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Halo Wearables see hydration tracking as future of wearable market

http://readwrite.com/2016/12/09/halo-wearables-hydration/play episode download
9 December, by David Curry[ —]

Halo Wearables, a wearable fitness startup, wants to bring hydration tracking into the mainstream with Halo Edge, the company’s first wearable.

Instead of monitoring heart-rate and step-count, Halo Wearables believes tracking hydration will prove more useful for athletes.

See Also: Fitbit buys Pebble as wearables consolidation continues

“Hydration for us is another element which has significant possibilities beyond counting steps or looking at activity. Physiologically, in my opinion, it goes beyond heart rate monitoring,” said chief technology officer, David Miller, to Wareable.

Halo Edge is a simplistic wearable, it shows the user’s hydration level through one of four LED lights: the green light means normal hydration, yellow means decreased hydration, red means a lack of hydration, and blue means too much hydration.

Data is sent from the user’s wrist to Halo Wearables analytics platform to calculate whether the user is too hydrated or lacks hydration. If the user wants to dig for more details, Halo Wearables provides a mobile and desktop app, for athletes that want to know their peak.

In the first few days of using the wearable, Halo Wearables platform will learn the user’s normal hydration level and change algorithms to personalize the device. From there, it will watch for daily changes, like preparing for a marathon or more exercise, and change accordingly to fit the new regime.

For now it’s all in the wrist

For now, Halo Wearables is focused on the wrist, but said in an interview with Wareable that it is looking into concepts for the ear, head, and thigh. This could provide the analytics platform with more accurate data on the user’s health and hydration.

Halo Wearables also sees a potential future licensing its tech to “billion dollar companies” in the wearables market, like Apple or Google. The focus of mainstream wearables has been step-count and heart-rate, but the Halo Edge shows there is more to fitness tracking than just those two features, even for regular customers.

The post Halo Wearables see hydration tracking as future of wearable market appeared first on ReadWrite.

Local Motors unveils 3D printed autonomous car with drone

9 December, by Amanda Razani[ —]
Police drone chasing black car for speed over. Original design.

Engineers from Local Motors have recently found a way to utilize a self-driving car, a 3D printer and a drone, all together in one amazing machine.

Working directly with Grant Imahara of Mythbusters, the engineers have produced a 3D printed, autonomous vehicle that comes equipped with its own 3D printed drone. Mouser Electronics provided the autonomous software, which allows the car to navigate alone, while the passenger operates the drone.  The drone then provides video feed back to the vehicle.  This allows the driver to discover possible traffic jam areas and enjoy the scenery in the area from a unique perspective.

See Also: US government says drones must now be registered

The drone has been created as the result of a recent contest.  The contest winner, Finn Yonkers, stated that he created “fly mode” due to wanting to flip the idea of autonomy on its side.

“So by introducing the element of flight, you are actually increasing the sensory experience of travel, giving you a viewpoint that’s out of context, so you’re not really inside the vehicle anymore,” he continued. You’re outside of it, and it gives you plenty of opportunities to expand on the experience.”

How Local Motors can use this in the future

According to Local Motors, the drone has other uses too, such as playing an augmented reality game, and sending the vehicle important information.

Who knows what the future will hold with this new technological breakthrough.  For now, it is certainly a cool machine for drone and autonomous car enthusiasts alike.

The post Local Motors unveils 3D printed autonomous car with drone appeared first on ReadWrite.

UK’s Bristol wins laurels for its programmable city initiative

9 December, by Donal Power[ —]

The future-friendly city of Bristol received a notable Internet of Things (IoT) award for its programmable city initiative.
Globe Newswire said that the southwest U.K. city recently won the Smart City Award at the World Communications Awards & Internet of Things Awards in London.

The city was recognized for its Bristol is Open project, which is a joint venture between the Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol.

The ambitious initiative is essentially an open “programmable city” project that allows citizens to digitally contribute to the functioning of the city itself.

Specifically, the project creates an experimental high-performance software defined network. It achieves this using wireless networks, mesh networks and dedicated fiber deployed across Bristol.

The project was also hailed for its ability to draw together research organizations, technology companies, government and the public to develop and collaborate on next generation network research.

Bristol is Open included a number of notable partners such as Nokia, the University of Bath and InterDigital among others.

Showing the way for future smart cities

An example of industry involvement comes from wireless systems developer InterDigital which joined the project in late 2015. As part of Bristol is Open, the company capitalized on the project’s city-scale research and development network to determine how future cities can use programmable networks to solve large challenges.

