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Why Healthcare Organizations Need to Leverage Enterprise Data Lakes

Why Healthcare Organizations Need to Leverage Enterprise Data Lakes | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

As the so-called “oil of the twenty-first century,” there is little doubt that data is the crown jewel of the digital economy. The Internet of Things is poised not only to shake up individual industries, but to bring them together like never before with the promise of hyper connected, ultra personalized experiences. And for consumers, one particular application of IoT is perhaps the most intriguing: the impact of connected devices on health and healthcare. Indeed, McKinsey has projected a $11.1 trillion market by 2025, nearly one-third of which will be comprised of healthcare-related devices.


Health-conscious wearables have rapidly gained popularity over the last few years, and are making strides when it comes to the complexity and accuracy of the data captured. These devices are monitoring everything from blood sugar to heart rate, tracking trends in medication, diet, and exercise, and communicating this information to providers to enhance and extend care beyond the doctor’s office. We can only imagine these applications growing and diversifying as technologies advance and become more affordable.


But like any conversation around data management, we know it’s not enough to simply collect massive amounts of data. Information must be captured in a way that makes it readily available and actionable for healthcare organizations and doctors, and in turn, their patients. Data volumes are exploding, the nature of data is changing, and the underlying technologies are being augmented or replaced by newer systems like Hadoop, MapReduce, and HIVE.

Beyond traditional healthcare data sources like EMR, PACS, transactional databases, CRM systems, and financial and prescription data, new unstructured and semi-structured data sources are rapidly emerging. The result is that the healthcare industry has become inundated by a myriad of data sources from multiple locations, all of which has the potential to make a real impact on people’s lives — but not as it exists currently.

The best way we can hope to unleash the power of big data for healthcare is to rethink how we capture, organize, and analyze it. Healthcare CIOs are already well-aware of the shifting landscape and focusing on refining and advancing internal systems, but they must also shift their focus to include integration and leveraging a system of insights.


Both providers and payers are in desperate need of a solution that can act as a common data platform and integrate data originating from multiple locations in a variety of formats, all while preserving all of the metadata associated with those data objects. In addition, media overrun and rising infrastructure costs pose a big problem as old data that is seldom used accumulates rapidly, reducing performance and even negatively impacting the accuracy of data analysis. This is where an enterprise data lake with archiving comes into play.


Think about it: medical professionals need immediate, direct and natural-language access to analysis of all patient data in its original format, as well as intelligent tools that can provide recommendations based on all of the available data. In the case of healthcare, this data consists not only of facts and figures about the patient, but highly pertinent free-form text such as physicians’ notes, radiology reports, medical journal articles, email correspondence, images such as CAT scans or MRIs, genome files, and of course, information collected directly from wearables, respirators, blood pressure monitors, and other connected devices.


Instead of attempting to pull this data from separate sources and manually integrating and maintaining it, all of the data from these disparate sources is fed into a single enterprise data lake that is capable of reaching across multiple internal as well as public cloud systems. Here, the data is highly organized and maintained, and any kind of external analysis tool can easily be integrated to more effectively transform the information into actionable insights for the provider and patient.


The beauty of this approach is that security levels can be individually maintained as appropriate to each separate database. This is critical to ensuring that patient data is managed sensitively, so organizations can adhere to the strict privacy and compliance regulations unique to healthcare. Entire patient records can be handled with complete and full control, to ensure that only the right patient data is shared with the right people. In addition, old and inactive data is automatically archived, thereby combating the high costs, potential problems, and inefficiencies of media overrun.


As the applications and capabilities of wearables continue to rise, we need a smarter, scalable way to collect, house, and manage the oceans of data that ensue. Organizations that leverage the enterprise data lake will be empowered to cut costs, streamline resources, and ultimately do more with their data. In the end, this will translate to higher satisfaction among providers and patients alike, and drive more effective outcomes in patient health and wellness.

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One Chinese brand makes a quarter of the world's wearable devices

One Chinese brand makes a quarter of the world's wearable devices | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Which company do you think is the fast-rising upstart in the wearable world? Fitbit?Jawbone? None of the above, if you ask IDC. It estimates that China's Xiaomi claimed 24.6 percent of the wearable device market in the first quarter of 2015, which is no mean feat when the company didn't even start shipping its first wrist-worn gadget, the Mi Band, until the second half of last year. That still amounts to just 2.8 million devices, but it was enough to shrink the market share for virtually everyone else, including industry leader Fitbit as well as Garmin, Samsung and Jawbone. And Samsung is the only smartwatch maker on the list, we'd add. LG, Motorola, Pebble and other early entrants are lumped into the "others" group.

