Upright’s Pilot Studies Demonstrate how Wearables Increase Office Worker Productivity

Written by Special Guest Blogger Thomas Dawidczyk, Analyst, Lux Research

What They Said

Upright partnered with Ernst & Young Israel to study the link between posture and productivity. The study used Upright’s adhesive posture monitoring wearable that incorporates haptic feedback to improve posture and alleviate lower back pain. After a few weeks using Upright’s device, 75% of the 31 Ernst & Young employees in the study experienced improved posture and decreased back pain. Over half of the participants felt more alert and productive at work due to their improved posture. Additionally, 85% of participants became more aware of their posture and 71% of participants felt more confident when they had good posture. Employees were surveyed about the effects of using Upright on back pain, productivity, and posture throughout the survey. To improve posture, the employees trained two to four times a week for six weeks starting out with just five minutes a day. They used Upright while sitting at their desk, eating lunch, or attending a meeting.

What We Think

Upright has performed other case studies with SAP Software Solutions and Siemens. In all cases, these companies have a large percentage of their workforce that sits in front of computers for a majority of the day and while these results are promising, the solutions are generally not adopted long-term. This adoption problem is not unique to Upright and plagues most wearable devices. One way to achieve sustained adoption may require offering virtual rewards or introducing a gamification.

Preventative and proactive approaches to workplace safety can come in different form factors (see the report “A Sensor a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: How Digital Technology is Keeping Workers Safe”). Employers continue to look to improve on traditional safety protocols, and some have already started to realize the potential of digital solutions, but many are hesitant to buy in due to the implementation cost, worker privacy concerns, and complexity of integration with existing processes. As clinicians and doctors continue to see some benefit to wearables, adoption and retention will continue to increase. The average direct cost of a back injury stands at $45,000, and indirect costs associated with loss of productivity, injury investigation, and training of new workers, for example, can amount to $90,000. So as companies become accustomed to wearables in the workplace, look at greater adoption of posture sensors, especially as companies see the added benefits of productivity gains.

 

Thomas Dawidczyk is an Analyst that leads the Wearables Intelligence service at Lux Research.  Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on Lux to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through their unique research approach focused on primary research and their extensive global network, they deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to their clients.

 

About EWTS 2017:

The 3rd annual Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit 2017 taking place May 10-12, 2017 in San Diego, California is the leading event for wearable technology in enterprise. It is also the only true enterprise event in the wearables space, with the speakers and audience members hailing from top enterprise organizations across the industry spectrum. Consisting of real-world case studies, engaging workshops, and expert-led panel discussions on such topics as enterprise applications for Augmented and Virtual Reality, head-mounted displays, and body-worn devices, plus key challenges, best practices, and more; EWTS is the best opportunity for you to hear and learn from those organizations who have successfully utilized wearables in their operations. 

Join the Enterprise Wearable Technology Community (LinkedIn Group)

Beyond Smartphone Clones: How Wearables Deliver Actual Value and Reshape Tomorrow’s Supply Chain

Written by Special Guest Blogger Noa Ghersin, Wearables Analyst, Lux Research

 

Lux Research recently held a webinar on the topic of how to build and identify good wearable solutions. The “Beyond Smartphone Clones: How Wearables Deliver Actual Value and Reshape Tomorrow’s Supply Chain” webinar can be downloaded here. Key takeaways from the presentation are described below.

 

Where most wearable electronics have gone wrong

Since the introduction of wearables, these devices have acted as a supplement to or extension of smartphones. However, with the likes of the Apple Watch and Fitbit – today’s most iconic wearables – being crappy versions of the smartphone, it is no surprise that wearables are viewed today as little more than nice-to-have gadgets. Moreover, developers of these solutions have witnessed low sales and even drops in stock. Therefore, there is a need to re-think how to go about building wearable devices. 

Beyond smartphone clones: What good wearable electronics actually look like

Few wearable electronics are starting to deliver real value to users; from enhancing athletic performance, improving working efficiency and safety, to facilitating effective and convenient wellness programs. It is those wearables that look to augment the human – whether it be by improving volleyball training like Vert, helping workers manage their fatigue while on the job like SmartCap, or alleviating back pain through posture coaching like Upright  – that have the potential to become truly valuable and witness success in the long-run. However, even among solutions that augment the human there are varied levels of “good.” Wearable solutions that are truly valuable and effective are those that sense well, analyze well, and make it easy to act on the insight they generate. 

