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  • feedwordpress 13:53:56 on 2020/01/11 Permalink
    Tags: Social Media   

    CES 2020: Finding Reality in a Sea of Utopia 

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    by Jeremiah Owyang, Tech Analyst The 2020 Consumer Electronics Show provided a utopian view of what the future could be like – but the seasoned attendee knows that only a fraction of these products will come to fruition – and for those, wide adoption will take years. Additionally, not all that glitters is gold, there are some pitfalls that both consumers and companies need to be wary of such as “data leakage” as sensors and devices become cheap and accessible — we don’t know where that data is going.  As a tech analyst, I just returned from my annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show to identify the trends that will matter to business over the next … Continue readingCES 2020: Finding Reality in a Sea of Utopia
  • feedwordpress 13:59:40 on 2019/06/23 Permalink
    Tags: Social Media   

    Satellites as a Service: What, Why, and How. 

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    Satellites as a Service: What is it?
    The Collaborative/Sharing Economy is now applied to Satellites. Now you can “own” your very own Satellite, for just a fraction of the time and price. Just as Uber enabled anyone to access expensive town cars and chauffeurs, and Airbnb enabled us to access beach-side mansions for a single night, this sample business model is applying to expensive satellite technology.  You don’t need to be a tech billionaire or government agency to launch you own space fleet into orbit, you can simply rent some of theirs.

    Key Terms to Know: Satellites as Service:

    • Satellite as a Service (SataaS) – You no longer need to own your own satellite, now you can have access with pay-as-you-go services, similar to Uber or Airbnb for orbiting technology/
    • Ground Station – The vital links on the ground that transmit data to and from orbiting satellites. Also called “earth stations.” Connects to the cloud providers.
    • CubeSat – Miniature satellites that are approximately 4 in. x 4 in. x 4 in created by using off-the-shelf technologies; over 900 are in orbit.
    • Downlink/Uplink – Downlink is the link from a satellite down to a ground station. Uplink is the link from a ground station up to a satellite.
    • X band, S band – Radar frequencies being used by the satellites. X band is at a higher frequency and providers higher resolution images, where S band has a lower frequency, but is less affected by weather like fog. Many satellites carry transmitters with both frequencies as they are complementary.
    • Cloud Services. You’re already familiar with this technology, but now, they are ingesting satellite-based service data, meaning all of us can soon access for a marginal fee.

    Satellites as a Service: Why will it Matter?
    This emerging trend really captured my attention for a few reasons: 1) Anyone can soon access data from space, and 2) It’s the Collaborative/ Sharing Economy being applied to yet a new set of assets: in space. 3) The data that will be delivered is literally world changing, I’ll explain all of this, below. All of this is part of the bigger trend I’m seeing, as the sixth digital era, as we shift to off-world technologies.

    Satellites as a Service: How will Companies Use?  
    Companies like Amazon and Planet Labs are making satellites relevant to every business and soon regular ol’ consumers. There is so much data in space that has a number of different applications and these services are making it easier to access them. Just imagine, on-demand imagery of everything. How could you use it?

    Use Case (above image): Watch your house for intruders at night regardless of cloud cover or smoke for a nominal subscription fee and connect with your other security systems.
    Use Case: Enable satellites to keep track of you during a long hike, which can see thru vegetation. smoke. and where cell phone towers do not reach.
    Use Case: Check actual traffic patterns, analyze your commute.
    Use Case: Access crop health, and actual sourcing of goods from the farm where you’re consuming your own food and beverage.
    Use Case (Above image): Look and analyze infrastructure quality like bridges, during normal usage and during storms.
    Use Case: Look for survivors and emergency crews during fires, these satellites peer thru smoke. Similarly, look for which manufacturing building or forest or downed powerline is producing the emissions or smoke.
    Use Case: Look at actual traffic to your store, and that of competitors; validate or refute market rumors and drive better decisions with new visibility

    (Images courtesy of Planet Labs, Inc. and Donald Giannatti via Unsplash )

    Get the big picture of our little planet; change your business. In video games, there’s a birds eye view to see an entire map and all the players which is called “God View.” Satellites as a service gives all of us mortals god view, the implications are as vast as your imagination can take you. Our new reality is taking us to outer space. New business models are going emerge, as this industry takes off.

  • feedwordpress 16:50:33 on 2019/04/16 Permalink
    Tags: Social Media   

    Investors Bet on Wellness Tech: Startups Funded $2 Billion 

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    Investors are betting that humans turn to tech startups for wellness solutions.