As to why Xiaomi did so well? Analysts don't go into detail, but the Mi Band's thrifty $15 price no doubt helped, as did Xiaomi's big presence in the Chinese smartphone space. The real question is whether or not it can keep that spot. While there aren't official Apple Watch sales figures, IDC believes that it's likely to become the benchmark for wearables, "fairly or not." The Cupertino crew won't necessarily knock Fitbit or Xiaomi out of their top spots, but its sheer clout could easily make it a major contender.

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Where Google went wrong with Glass

Where Google went wrong with Glass | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Google botched its wearable, Google Glass, and now the director of GoogleX labs is openly talking about it.

Astro Teller, Google’s director of its research arm, GoogleX, was speaking to an audience at the South by Southwest conference in Austin on Tuesday when he said the company made mistakes with Glass.

Google, according to Teller, needs to work out its wearable’s battery and privacy issues, and address miscommunications about the state of the project.

Google Glass, even when it was being sold to early testers for $1,500, was never close to being ready for official sale. It’s a prototype and still solidly in the experimental phase.

The company, however, did not make that clear, especially when its executives and its PR people were repeatedly putting timeframes on an official Glass release.

Looking back at the Glass Explorer program, Teller said Google did one good thing it launched the project but it also did one thing wrong.

“The bad decision was that we allowed and sometimes even encouraged too much attention for the program,” he said. “Instead of people seeing the Explorer devices as learning devices, Glass began to be talked about as if it were a fully baked consumer product. The device was being judged and evaluated in a very different context than we intended.”

That tactic frustrated a lot of early adopters.

“While we were hoping to learn more about how to make it better, people just wanted the product to be better straight away , and that led to some understandably disappointed Explorers,” Teller said.

While thousands of people bought Glass to become early adopters, or Explorers , the application ecosystem for the product didn’t grow and the project became the target of jokes and waning interest.

“It sounded reasonable to them to have an alpha testing program where, rather than paying the folks testing the product and keeping it secret, they got the testers to pay for the privilege in a kind of a Tom Sawyer scheme, and made the test public,” said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. “Now the product has to dig itself out of a hole that wouldn’t have existed had they done the testing using traditional methods.”

A public experiment

Teller said the Explorer program, which ended in January, was invaluable.

“I can say that having experimented out in the open was painful at points, but it was still the right thing to do,” he said. “We never would have learned all that we’ve learned without the Explorer program, and we needed that to inform the future of Glass and wearables in general.”

According to Teller, Google learned that it has to work out problems with the wearable’s battery and with the privacy issues surrounding computerized eyeglasses that can take photos and short videos.

After the company stopped selling the prototypes early this year, speculation swirled that Google was giving up on the project altogether. Google said that’s not the case, and that Glass was pulled out of the spotlight to be retooled. The device also was moved from under the research umbrella of GoogleX and placed with its own team, much like the teams working on search and Android.

“Google did screw up,” said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. “The way they talked about it led people to believe it was a finished off, polished product, which it’s not. So by hyping it so much, they set expectations they could not meet.”

Google had the hype ramped up way before it was time, said Jeff Kagan, an independent industry analyst.

“Google had the sizzle, they just didn’t have the steak,” Kagan said. “This is a perfect example of a company believing their own PR and not paying any attention to the realities that make something hot... This is a very painful and embarrassing lesson for Google to learn. It’s amazing that they haven’t learned it yet.”

Kagan said he can’t see Glass becoming a product anytime soon, but Kerravala said the device still has a good shot.

“Oh, sure they can recover,” Kerravala said. “They’ll have to take a step back but... there’s an expression that if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.”