Applying the formula: How to turn a wannabe-smartphone wearable device into a compelling offering 

We take Fitbit’s device as a case study for how this framework – sense, analyze, and act – can be applied to transform a non-compelling offering into an effective solution that consumers will actually want to use. Specifically, we suggest how Fitbit could become a valuable weight loss device by pairing it with other solutions (see figure below). By taking on Healbe’s automatic calorie intake tracking capabilities, for example, Fitbit will know both how many calories its users burn as well as consume. By taking on Habit’s abilities to recommend biology-based personalized nutrition, Fitbit will be analyzing information that will be valuable to the user. Finally, by partnering with a device like Pavlok, which helps users abandon their unhealthy habits and reach their goals, Fitbit’s solution could become a compelling offering that will provide long-term value to its users. Altogether the new, re-imagined offering provides a more effective, personalized, and ultimately – compelling – solution.

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Looking towards the future: What will happen when we sense well, analyze well, and also nail the “act” stage 

The shift to sensing well, analyzing well, and making it easy to act on insights will impact players along the entirety of the value chain, from materials and components developers to device integrators and even consumers. The shift to making wearables that sense well will necessitate development of new sensors, ones that can sense better, faster, and noninvasively. This will give sensors developers more leverage over device integrators. The need to also analyze well will bring along the emergence of companies who do just that – analytics for wearables. This will give device integrators the luxury of making the choice between building or buying analytics capabilities, but will also create more competition. Finally, the shift to making the “act” step easy on the user will require incorporation of new feedback modalities (e.g. haptics) as well as of new behavior augmentation techniques (e.g. penalization, gamification). As a result, wearables will become valuable for all types of consumers, independent of the level of specialization.

 

Noa Ghersin is an Analyst at Lux Research who leads the Digital Health and Wellness team. Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on Lux to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through their unique research approach focused on primary research and their extensive global network, they deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to their clients.

 

About EWTS 2017:

The 3rd annual Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit 2017 taking place May 10-12, 2017 in San Diego, California is the leading event for wearable technology in enterprise. It is also the only true enterprise event in the wearables space, with the speakers and audience members hailing from top enterprise organizations across the industry spectrum. Consisting of real-world case studies, engaging workshops, and expert-led panel discussions on such topics as enterprise applications for Augmented and Virtual Reality, head-mounted displays, and body-worn devices, plus key challenges, best practices, and more; EWTS is the best opportunity for you to hear and learn from those organizations who have successfully utilized wearables in their operations. 

Join the Enterprise Wearable Technology Community (LinkedIn Group)

Fitbit Manages to Show Corporate Wellness Effectiveness but Solution Still Lacking

Written by Special Guest Blogger Reginald Parris, Wearables Analyst, Lux Research

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Fitbit released a set of data to combat skepticism surrounding how wearable activity trackers actually improve health. The Fitabase Research Library lists more than 170 studies that have used Fitbit devices in one place. The company also sponsored a study by Springbuk that examined the return on investment of workplace wearables and found that the average reduced health care costs of employees was about $1,300 per person. The study followed 2,689 individuals over two years, including a control group and 866 employees who opted in and received partially subsidized Fitbits. Of those who opted in, 266 used their Fitbit for at least half of the program, and these users’ health care costs decreased by 46%. Amy McDonough, Vice President of Fitbit Group Health, said that the studies were “looking at everyone from ‘low-steppers’ – around 6,600 steps per day – to those stepping beyond the recommended 10,000 steps per day, and they are all getting a decreased health care cost.”

Although Fitbit’s corporate wellness study appears to demonstrate a promising role for wearables in lowering employee health care costs, there are three reasons why the company’s reported figures from its latest study may be misleading.

  • Non-randomized control trial. Of the 2,689 individuals who participated in the study, the 866 employees who opted into the Fitbit group were compared with a non-Fitbit control group that consisted of participants who had similar ages, health conditions, and genders. While the study does compare Fitbit users to non-Fitbit users, those who opted to be part of the Fitbit group are more likely to be active individuals than those who did not opt in within the control group.
  • Unexplained health care savings in control group. While the study showed 22.5% in health care savings for the Fitbit user group, there was also an unexplained drop of 9.3% in health care costs for the non-Fitbit control group.
  • Difference in user activity skewed result of average health care savings. About 350 participants who wore a Fitbit for at least 274 non-consecutive days were the participants who saw a big reduction in medical costs. Participants who used the Fitbit for fewer than 274 days saw a less significant reduction in medical costs. Fitbit users who were more active, stepping beyond the recommended 10,000 steps, raised the average health care savings of the Fitbit group.