    Wellness is not just a buzzword, it’s a $4.2 Trillion market and growing. It’s a movement and it’s happening now. Our society has taken a turn and people are more focused on their physical, mental and spiritual health than ever before. Being happy and healthy has evolved into a top priority.

    In walks technology…Apps and startups have enabled this movement by creating technology to address our mind, fitness, sleep, diet, reproductive health, environment and beyond. WellTech has been surging with innumerable apps and companies over the last decade. Investment activity has followed in suit with over $2.2B in investment in the 97 modern wellness startups we’ve identified as of March 2019.

    Why WellTech?
    Rising healthcare costs have created a growing need for alternate options to address our wellness – physical, mental and spiritual. With increased healthcare costs, increased stress and ailments, and a growing trend toward happiness and health, the market is primed for wellness apps and technology. These technologies give users assistance in achieving overall wellness and help them take proactive measures for a healthy lifestyle. Modern wellness startups have stepped up to fill the gap. People are turning to consumer technology from Apple, Google, Amazon and others to solve these needs –they have less barriers to entry, despite some initial costs for hardware.

    Startups Come in Four Flavors
    We have classified these wellness startups into four categories: Mind, Body, Community and Space (check out our detailed infographic on this space here). Mind includes startups addressing emotion recognition, intelligent assistance therapy, mental health, mindfulness, mood shaping and stress. Body includes connected apparel, fitness, health, nutrition, sexual wellness and sleep. Community includes the busy market of on-demand fitness and wellness, cryptofitness and on-demand elder care. Lastly, Space involves air, light, scent, sleep, sound, touch and manipulation of whole space.


    • Community 37%, $811M.
    • Body has 29%, $647M.
    • Mind has 18%, $403M.
    • Space has 15%, $333M.

    There are some outliers, like the newly-crowned $1B+ valued unicorn, Calm, a startup that helps users relax, sleep, or focus. Calm recently raised $88M to total their funding to $116M, a leader in the Mindfulness subcategory of the Mind category.

    Community’s large amount of funding is lead by ClassPass, a subscription-based fitness app, at $239M and Practo, a medical advice and booking app, with $234M. These are both large startups that have matured and have accrued funding over the years.

    Future Changes in WellTech
    The Community category, which incorporates the on-demand fitness and wellness providers, is pretty saturated with lots of emerging startups and investments in the last couple of years. We expect this to flatten out.

    Mindfulness has been heating up, expect more here, especially with Headspace, a meditation and mindfulness app that will match funding and valuation to rival Calm. Also, be on the lookout for funding in the Intelligent Assistance Therapy sector, with startups like talkspace, an online therapy app.

    Sleep startups don’t currently have the funding that other subcategories have, but we expect that to change soon. Between wearables and environment management, this is a wildly growing sector. Apple recently acquired Beddit, showing market value/

    In the Body category, we’ll see growth in Nutrition startups like uBiome which provides microbiome testing, and habit that offers personalized nutrition, like highly-anticipated Lumen.

    Growth Categories:
    We’re often asked about the underfunded categories, as these have the most potential to grow. We see three regions that may quickly grow if new innovations are brought forth to market:

    1. New sensors and software. That can measure brain wave activity, galvanic skin response, facial recognition or accurately measure breathing are underfunded categories that may blossom into new business models
    2. Corporate Wellness Technology (CWT) Platforms. Employee wellness solutions that combine multiple features into one suite. Corporations are adopting these technologies for employee wellness, yet they are loosely strung together and lack a cohesive experience.
    3. Data and analytics that measure actual human improvements. There’s a need for analytics that combine biometrics to actually gauge if wellness practices are making a long-lasting effect beyond just simple usage this is for consumer level, crowd aggregation, and at societal level.

    We’ll also see acquisitions that create super apps that offer comprehensive wellness platforms that address mind, body, community and space. Google and Apple are likely contenders in this arena, but there’s certainly room for an independent startup to take this on. Large sports brands like Nike, Under Armour and Reebok have an opportunity to step forward to lead on this, as well.

    We have a spreadsheet tracking these top 100 startups and will report on a periodic basis how this market is shaping up.

