchscreens. The numbers — 46 million laptop shipments, 4.57 million with touchscreens — come from DisplayBank, a division of market research company IHS, but they’re close enough to the 50.5 million laptops quoted by Canalys to warrant a look. If the numbers are accurate, that’s a 51.8 percent increase in laptops with touchscreens over the past quarter.
A new study from The Earth Institute at Columbia University projects that heat-related fatalities could rise steeply in Manhattan by the 2020s as a result of a warming climate, and that in some worst-case scenarios, “by 90 percent or more by the 2080s.” Researchers involved in the study, which will be published this week in Nature Climate Change, say that this is one of the most comprehensive city-specific studies conducted so far, with combined data from all seasons and application of multiple climate scenarios. “This serves as a reminder that heat events are one of the greatest hazards faced by urban populations around the globe,” climate scientist and coauthor Radley Horton said.
The results add another data point to an overwhelming…
Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4, is poised to pass 10 million shipments next week less than a month after the device launched, says co-CEO Shin Jong-kyun, according to the Korea Times. The S4′s international release took place on April 27, after the phone launched in Samsung’s home market on April 26.
“We are confident that we will pass more than 10 million sales of the S4 next week. It is selling much faster than the previous model S3,” Jong-kyun told reporters at an industry forum in Seoul yesterday the paper reports. “Samsung spent 50 days to pass the 10 million sales mark for the S3. The S4 will be Samsung’s first ’10 million seller’ device less than a month after its official debut.”
Earlier this week Samsung confirmed shipments of the S4 had passed 6 million, describing it as the fastest ever sell rate for a Galaxy S smartphone, or any other Samsung smartphone. Company officials pointed to increased marketing spending as a key accelerator, according to the Korea Times. Samsung’s smartphone marketing budget dwarfs the other Android OEMs. According to research from Kantar media, reported in the WSJ, the company spent $ 401m in 2012 advertising its phones in the U.S. alone vs Apple’s $ 333 million.
It’s worth flagging that shipments are not actual sales. Samsung does not report the latter, however channel shipments at least give an indication of how popular retailers believe a device is going to be.
Apple does report device sales but does not break this out for individual iPhone models, so it’s not possible to compare the like-for-like sales of the iPhone 5 with the Galaxy S4 shipments but reporting its last earnings in April Apple said it sold a total of 37.4 million iPhones in the quarter.
Recently speaking at the Interop IT conference, PayPal’s chief information security officer, Michael Barrett, stated that passwords and PINs were operating on borrowed time. Barrett hopes to replace online security keys with a setup that’s a blend of software and hardware-based identification. He also serves as president of the Fast Identity Online Alliance (FIDO) — the organization’s focus is to combine an effective mix of software (passwords and plugins) and hardware (USB drives and fingerprint scanners) for user authentication.
PayPal’s technology boss didn’t allude to his company adopting these new types of security systems for its customers anytime soon. Instead he announced that FIDO-enabled devices will be hitting the market sometime this year. Progress, yes, but until this hardware becomes more widely available, it’s likely that you’ll be spending more time getting acquainted with two-step logins.
10BN+ Wirelessly Connected Devices Today, 30BN+ In 2020′s ‘Internet Of Everything’, Says ABI Research
How big is the connected devices universe? Analyst ABI Research reckons the Internet of Things contains some 10 billion+ wireless connected devices today — but it’s predicting this figure will triple in size to more than 30 billion devices in an Internet of Everything by 2020 as more and more objects are plugged into the network. The figures come from new ABI research published today.
The analyst says the standardisation push behind ultra-low power wireless technologies is “one of the main enablers” of this Internet of Everything — which already contains such curios as the Hapifork and keyless entry systems that let you open your front door from an app. ABI analyst Peter Cooney notes that while 10 billion devices might sound like a lot, there’s still many years before the IoE “reaches its full potential” — whatever that means.
“The next 5 years will be pivotal in its growth and establishment as a tangible concept to the consumer,” says Cooney in a statement.
ABI says a range of wirelessless technologies — including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Cellular and RFID, plus many others — are all important to driving growth in smart connected devices but says the “long term expansion of the market” depends on wireless technology “becoming invisible so that the consumer will be oblivious to which technology is used and only know that it works”.
And while today, “hub devices” — namely smartphones, tablets and laptops — are the enablers of the IoE ecosystem (such as the iPad being used as the hub for a smart connected kitchen scales, for instance) ABI sees future growth in this network being driven by “node or sensor type devices”, as device-makers start to think about connecting more of the things more of the time, not just things that are in close proximity to people some of the time.
ABI predicts that by 2020 nodes/sensors will account for the majority (60%) of the total installed base of IoE devices. Personal connected mobile devices will still be “an essential building block”, however.