Richard Platt's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:29 PM
Astro Teller, Google’s director of its research arm, GoogleX, said the company made mistakes with Glass. They needed to work out its wearable’s battery and privacy issues, and address miscommunications about the state of the project.. Even when it was being sold to early testers for $1,500, was never close to being ready for official sale. It’s a prototype and still solidly in the experimental phase. Even though its executives and its PR people were repeatedly putting timeframes on an official Glass release.Teller said Google did one good thing it launched the project but it also did one thing wrong. - “The bad decision was that we allowed and sometimes even encouraged too much attention for the program,” he said. “Instead of people seeing the Explorer devices as learning devices, Glass began to be talked about as if it were a fully baked consumer product. The device was being judged and evaluated in a very different context than we intended.” - That tactic frustrated a lot of early adopters
Tom Bryon's curator insight, March 25, 2015 3:35 AM

"Google had the sizzle, they just didn't have the steak".

Technology will surely experience some form of metamorphosis, Google is pushing another form of wearable technology, possibly we could see this as the mainstream form of communication. It hasn't picked up the momentum it needs yet, but as its usability increases and new needs arise, that may change.

"The device still has a good shot. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.”

QindredCam's curator insight, April 1, 2015 3:25 PM

Privacy and battery life; these are two of the key challenges for wearable recording devices.!

Android Wear update improves Google Fit syncing, squashes bugs

Android Wear update improves Google Fit syncing, squashes bugs | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Android Wear is getting a bump up to version 5.0.2, with some fixes for Google Fit syncing and other all-around housekeeping.

Android Police reports a build number of LWX49K is hitting the LG G Watch and Smartwatch 3, with LWX49L for the Moto 360.

The Moto 360 release notes don’t give us too many more details, indicating an update to Google Play services and a “variety of system optimizations and security updates to improve performance and stability.”

One clue is found in the Android Wear help forums, where Google employee Soji Ojugbele posted Wednesday that an update to Android Wear and Google Play Services would fix the issues with Fit. 

Presumably this update will roll out to other Android Wear watches, it’s just going to be a matter of waiting for it to arrive. If we spot any other feature improvements we’ll be sure to let you know.

The impact on you: If you have an Android Wear watch, this may fix some of the inconsistencies with Google Fit, which turns your wearable into a step counter and fitness tracker. Google Fit isn’t nearly as popular as the fitness platforms developed by Nike, Fitbit, or Jawbone, but it’s a useful enough feature that Google can’t just let any bugs go unsquashed.

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Apple Watch Gets Another Competitor in the Android-Based LG Watch Urbane

Apple Watch Gets Another Competitor in the Android-Based LG Watch Urbane | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

LG Electronics today announced a new device in the line of Android Wear smartwatch products, called the LG Watch Urbane. Planned for a full unveiling at Mobile World Congress next month, the watch is said to combine the traditional aspects of a luxury timepiece with the "high-tech flare" of a modern smartwatch.

The LG Watch Urbane follows in the footsteps of LG's previous foray into the world of smartwatches with the LG G Watch R, launched last October. LG says while the G Watch R was designed with a more active lifestyle in mind, the Watch Urbane has taken a more formal, classic route that will suit both men and women. Despite the formal look, the Watch Urbane is powered by a smartwatch-style touch-based interface that is compatible with any smartphone running Android 4.3 or above.

“The LG Watch Urbane’s classic design and smart features make it the perfect smartwatch to complement our G Watch and G Watch R, which were designed as more casual and active devices,” said Juno Cho, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “LG Watch Urbane is an important part of our strategy to develop wearable devices that are worn and viewed as everyday accessories, not electronic gadgets.”

The LG Watch Urbane includes the same 1.3-inch full circle P-OLED display as the LG G Watch R - which was the first smarwatch to include such a display - but features a narrower bezel this time around, offering it that more formal, sleeker look touted by LG. The watch comes in gold and silver options with a natural leather strap that can be replaced by any 22mm wide band, according to the company.

Not many specific details were given on the device's smartwatch capabilities, but LG confirmed the LG Watch Urbane will be able to measure a user's heart rate for fitness purposes thanks to a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor built into the device. Other key factors, like pricing and whether the new Android-based smartwatch will hit around the Spring launch of the Apple Watch, was not yet disclosed by LG.

Key Specifications:

- Chipset: 1.2GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400
- Operating System: Android Wear™
- Display: 1.3-inch P-OLED Display (320 x 320, 245ppi)
- Size: 45.5 x 52.2 x 10.9mm
- Memory: 4GB eMMC/ 512MB LPDDR2
- Battery: 410mAh
- Sensors: 9-Axis (Gyro / Accelerometer / Compass) / Barometer / PPG (Heart Rate Sensor)
- Colors: Gold / Silver
- Other: Dust and Water Resistant (IP67)

LG's newest foray into the increasingly crowded world of smartwatches is the latest in a long line of companies announcing new iterations of older products, or new products altogether, preparing to do battle with Apple's April launch of the Apple Watch.