As a result, InterDigital performed a live demonstration of a related video streaming innovation over the Bristol is Open test bed in February 2016.

The recognition of Bristol is Open follows a recent smart city research paper by Siemens Financial Services that identified nearly $7 billion in potential smart city funding.

After looking at private funding sources in 13 countries, the study concluded that the U.K. could rustle up $6.98 billion for smart city projects.

The paper modeled private sector financing opportunities to make up the shortfall in public funds that British smart city projects currently face.

The post UK’s Bristol wins laurels for its programmable city initiative appeared first on ReadWrite.

This startup lets you use your smartphone to reduce 3D printing costs

http://readwrite.com/2016/12/08/wiivv-wearables-dl4/play episode download
9 December, by David Curry[ —]

Online clothes shopping has surged in the past few years, as consumers become more confident buying before trying. However, everyone has had one bad experience with size, length or fit and had to return or live with the mistake.

Wiivv Wearables wants to make the fear of a wrong size a thing of the past, by combining a 3D printer scanner with a smartphone. The measurements are then sent to the cloud, manufactured on a 3D printer, and sent to the customer.

See Also: GE spends billions to print 3D piles of IIoT money

The Vancouver-based startup only sells insoles at the moment, but the team is interested in expanding to fashion and sportswear in the future.

Cuts costs from $300 to $75

3D printing reduces the costs of insoles by nearly half, from $300-600 at an orthotics to $75 from the app. Wiivv also claims that the scanner is more accurate than an orthotics, so the insole may provide even more comfort to the customer.

The system only requires five photos of the foot at different positions to build an accurate model. We could see the same functionality being applied to the waist, chest, or legs to obtain accurate body measurements in a few minutes, though jackets and jeans may require more data than an insole.

3D printing has not democratized manufacturing in the way some would have liked, 3D printers are still too expensive for most people and too complex for beginners. Wiivv could be a nice midway point for manufacturing, allowing customers to customize their clothes to fit and look exactly how they want, and get them shipped at a reasonable price.

The post This startup lets you use your smartphone to reduce 3D printing costs appeared first on ReadWrite.

Your business is already IoT-ready and here’s how

8 December, by Michael Vedomske[ —]
smart city and wireless communication network, abstract image visual, internet of things

Chances are, your business is IoT-ready. Whether you are an information-based business, provide services, or sell products, you can improve your business by using the IoT even now.

Much of what we can do with the IoT is business analytics. This sounds fancy, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as collecting a little data about your customers, employees, or business processes and then making changes based on what it says. Interestingly though, most businesses are collecting a lot of data.

See also: IoT and business models; building new tech and brands

Forbes recently reported that “80% of enterprises and 63% of small & medium businesses already have deployed or are planning to deploy big data projects in the next twelve months.”

The difference the IoT brings is that with low cost sensors, businesses can affordably collect data of their choosing from the physical world. The analytics wave was and is largely based on analyzing data that businesses already had sitting around in the cyber world. The IoT enables them to collect data from the physical world, not just their accounting or customer database.

Let’s get right to it. In this article, we’ll look at some examples of IoT applications that businesses can start using right now to gain value from the IoT. We’ll look primarily at two approaches using IoT applications—tracking and customer interaction—but there are many more.

If it moves, track it

Any business that deals with physical products or uses physical assets to render services deals with the problem of materials or inventory loss. In years past, tracking some items, like pallets or tools, was too expensive to justify and costly enough to make a dent in profitability. New low-power, wide-area technologies, which came of age in the last year or so, are more affordable and allow longer battery life.

This is important because it reduces the cost of maintenance and upkeep, allowing for a positive ROI for the first time. This means that you can now place trackers on inventory, tools, or other assets so that when it goes missing, you can find it. And more importantly, you can find out why it goes missing and address the actual problem, not just the symptom.

Another concern from some employers is tracking employees, their productivity, and keeping them safe. And this tracking doesn’t necessarily have to be about the employees. When collecting activity data on your entire workforce you can see patterns.

These patterns could show whether your company has laid out tasks in an efficient manner. Are forklift drivers taking too long in certain areas of the warehouse? Do employees have to wait for a certain task to be done before loading things up? Track them and find out. Of course, you can also find out which employees are more efficient than the others, and have quantifiable evidence. These can be used to help provide constructive feedback, thank the high performers, and for your performance reviews.