While Fitbit’s study shows that its corporate wellness solution can play a role in reducing employee health care costs, other developers offer more compelling corporate wellness solutions that may contribute to a greater return on investment. Fitbit’s current corporate wellness solution consists of a program that recommends that every participant take 10,000 steps a day to improve their personal health. Other solutions often incorporate a common element, coaching, and target specific problems to provide personable insights for the user. Upright has a device that uses haptic feedback to improve posture and alleviate lower back pain along with a smartphone application to track progress. Some companies, like Omada Health and Blue Mesa Health, which target individuals predisposed to chronic diseases like diabetes, utilize wearable activity trackers in addition to wireless scales and personal health coaches to help users better understand their health choices in addition to keeping track of progress. Another example is Biobeats, which analyzes information from wearables and smartphones to identify stress and provide relaxation exercises. If Fitbit wants to offer a more effective corporate wellness solution, it should consider incorporating a coaching element in its solution to target specific problems, and partner with companies like PhysIQ so that it can provide more personable insights for its users. Those looking to develop corporate wellness solutions should look for options that include activity trackers that are combined with coaching or an outreach program to provide better insight for employees.

 

Reginald Parris is a Research Associate at Lux Research. Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on Lux to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through their unique research approach focused on primary research and their extensive global network, they deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to their clients.

 

About EWTS 2017:

The 3rd annual Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit 2017 taking place May 10-12, 2017 in San Diego, California is the leading event for wearable technology in enterprise. It is also the only true enterprise event in the wearables space, with the speakers and audience members hailing from top enterprise organizations across the industry spectrum. Consisting of real-world case studies, engaging workshops, and expert-led panel discussions on such topics as enterprise applications for Augmented and Virtual Reality, head-mounted displays, and body-worn devices, plus key challenges, best practices, and more; EWTS is the best opportunity for you to hear and learn from those organizations who have successfully utilized wearables in their operations. 

Join the Enterprise Wearable Technology Community (LinkedIn Group)

Startups Monitor Emotions to Optimize Consumer Value, Vehicle Safety, and Employee Performance

Written by Special Guest Blogger Mark Bünger, VP of Research, Lux Research

 

Many of the advances in Internet of Things (IoT)-based data gathering and analytics sound like Orwellian spying. And indeed, nearly every week brings new instances of devices streaming sensor measurements to a cloud-based server (Bluetooth-based smart locks, for example), where vulnerabilities compromise the endpoint, transit or storage; and intentional system features exploit users’ unintentional or even willful release of data for ethically-dubious ends. Now the addition of affective computing, a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) geared towards sensing and emulating human emotion, is adding a new layer of controversy in spaces like:

  • Enjoying entertainment in smart homes. Affective computing startups are entering the home with social robots like Jibo, but also in ways that are less obvious (or voluntary) for consumers: Last year, Samsung had to walk back smart television “spying” features that sent not only voice commands but also incidental conversation back to its servers. Today, Affectiva is working with consumer goods and media companies like DisneyCBSCoca-Cola and Unilever to measure the effectiveness of ads in sparking emotional responses. The company, which raised $14 million earlier this year, has now launched a mobile-device-based version of its software.
  • In traffic, via connected vehicles. GM’s “Valet Mode” car monitoring system provided driver behavior data and in-car video and audio recording to Corvette owners, but also to third-party marketers; and may have inadvertently made its users into wiretap felons. Now, Nexar – an Israeli/San Francisco startup – uses the camera on drivers’ dashboard-mounted smartphones to record and analyze video footage of the scene in front of the car. Unlike dumb dashcams, the app uses AI (machine learning) to spot other drivers’ bad habits (hard braking or near misses, for example), and warns the network of Nexar users whenever a bad driver is nearby. Moreover, the phone’s screen-side camera analyzes in-car events, promising to help make drivers and passengers safer in ride-sharing and taxi services (it claims 600 users in Uber, Lyft, and Via fleets). The company launched the app in February 2016 and raised a $10.5 million Series A in June. Another such app is Nauto, which targets vehicle fleets and insurers, promising to reduce risks by detecting aggressive drivers externally or driver drowsiness in the vehicle. It raised a $12 million Series A in April.
  • On the job, in intelligent offices. A cottage industry is arising around the use of IoT data to monitor employees’ productivity and social interaction on the job, with companies like Enlighted and Yanzi Networks putting sensors in conference rooms and personal desks to create the “quantified employee” or the “human cloud at work” . Cornerstone OnDemand is a cloud-based big data and analytics company focused on office productivity, and ThingLogix has extended its business operations software to include employee-monitoring devices. As Deloitte wrote after an experiment putting sociometric badges on employees, “With oceans of data from workers’ wearables, HR departments could aim to create more pleasant and efficient work environments by looking at productivity, patterns of communication, travel and location trends, and how teams work together.” While much of this tracking relies on objective measurement of tasks and interactions, at least two new startups are adding measurements of emotion to the mix. Humanyze offers “people analytics” based on data captured by wearable “GEM” badges (the same ones used by Deliotte) that use microphones to monitor the “tone of your voice and how frequently you are contributing in meetings,” while “hidden accelerometers measure your body language and track how often you push away from your desk.” Another company, Behavox, applies machine-learning algorithms to voice and text communications, as well as employee task data (like traders’ transaction records) to spot compliance problems in financial services and “highlight both good and bad conduct.”