    Research assistance by Julie George

  • feedwordpress 14:38:14 on 2019/04/08 Permalink
    Tags: Social Media   

    2019, Red Hot IPO Year for Silicon Valley 

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    There are nearly a dozen tech Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) planned for 2019, the tech companies are scurrying to generate immense wealth before the expected 2020 recession. While many industries are seeing financial problems. pre-IPO tech companies are being heavily valued by Wall Street traders and financial analysts. Most of these companies are Collaborative Economy companies, an industry I covered with great detail over the last half decade. These online marketplaces enable the buying and selling of assets (they don’t own) between individuals. Since they don’t own most of the assets, they have great upside –and little downside. These tech companies are the darlings in business, as they prepare for a massive set of IPOs that could result in over $250 Billion in material wealth as their shares are released to the open market. Here’s a quick breakdown of their anticipated valuation of this year’s launches: 

    Silicon Valley Tech Companies 2019 Expected IPOs

    Company Industry Expected IPO Valuation (Billions $)
    Lyft (March IPO) Collaborative Economy 21
    Uber Collaborative Economy 120
    Airbnb Collaborative Economy 31
    Palantir Data Analytics/AI 41
    Pinterest Social 12.3
    Slack Enterprise Collaboration 10
    Postmates Collaborative Economy 1.2
    PoshMark Collaborative Economy 1
    Robinhood Financial Services 5.6
    Zoom Communications 1
    PagerDuty Cloud Computing 1.7
    Rent the Runway Collaborative Economy 1
    SUM $246.8 Billion 


    What it means: 

    • In 2019 expect to see these 6,000+ newly minted millionaires, most from Silicon Valley & San Francisco.
    • In about two years, 2021-2023, many of these employees will cut ways with their employer, ready to start new companies, or angel invest in the local startup community.
    • Despite the other industries to be in an expected recession, tech startups may still be seeing funding.
    • Who wins: Entrepreneurs, tech workers, VCs, LPs, Silicon Valley real estate owners, and developers.
    • Who loses: Renters seeking to buy a home, non-tech workers, Silicon Valley traffic.
    • More innovation will come out of Silicon Valley, as additional funds are injected into the ecosystem.

    Hat tip Joely Urton for market knowledge. Photos used via Pexels

  • feedwordpress 00:03:48 on 2019/04/01 Permalink
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    Who’s Who in Corporate Wellness Technology (CWT) 

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    Employees are burning out, losing sleep, becoming less healthy, and being compounded by stress. Furthermore, healthcare costs continue to increase as companies struggle to maximize the productivity of their employees while also retaining them. It’s ironic in many ways, but companies are turning to technology to help employees cope with too much technology. Here’s a summary note from our deeper research on this space after interviewing dozens of companies, startups, experts and attending events.

    With 80% of today’s companies offering wellness programs, there is a massive market for services in this space. Apps and comprehensive platforms are filling the needs of employers to provide wellness and engage their employees with wellness offerings. From on-demand meditation to one-stop-shops for all that is wellness, we’ve rounded up a who’s who in today’s corporate wellness tech space.

    Before we go on, we’ve found multiple companies that have deployed mindfulness programs or fitness programs that intentionally do NOT use technology, in particular Google’s spin-out of Search within Yourself teaches individuals to be mentally resilient and mindful without tech aids. We also heard from HR wellness industry experts and authors like Joel Bennett and Laura Putnam (thanks Janet Fouts for the intros) that if the company’s culture is mis-aligned, no technology or mindfulness practice is going to solve the bigger issues. So take heed before deploying tech without having a broader strategy.

    We’ve interviewed many of these companies, tried their products, or heard from their customers in research interviews, here’s an overview of commonly mentioned tech providers:

    Thrive Global offers a behavior change product suite to improve the well-being and performance of employees based on behavior change science. After her own exhaustion-fueled collapse, Arianna Huffington founded Thrive Global to reduce stress and burnout and promote wellness. Its offerings focus on these pillars: Integration of Work & Life, Whole Human Approach, Steeped in Science, Actionable Microsteps, Personally Immersive, and Global Scale. In addition to their corporate product suite, Thrive Global has a large wellness content network.

    Virgin Pulse equips employees with knowledge, tools and support to build healthy habits to last a lifetime. The core mission of Virgin Pulse is to help businesses reduce healthcare costs, improve business performance, build a great company culture, integrate and optimize benefits and HR investments. A major part of their program is the Global Challenge, a 12-month employee fitness challenge. Virgin Pulse is part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

    Life Dojo connects employees to their goals and transforms physical, mental and emotional health, one lifestyle change at a time. Life Dojo offers a behavior change platform to address employer’s issue of under-utilized benefits for disease management, behavioral health, well-being. The programs that they offer include healthy eating, exercise, stress, resilience, sleep, stop smoking, financial skills, and they provide coaches to help employees reach their goals. They boast a number of clients, many who are fast-growing technology companies.