The IoT can improve workplace safety as well. If there are dangerous areas of the worksite, set your tracker to alert if anyone enters the area to notify them and management to keep them safe. Keeping track of a fleet of vehicles can also be done much more cheaply than in the past. Alerts can be set if vehicles leave a certain area, making sure employees stay on track.

Check in with your drivers without interrupting their work or distracting them from driving safely by automatically tracking the progress along their route. Vehicle gone rogue? Shut it down over the air. Track vehicle condition and perform preventative maintenance saving your company lost time and money. Using the IoT to improve your business doesn’t have to be off the wall and it doesn’t have to wait.

Engage with your customers…as IoT companies

The Internet of Things also allows for new ways to interact and engage with customers. Some companies, like Amazon, have gone about this in a very direct way. The Amazon Dash Button is a button you place in your home and when you hit the button it orders a product—like bags, paper towels, or whatever—that Amazon then delivers to you. It’s a simple idea, that makes shopping very simple for consumers. This is an example of using the IoT to interact with customers in new ways

Brick and mortar businesses can get involved as well. Suppose you are a store selling high-end pet products. You know that your foot traffic is pretty good, but you aren’t sure how that traffic relates to your customers’ purchases.

Customers come in, walk around, ogle your products, pick them up, put them back, think to themselves. You ask them if they need help, “no, just browsing” they say. During busy times these customers come and go so you can’t see what is being browsed, and it’s hard to remember anyway. Not all of these customers are browsing.

Some are checking out prices, comparing to other stores or online. And some are just curious what premium pet products even look like. In any case, with an instrumented sales floor you can now understand customer foot traffic and see where your customers, or rather, where your potential customers are going and what they are looking at. This combined with your sales data can give insight into how your store is “converting”.

Just like websites or presidential campaigns optimize their websites for conversions (downloads, or sales, or donations), stores can now do the same with low cost sensors.

Customer interaction can happen in other simple ways. Imagine again, you own a store and you would love to get some very simple feedback from your customers. So, when your customer finishes checking out you ask them to hit the green button on the counter if their customer service was satisfactory and the red if it was unsatisfactory. They smile (or frown) and tap the green or red button and go on their way.

This feedback could provide historical customer satisfaction data and enable you to track how well you are meeting the needs of your customers. You could also use this system to understand your employees to see if certain shifts have more difficult customers or have less service oriented employees.

The buttons could be more product-centric. They could have three options:

  1. I didn’t find what I wanted
  2. I found what I wanted, but it was too expensive
  3. I found what I wanted, and bought it

This on its own or combined with foot traffic data could be used to provide a profile for your company on its price competitiveness and customer satisfaction.

Much more is possible with a little creativity and your business is more likely than not ready to use the IoT to improve. Whether you sell products or services, specialize in information technology or premium pet products, you can put the IoT to work today.

The post Your business is already IoT-ready and here’s how appeared first on ReadWrite.

Alaska Air CIO flies off to build Dubai smart cities

8 December, by Donal Power[ —]
Burj Al Arab Hotel with Dubai Skyline, Dubai

Dubai is getting some high-flying help in developing smart cities by landing technology guru Veresh Sita

As reported by IDG’s CIO magazine, Emaar Properties recently wooed Sita away from his Chief Information Officer role with Alaska Airlines.

He will now take on the role of Chief Digital Officer (CDO) with Emaar, one of the United Arab Emirates’ largest real estate developers.

Sita assist Emaar in developing digitally sophisticated residential and commercial properties using such cutting-edge technology as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).

“We’re focused on transforming Emaar into a world class leader of digital and customer experiences,” said Sita.

This will culminate in the building out of “digital smart cities” that Sita explains will combine virtual and physical spaces seamlessly while anticipating the needs of its citizens.

“Imagine a city that embodies the convergence between a community of people and artificial intelligence, interacting together,” he said. “My current focus is to create customer experiences that are as iconic as the physical spaces that Emaar develops.”

Dubai Creek Harbour is a shining example

An example of Emaar’s future focus is Dubai Creek Harbour. Upon its completion the project will be among the world’s most digitally advanced residential developments.

As CDO, Sita will help enhance this and similar projects with emerging technology like robotic process automation, IoT, virtual and augmented reality, AI and machine learning.

Emaar’s move to up its digital game by hiring Sita is another reason why Dubai was recently crowned the Gulf region’s top smart city.

Instrumental in the city’s smart city leadership is the Smart Dubai roadmap. As part of this plan, Dubai aims to deliver 1,000 services via 100 initiatives by 2017.