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Apple Watch will be released in April, according to CEO Tim Cook

Apple Watch will be released in April, according to CEO Tim Cook | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |
Apple CEO Tim Cook just announced that the Apple Watch will begin shipping in April. Cook revealed the shipping timeframe during Apple's quarterly earnings call with investors; the company enjoyed a blockbuster quarter backed by massive iPhone sales and huge growth in China. Now it will look to carry that success forward with the launch of Apple Watch, its first major new product since the debut of iPad in 2010. "We’re making great progress in the development of it," Cook said. He also revealed that Apple is encouraged by the response from developers and app makers so far, saying "We’re seeing some incredible innovation."

"April meets Apple's definition of 'early' in the year"

Upon revealing Apple Watch in September of last year, Apple described the smartwatch as its "most personal device ever." Today's the first time Apple has publicly commented on the product's release date beyond a vague window of "early 2015." The company rarely announces significant news during earnings calls, making today a notable exception. Some might criticize Apple for considering April to be "early" in the calendar year, but Cook doesn't see a problem. He said that when mapping out product launches, Apple separates the year into three, four-month windows for early, middle, and late. "To us, it’s sort of within the range. It’s basically when we thought," he said.

And while he got more specific about the launch, Cook did not reveal any new pricing details for the Apple Watch beyond the "starting at $349" we heard in September. Apple Watch will be made available in three styles: the regular model, an Apple Watch Sport version aimed at active consumers, and an ultra-premium Apple Watch Edition that could be priced in the thousands and compete against brands in the luxury watch market. Even with a release month now official, there's still plenty more we expect to hear from Apple over the next few weeks and months. Aside from sharing full pricing details, Apple will need to set consumer expectations around battery life — for better or worse.
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Even the Guy Who Designed the iPod Might Not Be Able to Save Google Glass

Even the Guy Who Designed the iPod Might Not Be Able to Save Google Glass | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Google Glass hasn’t changed the world. Not even close. Briefly hailed as the wearable heir to the smartphone, Glass has mainly become an object of derision, confusion, and indifference. Google never really succeeded in making a convincing case for why we’d all want to wear our phones on our faces.

The iPod, on the other hand, was a device that radically changed the trajectory of personal tech. The conceptual parent of the iPhone, the iPod upended the recording industry, revitalized Apple, and ushered in the online, on-demand era of music, movies, books, and TV. And the guy who designed the iPod? He now works for Google.

Tony Fadell joined the company when Google paid more than $3 billion for Nest, the smart-home startup he co-founded. At the time of the acquisition almost exactly one year ago, we made much of how Nest’s connected thermostats and smoke alarms would give Google entree to the oceans of data these smart devices will generate as they become commonplace in people’s homes. But buying Nest also brought Google something else: a guy with a proven record of designing hardware that is radically new but also widely embraced by consumers.

In that light, Google’s decision today to give Fadell oversight of Google Glass makes a lot of sense. If any gadget needs a guiding hand to transform it from geek fetish to viable product, it’s Glass. But the challenge is steep, even for Fadell. The problem is that Glass’ failure doesn’t ultimately stem from people perceiving it as uncool; it’s that Glass isn’t perceived as all that useful. Google had hoped Glass’ early users would help find the functions for its form; now Fadell will have to push reset on that unsuccessful effort. Instead of asking users what Glass is for, Fadell must find a way to tell them.

No Clear Advantage

From the time of its first limited release in 2013, critics have railed against Glass as a privacy invader and a anti-social intrusion on everyday face-to-face contact. But the outrage drew attention away from the more mundane question of what the real point was of having access to the basic functions of your smartphone through a tiny display permanently hovering just above your eye. To make sense as a general purpose consumer device, a gadget needs to have a clear advantage over those that preceded it. Glass’ advantage compared to pulling out your phone was never clear, and Google never effectively articulated it. Instead, Google seemed to hope that by offering Glass to a select number of early adopters and techies through its Glass Explorer program, which is now ending, the device’s first users would do the work of figuring out what it was for.