    FitBliss offers a well-being platform that maximizes work performance through better health. Employees can manage their well-being with personalized tools, social engagement, and recognition for achieving their goals. The FitBliss platform includes well-being gamification, health education, health apps & wearables (integrates with most of today’s activity apps – Fitbit, Apple Health, Garmin, MyFitnessPal, Strava, Google Fit, Apple Watch, Runkeeper, Misfit, & more), wellbeing collaboration, employer program insights, personalized health management with an AI feature, and FitProductivity on Salesforce. Their platform integrates with Slack and Salesforce.

    Castlight Health helps employees better navigate their health options. The focus of Castlight is to reach employees before they make care decisions, and guide them to the highest quality, lowest cost options. They integrate the complete health journey, all in one app, where they can access resources for staying healthy, access their care options and manage their conditions. This is all through the Jiff app acquired by Castlight Health in 2017.

    Whil is a digital well-being training solution that helps employees reduce stress, increase resilience and improve their wellbeing and performance for happier, healthier and more engaged workforces. Whil offers 250+ science-based digital programs for mindfulness, sleep, emotional intelligence skills and more for happier, healthier employees. Goal-based resilience training for high performing cultures. Employees improve their mental and emotional wellbeing in micro learning sessions focused on the 12 aspects of employee well-being.

    TRIPP is virtual reality that provides mindful, productive breaks. It offers companies of any size a turnkey solution that improves emotional and mental well-being in the workplace through a fun, engaging and innovative experience. Employees can easily launch TRIPP during breaks to help reduce stress, improve overall team productivity and morale. You put on the headset and it takes you through a meditation experience without the work – on-demand meditation in the workplace. I’ve asked this group to present at client engagements, as the only way to really experience this is in-person.

    Motiv8 combines research with machine learning and AI to determine the best behavior change approach. This is an up-and-comer, it’s key to watch new entrants – not just established players. By understanding what makes each person unique, Motiv8 uses data science to select the most effective research-validated approach to support employees on their health journey. Founded by long-term entrepreneur from the social business space, Eugene Lee, one to watch.

    SAP SuccessFactors “Work-Life” Is an upcoming feature on the already successful SuccessFactors platform that will that helps employees “thrive” at work and home. This solution provides personalized well-being resources and provides employers with aggregate data to identify employee stressors in real-time. This helps companies to improve productivity and their bottom-line. SuccessFactors uses wellness content provided by Thrive Global.

    Honorable mentions of consumer apps that are now selling to enterprises: Calm, Headspace and Muse. They offer a variety of syndicated offerings that can be available to large employee bases. In particular, Calm recently raised $88M in funding a few months ago, and is now valued at over $1B. Headspace has clients in the airline industry, NBA, Genentech and many large companies and finally Muse is offering their solution for companies to give active feedback to employees on their mental focus by using their headset device and app.

    How do these technologies stack up to each other

    CompanyTypeMain BenefitAdditional FeaturesYear FoundedFunded# Empl.
    Thrive GlobalComprehensive  platformBehavior changeUse microsteps2016$50M11-50
    Virgin PulseComprehensive  platformBehavior changeReduce healthcare cost, optimize company culture & benefits2004$92M, acquired251-500
    Life DojoComprehensive  platformBehavior changeCoaching2013$7M11-50
    FitBlissComprehensive  platformBehavior changeMaximizes work performance through better health, AI2014$380K1-10
    Castlight HealthComprehensive  platformNavigate health optionsAccess all benefits in one app2008$184M, now public251-500
    WhilComprehensive  platformWellbeing trainingUse micro learning sessions to address stress, resilience, wellbeing2014$011-50
    TRIPPStandalone appMindful breaks with VROn-demand meditation in workplace2017$4M11-50
    Motiv8Standalone appBehavior change
    Personalized approach based on AI & machine learning 2016N/A1-10
    SAP SuccessFactorsUpcoming comprehensive platformWellbeing resourcesPersonalized approach with aggregate data to identify employee stressors2001$15.6M10,000+

    With the rise of wellness, it’s no surprise that we see such robust and established players in the HR Corporate Wellness Technology space – as well as new, emerging technologies addressing employee wellness. There is technology to gather all benefits in one place, track activity, delivery therapy and coaching, video and written content, provide access to standard health benefits and more. The idea is to make it easier to be well and do your job better.

    While many companies roll out technology to employees to help them deal with focus, productivity, and happiness, we want to be sure to remind companies and business leaders that the most important strategies aren’t just technology, but ensuring your company culture lives by these values, executives are practicing these wellness behaviors, and employees are given permission to use them.

    Photo by Pexels, used within license.

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