Some smart city highlights from Dubai include: a smart mobility initiative for traffic control; improved power and water consumption through a smart grid program; smart health services; and mobile-enabled e-Government services.

The post Alaska Air CIO flies off to build Dubai smart cities appeared first on ReadWrite.

Data protection disputes set to surge in the next five years

8 December, by Ryan Matthew Pierson[ —]
Security Data Protection Inofrmation Lock Save Private Concept

With incidents of data breaches and other data protection issues on the rise, researchers are looking into just how much we can expect data protection disputes to rise in the next five years. This is the focus of a recent research study conducted by the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London in coordination with Pinsent Masons law firm.

The study found that disputes resulting from data and security breaches is expected to rise by as much as 191% in the next five years alone. 67% of respondents indicated that data breaches caused by employees was very common. This is compared to 70% that stated third parties are at least somewhat commonly responsible.

The study, which was conducted with 340 legal experts from around the world, also found that data protection disputes are also expected to increase as much as 104%.

Data protection issues currently make up 13% of all telecoms, media and technology (TMT) disputes. This increase would have a huge impact on IT companies’ bottom lines.

The importance of substantial data protection

For any company that deals with data of a significant and/or personal nature, data security and the legal costs that come with it are a big deal. When a large corporation such as a bank or a retail giant suffers a breach of its data stores, thousands and even millions of people are affected.

Information such as a person’s name, email address, financial information, health records, and passwords can be bought and sold on the black market quickly after it has been illegally obtained. This information can lead to a cascade of problems for the individual, including identity theft and financial ruin.

This became shockingly true for the 30 million people that used the popular infidelity site, Ashley Madison. A data breach on its servers had fallout that went well beyond simple identity theft. News of the breach, and the resulting data dump that outed thousands of government employees and officials in the United States alone, resulted in suicides and countless incidents of extortion.

For Avid Dating Life and Avid Life Media, the companies behind Ashley Madison, this breach could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from class-action lawsuits being filed in several countries.

The challenge of protecting IoT data

Over the past year, the security of the Internet of Things has been brought into question. The widespread outage of popular websites like Amazon and Twitter that occurred in 2016 happened because IoT devices. These devices transmit and receive sometimes sensitive information, were found susceptible to malicious software injection.

Our home’s security systems, medical devices, and even our cars are becoming full-fledged computers with Internet connections. The type of data they gather and send to the cloud ranges from innocuous status updates to live video streams.

Protecting the IoT is paramount to preserving the security of its users’ data and the financial well being of their creators.

The post Data protection disputes set to surge in the next five years appeared first on ReadWrite.

Lenovo Moto has no plans for wearable market in 2017

http://readwrite.com/2016/12/07/lenovo-wearable-2017-dl4/play episode download
8 December, by David Curry[ —]

Lenovo Moto has confirmed it will not launch a wearable device in time for the scheduled Android Wear 2 launch and has no current smartwatch plans.

Google is expected to launch Android Wear 2 early next year, but Lenovo doesn’t see the update as major enough to warrant a new smartwatch.

See Also: You can bend phones, so why not wearables?

Speaking to The Verge, Shakil Barkat, head of global product development at Moto, said he doesn’t see major interest in smartwatches at this time, but left the possibility of future smartwatch launches should the technology and software improve.

“Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year,” said Barkat. “We believe the wrist still has value and there will be a point where they provide value to consumers more than they do today.

A blow for Android Wear

It is a blow for Android Wear, which is already seeing a downturn in interest, as Apple starts to consolidate its position as leader of the smartwatch market. Moto was one of the first manufacturers to build an Android Wear smartwatch, the Moto 360, but sales haven’t been as high as Google, Lenovo, or Moto expected.

Lenovo, the owner of Moto, has been quietly restructuring the company in the past year, trimming some of the fat and updating the brand. The decision to back away from the smartwatch market may be a direct order from Moto’s Chinese owners.

Without Moto, Google is going to struggle to find innovative manufacturers that can make breakthroughs in the market. It has already lost Samsung, who decided to start using Tizen OS for most of its smartwatches instead of Android Wear.

The post Lenovo Moto has no plans for wearable market in 2017 appeared first on ReadWrite.

Europe to see an $18 trillion connected cars boost by 2050

8 December, by Donal Power[ —]
Lisbon, Porgugal cityscape and tram near Lisbon Cathedral.

A new research report found that autonomous vehicles will contribute over $18 trillion to the European economy by 2050. And vulnerable populations are seen as gaining the most from the emerging car technology.