That didn’t happen, at least not in a way that made those advantages obvious to the general public. Over the past two years, we’ve learned that consumers are not clamoring for heads-up displays; what they really want are the same old smartphones, except with ginormous screens. As innovative as Glass may seem in its newness, newness alone does not entail innovation if the equation does not also include usefulness.

Glass came into the world as a gadget looking for a reason to be, and that reason hasn’t been found.

A caveat: connected headsets like Glass are here to stay in specific, mostly work-related contexts. Certain specialized occupations such as surgeon, construction worker, or jet-engine mechanic will benefit greatly from access to a constant stream of information that the person on the receiving end can consume while keeping both hands free. The future of wearable devices isn’t about a single device that does everything. It’s about lots of different devices that each do one thing really well.

And in a future like that, what place does Glass really have? That’s what Tony Fadell will have to figure out. Perhaps resetting Glass means re-presenting it to consumers as a device for work. And since consumers rather than IT departments are now driving the tech that gets used in the workplace, a reimagining of Glass for enterprise could still offer a path to mass adoption.

To be sure, Google is still signaling mainstream ambitions for its beleaguered eyewear. Along with putting the device in Fadell’s hands, Google is also pushing Glass out of the experimental nest of its Google X division (Glass is “graduating,” Google says). But if Glass is really out of its infancy, as Google asserts, it’s hardly all grown up. Giving the device to Fadell is a gamble that, with his user-experience chops, he will be able to define, implement, and convey a sense of purpose through which potential consumers will finally “get” Glass. But that still leaves the question: Who is that potential consumer?

Clarity of Vision

In a recent podcast post-mortem on the Consumer Electronics Show, Andreessen Horowitz partner Benedict Evans described the Internet of Things as a kind of inversion of the typical path for new tech. Instead of a great need that innovators strive to develop new tech in order to meet, the Internet of Things consists of a wealth of devices waiting for consumers to figure out what they’re good for. Evans said that, in that context, the real value of Nest to both consumers and Google isn’t so much in its thermostat or its smoke detector as gadgets unto themselves. Instead, the value of Nest is in the company’s jumpstart on creating a user-friendly system that conveys not just the usefulness of each device individually, but that through its design communicates how that usefulness evolves as more devices connect to the system.

“The point of of Nest isn’t the thermostat,” Evans said. “It’s the route to market and the communication.”

To succeed, Fadell needs to imbue Glass with a similar clarity of vision. And if anyone seems capable of making the case for Glass, it’s the guy who managed to persuade consumers that devices as boring as the thermostat and the smoke detector could be transformed into much more useful appliances. Unlike Glass, however, the thermostat and smoke detector both have obvious, well-defined purposes that tech augments by connecting them to each other and the internet.

Glass came into the world as a gadget looking for a reason to be, and that reason hasn’t been found. Someone with Fadell’s gift might be able to find it. But he’ll have to look pretty hard. Relaunching Glass as primarily a tool for work seems like the most fruitful path to take, to find highly specific niches where Glass makes sense. But the likelihood that even Fadell can convince the world of the need for a face-mounted smartphone is slim. It’s not like Google to think small. But Fadell will have to narrow Glass’ view if he wants it to survive.

Maciej Karpiński's curator insight, January 17, 2015 1:57 PM

Obawy przed tym, że designer iPoda nie podoła produktowi Glass.!

2015 Isn't Looking Good For Google Glass

2015 Isn't Looking Good For Google Glass | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

2014 wasn't kind to Google Glass.

The expensive wearable tech has failed to catch on with the masses.

Next year may not be any better for Google Glass, reports CNBC.

Before it becomes a consumer hit, Glass will need support from the developer community.

Google told CNBC that Glass has 100 apps now. By comparison, the iTunes App Store had 1.2 million apps as of last June.

But some companies don't seem to think making apps for Glass is worth their effort.

Twitter stopped making its app for Google Glass in October.

And Twitter isn't the only developer to give up on Glass.

9 of 16 app developers contacted by Reuters said they have given up on making apps for Glass because no one was buying it.

Designers like Dianne von Furstenberg have tried framing Glass as a fashion item, like the Apple Watch, but it's hard to fathom spending $1,500 on something that's still a prototype.

Google Glass regularly sells for less than half of that price on eBay.

Developers have also complained about Google Glass' poor battery life.

Until that problem is fixed, and developers start thinking about Glass as a gadget for the masses, it will remain a niche product for Google fans.

