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notion-smart-sensor-iot

Internet of Things (IoT) startup Notion has raised $3.2 million in funding, led by insurance giant Liberty Mutual.

The funding comes two years after Notion started a Kickstarter to sell smart sensors that can track broken windows, water leaks, and unauthorized access to the house. Backers started receiving their sensors in February, though some are still waiting.

See also: Could autonomous cars destroy the auto insurance industry?

For Liberty Mutual, Notion could prevent water leaks or burglaries from getting out of hand, lowering the amount insurers have to pay and potentially lowering the cost of insurance for homeowners.

This has already happened, State Farm and other insurers provide lower rates for homeowners that own a Nest thermostat or smoke detector.

“We’ve received a lot of interest from insurance companies,” said Brett Jurgens, CEO of Notion, to Denver Post. “A big part is the insurance companies are interested in decreasing water leaks and (increasing) home security adoption. The benefit passes on to customers.”

Notion handles a lot of tasks

Part of Notion’s appeal is the variety of things the smart sensor can do. In the Kickstarter video, Jurgens mentions acceleration, moisture, sound, temperature, light, orientation, natural frequency, and proximity. It can track the amount of propane left in a tank, whether the garage door is unlocked, and if a safe is opened.

The investment in Notion is only the start for Liberty, which set aside $150 million for insurance tech groups. The company’s first IoT investment was August Home, one of the most popular smart locks.

We are going to see more of these insurance-technology partnerships, and this might prompt a quicker IoT adoption rate from customers that want lower insurance rates. It may also go the other way though, if customers are worried about their private data getting into the hands of insurers.

The post Liberty Mutual funds smart home IoT startup Notion appeared first on ReadWrite.

Girl in Park relaxing interacting with her wearables

The global healthcare market for medical wearables just passed its physical with flying colors, with a new study predicting the segment will grow a respectable 30% by 2020.

An article by Enterprise Innovation reports the results of a study by research firm Frost & Sullivan that predicts the global healthcare market for wearable devices will blossom from $5.1 billion in 2015 to $18.9 billion in 2020. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.9%.

The report also found that connected consumer health devices will post a CAGR of almost 28% while growth in clinical-grade wearables will reach nearly 33%.

As reported previously, much of this growth will be driven by the increasing number of seniors who will suffer ill health and have the money to tackle their medical issues with new technology.

“Breakthrough technological innovations in wearable electronics, sensors, alternate power sources and wireless platforms are enabling novel applications that would not have been feasible even five years ago,” said Venkat Rajan, Transformational Health Director with Frost & Sullivan. “Moving beyond basic consumer-centric applications, newer wearable devices with more robust and reliable feature sets open a wide spectrum of clinical use cases.”

Clinical uses of wearables will transform market

Chronic disease monitoring and other clinical uses are anticipated to have a transformative effect on care provision models. Though clinical grade devices promise care that is less restricted by geography and traditional scheduling, the report says the new devices need to justify their cost by demonstrating the benefits of improved functionality and data insight.

“Clinical wearables must concurrently justify their value to payers, patients, and clinicians to gain a market foothold,” noted Rajan. “Confidence in the accuracy of collected data is paramount to the utility of information in any medical decision support.”

Despite the expanding horizons for the segment, there are still challenges looming ahead, as seen by the many medical wearables that have struggled to succeed after launching to great fanfare. The report particularly cautions about device-makers wishing to include every bell and whistle, and ending up creating products that are overly complex.

“The effort required on the user side to understand, maintain or properly operate the device would often lead to high abandonment rates after a few months,” the report said.

The post Healthcare wearables market fit as a fiddle; to grow to $19B by 2020 appeared first on ReadWrite.

easyjet-vibrating-shoes-travel

Travelling in an unfamiliar city has never been easier with mapping applications like Google Maps and Apple Maps storing hundreds of thousands of restaurants, places to see, and activity centers for tourists to check out while on holiday.

However, the experience of pulling out your phone every two minutes to check you are still going in the right direction is a little obnoxious, for both you and the people you bump into on the busy streets.

See Also: Your wearable alcohol monitor is worried about you

Low-cost British airline EasyJet believes it has found a solution, a pair of connected shoes called Sneakairs. The shoes—which come in EasyJet’s rather hideous safety orange—are fitted with an Arduino chip that vibrates the left or right shoe, depending on the turn.

When you arrive at the destination, both shoes will vibrate to alert you. We assume if you travel down the wrong route, say you noticed something interesting in the opposite direction, Google Maps will automatically re-route the journey.

EasyJet built shoes using Arduino tech

EasyJet built the vibrating shoes as part of its Barcelona Street Project. The device uses a miniaturized Arduino clone with a vibration module (similar to a phone’s vibration), Bluetooth low-energy, and a small battery. It utilizes Arduino Sketch, an open-source SDK for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and Google Maps Directions API to send data from the smartphone to the shoes in near real-time.