As with many new technologies that tinker with cultural norms and assumptions, the use and abuse of affective computing (like social media, online dating, and even email before it) will seem creepy to some, but efficient and practical to others (see the Lux Research report “The Future We Want: Directing Customer Behaviors with Predictive Analytics and Nudge Technologies“). It seems inevitable, for example, that workers should wear intelligent monitoring gear that can help protect them and others in areas where safety risks are high. Over time, the practical camp is likely to outgrow the resisters in emotional areas, while the measurable and monetizable benefits grow and grow. Readers are advised to be fast followers – not leaders or laggards – in the affective space, developing or applying these technologies so they can reap the benefits of better understanding of consumers and employees, while not becoming the poster child for invasive practices.

 

Mark Bünger is a Vice President at Lux Research. Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on Lux to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through their unique research approach focused on primary research and their extensive global network, they deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to their clients.

 

About EWTS 2017:

The 3rd annual Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit 2017 taking place May 10-12, 2017 in San Diego, California is the leading event for wearable technology in enterprise. It is also the only true enterprise event in the wearables space, with the speakers and audience members hailing from top enterprise organizations across the industry spectrum. Consisting of real-world case studies, engaging workshops, and expert-led panel discussions on such topics as enterprise applications for Augmented and Virtual Reality, head-mounted displays, and body-worn devices, plus key challenges, best practices, and more; EWTS is the best opportunity for you to hear and learn from those organizations who have successfully utilized wearables in their operations. 

Join the Enterprise Wearable Technology Community (LinkedIn Group)

 

Through the enterprise looking glass: SAP integrates with augmented reality startups

Written by Special Guest Blogger Mark Bünger, VP of Research, Lux Research

Lux Research recently spoke at the SAP Startup Focus on Augmented Reality (AR) in Palo Alto, California. The SAP Startup Focus program provides expertise and software to 3,000 startups in fields ranging from consumer products to military, utilities, and energy. At the event, four AR startups pitched to a panel that included Nestle’s VP of Digital Services, Goran Kukic; as well as three SAP executives responsible for sports and entertainment; manufacturing, energy, and natural resources; and mobile applications. SAP told us that each of the four startups are “current members or are in discussion with SAP Startup Focus to bring SAP HANA into augmented reality product architecture and ultimately bring that new capability to SAP’s enterprise customers.” While response time is important in any application, it’s obviously critical in the real-time environment of AR; addressing this need for speed, SAP added that as an in-memory platform, SAP HANA “can quickly provide users with immersive insight ‘in the wild.'” Continue reading “Through the enterprise looking glass: SAP integrates with augmented reality startups”

Microsoft’s Hololens poised to live up to the hype, bringing into competition with the likes of Sony, not Google

Written by Special Guest Blogger Jonathan Melnick, Senior Analyst, Lux Research

Amongst much fanfare and hype, Microsoft has begun shipping $3,000 development kits for its augmented reality smart glasses “Hololens.” The 579g Hololens comes with 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage space and users can expect 2 to 3 hours of battery life although details on the battery specs are currently unavailable. Perhaps the most exciting pieces of the Hololens are the display, which are waveguide-enabled 3D stereoscopic displays with a field of view of approximately 35 degrees, and device inputs, which include four microphones, four cameras, and speech, head movement, and gesture controls.
Continue reading “Microsoft’s Hololens poised to live up to the hype, bringing into competition with the likes of Sony, not Google”

A detailed breakdown of the IoT platform space

Written by Special Guest Blogger Isaac Brown, Lux Research

 

Today, most people are already familiar with enterprise adoption of wearable devices like Google Glass and the Apple Watch. However, while enterprise wearables are one of the interfaces between workers and the Internet of Things (IoT), many still lack a deep understanding of how the IoT platforms behind them work, let alone the crowded IoT platform space and the new startups looking to enter enterprise wearables. While slicing things up into discrete categories is always imperfect (is a platypus really a mammal?), it is useful to break the IoT platform space down into four categories. Many of the platforms offer functionalities across the various categories, but the following categorization is valuable for understanding this confusing space.
Continue reading “A detailed breakdown of the IoT platform space”