10.1-inch Kindle Fire in the works, analyst says – Android Authority
NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim told CNET that Amazon is “moving up to the 10-inch class” after having previously released two-generations of 7-inch Kindle Fire and the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire models. The new model will reportedly sport a 10.1-inch …
Read more on Android Authority
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 vs. Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 – Gizmag
The iPad still rules the tablet roost, with both versions handily outselling all of its rivals. But Apple's two biggest competitors, Amazon and Samsung, aren't going anywhere. Their latest tablets – the Galaxy Note 8.0 and Kindle Fire HD 8.9” – are …
Read more on Gizmag
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch 4G LTE: Full Review
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch 4G LTE Click to EnlargeThe 8.9-inch Fire HD looks like a larger version of the 7-inch Fire HD. As with most tablets, the front has a glossy black bezel surrounding its touch screen. In the middle of one of the long sides …
Read more on LAPTOP Magazine
Tablet Purchases To Drive Mobile Content Revenues To $65BN In 2016, Up From $40BN+ In 2013, Says Juniper
As tablet ownership and usage continues its upward trajectory, little surprise that more people are expected to be paying for more stuff on tablets in the coming years. But analyst Juniper Research has put out a new mobile content revenue forecast predicting that purchases on tablets will be the primary engine for growth — ergo: beating out smartphones — in the mobile content market over the next three years.
The analyst expects annual revenue generated from content delivered to mobile handsets and tablets to rise by nearly $ 25 billion over the period — climbing from more than $ 40 billion this year to $ 65 billion by 2016. Music and video now account for nearly half of all mobile content revenues, according to Juniper.
The analyst says growth in the mobile content market will “primarily” be fuelled by an upsurge in tablet users buying games, videos and ebooks on their slates. But it also flags up “increased opportunity” for content monetisation via direct carrier billing on smartphones as another factor helping to drive the market. “While the availability of direct carrier billing is patchy, the various benefits which the mechanism offers — higher conversion rates, opportunities to monetise unbanked customers — suggest that deployments will rise significantly in the medium term,” notes report author Dr Windsor Holden in a statement.
Returning to tablets, the report found that ebooks are currently the largest revenue stream on slates, thanks to e-reader applications from the likes of Amazon, Kobo and Nook, but goes on to add that tablets are experiencing a sharp increase in both paid and free video applications. The analyst also expects consumer gaming spend to migrate to tablets from dedicated portable gaming devices such as the Nintendo 3DS and the Sony PS Vita — something Juniper has delved into before in a separate report.
The mobile content report also notes that the convergence of gaming and social networking has been “one of the major drivers” behind the post-download monetisation opportunity — i.e. via in-app purchases.
The White House is reportedly close to backing an FBI plan that would simplify online wiretapping by providing for significant fines against web services that refuse law enforcement requests. The New York Times reports that companies could face fines of up to $ 25,000 day if they fail to comply with judge-issued wiretap orders.
Citing officials familiar with the deliberations, The Times reports that while the FBI’s original idea would have mandated every internet communications service to build in a backdoor for wiretaps, the modified proposal would instead focus on companies that don’t comply with judges’ orders. While current law requires companies to make good faith efforts to comply, they were able to claim they tried to…
Microsoft’s Corporate VP for Windows Julie Larson-Green was at WIRED’s Business Conference today, and she was put on the spot when asked by interviewer and WIRED Senior Editor Michael V. Copeland about the apparently sluggish start for Windows RT. RT’s failure is a consumer education problem, according to Larson-Green, since it’s very different from what’s come before.
Windows RT, for those unfamiliar or confused by the new familial breakdown of Windows following the introduction of version 8, is a lightweight version designed for ARM-powered devices (vs. x86, the architecture which full Windows OS runs on), which doesn’t offer access to the full suite of Windows software. According to our own Matt Burns, that has resulted in a big app gap, and made the Surface RT essentially a glorified web browsing tablet, which sounds like something different from a simple matter of properly framing the product.
“I think we have some work to do on explaining it to people because it’s different,” Larson-Green said. “They’re just so used to Windows meaning backward compatibility in all the programs that you use today. I use Surface RT as my main computing device, I connect to a corporate network using my virtual smart card and VPN when I need to, Office is already on there [...] it’s just a simpler experience and then the Surface Pro has the flexibility if you want to work on the details.”
“I love my Surface RT,” was a common refrain from Larson-Green even into the Q&A, who later characterized it as a device for casual consumption mostly, especially filling a niche for “weekend” use. Even the dual nature of her defense of the Microsoft tablet shows that it still needs work at Microsoft itself in terms of fleshing out its role in the consumer ecosystem, which probably isn’t helping the company properly explain its purpose to the buying public.
The Surface RT is estimated to have sold only around 1 million units total since its launch late in 2012, far under its reported initial estimates of 3 million or so. Other OEMs have balked at the RT line in the meantime, with Acer waiting on launching its RT slate until at least Q2 of this year.