That does mean you need to take your smartphone with you, but instead of constantly checking you are in the right place, you can use it to take better Instagram photos or videos of the city.

What’s more shocking than the shoe color is that EasyJet has made an impressive product. As a Brit, EasyJet has always been one of those budget airlines that attempt to squeeze the customer of every inch of comfort and enjoyment to rake in the profits, but this is a genuine smart wearable product that could definitely be used by frequent travellers, as long as we get a few color options.

The post Could connected shoes help tourists travel cities? appeared first on ReadWrite.

australian-cricket-team

Australia’s cricket team is the latest sporting franchise to adopt a wearable to check player performance levels. The news comes a month before the team’s series with Sri Lanka.

Designed by a sports scientist team at the Australian Catholic University (ACU), the wearable is able to track and analyse high speed bowls, providing insight into a bowler’s speed, performance, and fatigue.

See Also: Internet of Things disrupts the Tour de France

Bowlers spend hours everyday practicing their throw, and a slight dip in performance might be the difference between 10 and 100 runs. Giving staff the ability to see changes in performance may allow them to schedule smarter practice regimes and work on deficiencies.

“Tagging individual balls with an intensity measure provides both immediate analysis such as identifying effort balls, or potentially a drop in performance due to fatigue, or longer term workload analysis,” said ACU sports scientist Dean McNamara, part of the wearable team.

Cricket borrowing from missile technology

ACU used submarine technology that guides missiles and spacecraft to make the wearable capable of tracking high speed bowls. Inside the wearable sits an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer — everything a wearable needs to precisely track movement.

Cricket, like most sports, does not allow wearables to be used during games. Considering matches sometimes last half a day, we can see why it may be unfair to have one team analyzing every single part of the game, while the other team lacks the resources.

Some of the more contemporary sports like NBA, MLB, and NFL are starting to adopt wearables, at least for practice games, though leagues seem emphatic that changes could give some teams unnecessary advances, both on and off the pitch.

Even rugby, another antique in the sporting world, is taking a stab at wearables, as a way to potentially lower the amount of casualties.

The post Aussie cricket team protecting its bowlers with wearables appeared first on ReadWrite.

fi

Despite the popularity of fitness trackers and the spike in exercise wearables, rumors are swirling that Jawbone may be exiting the wearables technology competition.

The company recently announced that it has ceased the manufacturing of its UP fitness trackers and is selling off its entire inventory to a third-party seller. But CEO Hosain Rahman has reiterated his commitment to the wearables space since that news broke.

See Also: Are these Samsung earbuds the latest fitness tracker?

According to Fortune, the explanation for the sell-off was to allow for the company to focus on its health and wellness business. CEO Rahman released a statement that the company is more interested in the information that was collected from the wearables than it is in keeping the hardware business.

The company was responsible for the selling of three serious fitness wearables: the UP2, UP3 and UP4.  Company decision makers chose to unload the inventory at a reduced rate after experiencing difficulties in selling the products.  Jawbone UP fitness tracker reviews have always been varied, with many negative points brought to light.  For example, the first model had a design that was not well received by consumers.  The next model was also a poor design that could fall off too easily.

Jawbone jawboning the wearable exit news

But the company has since backed off on this plan, at least publicly. On the company’s blog, Rahman called the wearables exit talk “unequivocally false.” The company has also announced plans to roll out a new health-focused wearable, too.

It is still not clear whether Jawbone will continue manufacturing its UP fitness trackers in the future. Tech Insider has reported that Jawbone is not actually exiting the wearables business altogether, but it is simply selling off the inventory that still remains.   After almost a year since Jawbone released its major fitness wearable, it has not been able to compete with the companies that have dominated this industry.  Fitbit, Apple and Garmin are the key players in this market.

Jawbone is also searching for a buyer for its Bluetooth speaker business.  It is trying to sell off all of its old stocks.  Interestingly, the Jawbone speakers were well rated, getting high ratings by their users.  However, the competition was just too heavy for them.  The speakers were really awesome, but offered nothing that was extremely necessary and in high demand.

Perhaps the next move for Jawbone would be to arrange business deals with manufacturers of wearables, using their own apps or software.

The post Will Jawbone’s future mean no more wearables? appeared first on ReadWrite.

samsung-gear-iconx-hearable-hero

Samsung enjoys being a competitor in every electronic market, and the next gadget coming from the South Korean giant might be a hearable called the Gear IconX.

Big-time mobile leaker Evan Blass revealed images of the Gear IconX, which combines music streaming with fitness tracking in a pair of wireless earbuds.