Smart Cities World reported on the release of a Nissan-sponsored study Freeing the Road by the Policy Network think tank.

The report, which focused on the U.K., Germany and Spain, highlighted key economic data and government strategies around the development of autonomous vehicle policy.

The report found that self-driving cars will contribute 0.15% to Europe’s annual growth rate over the coming decades. There will be a 5.3% cumulative impact on the economies of the 28 countries comprising the EU. This amount will add up to $18.3 trillion by the year 2050.

For the full benefits of autonomous drive technologies to be realized, governments and municipalities across Europe should review the report’s findings, work hand in hand with the automotive industry, and play a vital role in ushering in this new technological era,” said Nissan Europe chairman Paul Willcox.

While Nissan sponsored the report, it said the research was independent with the car company exerting no editorial control over the content.

The report is supported by data from the pan-European survey “Nissan Social Index Consumer attitudes to autonomous drive.” The survey polled 6,000 consumers in U.K., Germany, France, Norway, Italy and Spain.

Most vulnerable members of society have most to gain?

Respondents felt vulnerable society members stood to gain the most from autonomous vehicle technology. 57% of polled Europeans saw disabled people directly benefiting from connected cars, followed by 34% who saw elderly benefiting and 33% citing gains for the visually impaired.

The benefits for older people was seen as especially potent, given the demographic shift towards larger populations of elderly folks across Europe. Autonomous cars are seen as providing increased mobility to aging Europeans while reducing isolation and dependency on the state and family for assistance.

The research also found that people saw health and well being benefits for the non-elderly population as well. 56% of respondents cited decreases in stress and car accidents as the top health benefits of robotic cars. As well, 39% saw autonomous vehicles beneficially reducing hit and run accidents while 30% saw the new car technology creating more free time for passengers.

The Nissan report comes shortly after rival automaker Ford announced it will begin testing autonomous vehicles on European roads as early as next year.

The post Europe to see an $18 trillion connected cars boost by 2050 appeared first on ReadWrite.

Wait a sec…could the Internet of Things actually kill people?

8 December, by Ryan Matthew Pierson[ —]
A motion blurred photograph of a child patient on stretcher or gurney being pushed at speed through a hospital corridor by doctors & nurses to an emergency room

The idea is horrifying. You’re at the hospital, hooked up to machines that are there to preserve your life and maintain your comfort as you fight off whatever illness brought you there. Suddenly, the heart monitor alerts the medical staff that you are having a heart attack.

Getting you from the ER to the operating room quickly means the difference between life and death. Except, the elevators are down because a hacker across the world managed to get into the hospital’s network by way of an insecure IoT device.

This is a nightmare scenario. It’s just one of many possible cases that security expert Bruce Schneier warned are in our future if we don’t take steps to secure and better regulate the emerging Internet of Things.

The proliferation of cheap “things” in IoT is the issue

“Everything is now a computer,” Schneier said during a November hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Our refrigerator is a computer that keeps things cold. Your car is not a mechanical device with computers, but a computer with four wheels and an engine.”

Schneier’s opening statement, which went down several key points of concern from a security perspective, highlighted the growing problem that comes with a rapidly-expanding network of connected devices. Among these points was the truth that most individuals won’t replace or update the software on these devices as frequently as we do our smartphones or desktop computers.

A large portion of these connected devices is made cheaply by small teams. Security updates and software patches are rare for smaller, less complicated IoT devices. Even the most popular IoT solutions produced by reputable brands have been a frequent target for exploitation.

“A lot of them cannot be patched. Those DVRs. They can be vulnerable until someone throws them away.” Schneier said, “Your DVR lasts for five years, your car for 10, your refrigerator for 25. I’m going to replace my thermostat approximately never. The market really can’t fix this. The buyer and seller don’t care.”

At the Black Hat conference earlier this year, Philips Hue smart bulbs were hijacked in real time during a panel. This shed light — no pun intended — on a very real situation affecting the Internet of Things as it exists today. Many of these devices are built for convenience, not security.

As cities look to connect more of their vital infrastructure to this virtual web of connected devices, including security cameras, street lights, and roadways, we have to be ever mindful of the security risks that come with them. For networks that contain life-critical systems such as hospitals, this is absolutely critical.

The post Wait a sec…could the Internet of Things actually kill people? appeared first on ReadWrite.

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