See also: Samsung hones in on self-driving chip business

The Gear IconX looks similar to the Bragi Dash, though instead of black or white Samsung has chosen light blue. We don’t know if there will be other color options.

According to the leak, one of the earbuds contains 4GB of flash storage, which allows the earbuds to store a few apps like Spotify, MyFitnessPal, and RunKeeper. Touch control will work similar to the Gear Circle, a Bluetooth headset from Samsung, though the leak didn’t go into specifics.

Design wise, the Gear IconX will be dust and water resistant. We suspect IP58, the same specification that the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge received earlier this year.

We might see more sensors added to the Gear IconX, like a heart-rate sensor or dedicated GPS, according to Wearable. That might make the device more appealing to fitness fanatics.

Samsung may launch the Gear IconX alongside the Gear Fit 2, a successor to the 2014 Gear Fit fitness tracker. Samsung has supposedly made the tracker more curved and ergonomic and added dedicated GPS to improve accuracy.

The Gear Fit 2 should be available for around the same price as its predecessor at $200, but no price was mentioned for the Gear IconX. If we go off the Bragi Dash, we should expect it to cost around $300 to $400, though Samsung may price it lower to compete.

No release dates were shared either.

The post Are these Samsung earbuds the latest fitness tracker? appeared first on ReadWrite.

STACEY HIGGINBOTHAM-260 (1)

Stacey Higginbotham is the creator of the IoT Podcast and the “Stacey Knows Things” IoT newsletter. She is also a senior editor for Fortune and senior writer for Gigaom.

We interviewed Higginbotham on smart home developments in IoT—and what she views as IoT’s most significant problems.

Voice control platforms are great but divisive

Higginbotham details that the smart home is trending toward responsiveness rather than having to program interactions. She comments, “The initial promise was with Nest, how you wouldn’t have to program your thermostat. It would just know what you needed.”

She elaborates that part of creating a responsive home is providing voice control to consumers.

“Voice is your user interface, so what you should be looking at is the platform these guys are building around the voice platform. Right now I think Amazon is totally in the lead here, but Nest also has some ways that you can control things on your Amazon Echo. I don’t know who’s going to win (but) the platforms that win, probably 4 or 5, will have an open voice platform.”

But, these different IoT platforms make it difficult to create a connected IoT community. Higginbotham comments, “We have no open standards. Everything’s got its own hardware, its own silo…we’ve got to move past that for things to become real.”

Troubleshooting problems in IoT

Higginbotham also identified unreliability and high prices as problems in IoT.

She sees reliability as an issue: “Once a week I’m troubleshooting.” According to Higginbotham, the IoT product has to work just as well as the current unconnected product to spike consumer interest: “Bear minimum is, it’s going to work the way it used to work, and you get added functionality.”

Another problem is higher prices for IoT products compared to unconnected products. “(IoT products are) not a good sell for the consumer. No one wants to pay 6 times more to open an app and control their lights.”

Yet despite these problems, Higginbotham sees IoT’s future as bright. “The Internet of Things is such a beautiful concept. I would love everything to come together.”

 

 

The post RW Q&A: Stacey Higginbotham, creator of The IoT Podcast appeared first on ReadWrite.

mike-lynch-autonomy-wearables

Big data billionaire Mike Lynch, who sold his company Autonomy to HP for $11.7 billion in 2011, questioned the role of wearables in healthcare, specifically pointing to a growing trend of Fitbit or Apple Watch owners showing doctors useless information from their wearables.

“What the hell is a GP supposed to do [with that data]?” said Lynch to Business Insider. “Wearable devices will often give false alarms and the infrastructure isn’t there for healthcare professionals to deal with the data they produce.”

See Also: Can this new wearable help detect depression?

Most consumer wearables provide basic health information, like heart rate and sleeping patterns, but some niche products provide perspiration and glucose levels. Lynch believes most of this data will be useless to a doctor, and will lead to more unnecessary appointments.

“It’s an incredible distraction and cost and at the moment it’s highly questionable whether there’s a clinical outcome,” said Lynch.

Better coordination needed, says Lynch

While Lynch sounds anti-wearables, he does advocate for better systems that help doctors utilize information from wearables and other consumer electronics. That could come in the form of integration between a wearable platform, like Fitbit or MyFitnessPal, and a clinic.

Healthcare is still a very regulated market, especially for software, which has lead to this disconnect between the patient and doctor. In the U.K., for instance, the National Health Service (NHS) has only just started pushing for 95 percent of medical records online and lacks basic integration with wearable or online services.

America’s system differs depending on your clinic, some are trying to implement systems and others are not. In a recent survey conducted by the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO), members said wearables could be one of the most beneficial and likely to be adopted emerging technologies in the next 10 years, which is a good sign.

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