It doesn't seem like Glass will be a retail hit anytime soon. Google shuttered its only brick and mortar stores for the wearable in November.

In July, Glass creator Babak Parviz left Google to work at Amazon. That's not exactly a vote of confidence, either.

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Sony Just Created A New Google Glass Competitor That Attaches To Your Current Glasses

Sony Just Created A New Google Glass Competitor That Attaches To Your Current Glasses | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

While startups and large companies like Google are busy developing smart glasses, Sony has just invented a device that clips on to your current eyewear to add those same features (via The Verge). 

The device itself is a module that clips on to your glasses and essentially adds a small 640 x 400 pixel display, a camera, and a processor.

Sony claims the tiny screen is capable of showing high-quality full color photos and videos, and the processor inside is about on par with what you'd get in today's smartphones. 

The benefit of this type of gadget over something like Google Glass, according to Sony, is that you can clip it on or take it off whenever you need to.

You're not committed to wearing it all the time like you would be if you wore a prescription version of Google Glass.

Here's what you would see while looking through Sony's gadget.

It looks like the experience will be very similar to that of Google Glass, but specialized for certain use cases like sports. 

Judging by Sony's renders, it looks like the gadget will be rather bulky, so chances are you won't want to wear it all the time.

It sounds like Sony plans to license out the technology to eyewear and tech companies rather than releasing it as its own consumer product, and mass production is expected to kick off within the year. 

It's a different approach that what we've seen from most companies getting into wearable tech, but it's unclear if this will actually appeal to consumers. Even Google has been having a hard time convincing everyday consumers to wear computerized glasses, it seems, as The Wall Street Journal says the next version of Glass will be geared toward hospitals and other enterprise use cases.

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Wearables are making gains, but they still face major barriers to adoption

Wearables are making gains, but they still face major barriers to adoption | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

With the launch of the Apple Watch, and a slew of smartwatches and fitness bands on the market from competing companies, the devices seem to be taking off among consumers. 

But there are still several barriers that could inhibit this new device category from becoming a ubiquitous, mainstream computing platform.

In a recent report on the wearable computing market from BI Intelligence, we look at how the wearables market will perform in the long run. We forecast out shipments numbers and analyze proprietary results from our BI Intelligence consumer survey on smartwatch purchase intent. But we also discuss some of the barriers to adoption that persist. Here are some of the main inhibitors: 

  • The lack of a persuasive use caseSome consumers still don't see the point of these devices. In our proprietary survey data, 51% of those who don't want a smartwatch claimed it was because they did not see the point. Until consumers see a clear reason why smartwatches will improve their lives, the smartwatch category will remain sluggish.
  • The lack of a killer app. There aren't enough apps out there that are really compelling on the wrist-worn devices. Fragmentation is one of the biggest reasons for lack of a robust wearable app ecosystem. Several wearable devices launched in the past year, and almost all of them used different platforms, making it difficult for developers to pinpoint a platform to build on. Apple's WatchKit, which was released in November, should propel more wearable-focused app development. 
  • Limited functionalityBasic fitness bands are limited to primarily tracking health- and fitness-related data and spitting this aggregated data back out onto a smartphone or tablet, and the most obvious limitation to the smartwatch is the small screen size. These devices are clearly not made to handle content like games, video, photos, and even some social media — which are some of the most popular app categories on smartphones and tablets. 
  • StyleThus far, most smartwatches have looked somewhat clunky and unsophisticated, while smart eyewear like Google Glass is simply too conspicuous and obtrusive on the face.  Apple Watch will cater to the high-end fashion crowd by offering premium versions of the device equipped with fashionable bands and even gold-plated watch faces.
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The Apple Watch is basically hacker proof

The Apple Watch is basically hacker proof | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

New flashy Apple device, new potential for trouble. Or is it?

Honest, upstanding citizens like you probably see the Apple Watch as a beautiful hybrid of jewelry and technology. But like anything that’s shiny, expensive, and contains sensitive information like your credit card details, the Apple Watch is prone to being targeted by miscreants.

But a few obstacles stop thieves and hackers from getting to your sensitive data pretty effectively. And as it turns out, the Apple Watch is essentially hacker proof.

Senior security researcher Patrick Nielsen from Kaspersky Labs spoke with Business Insider, saying that “the Apple Watch’s biggest security benefit is that it’s so minimal. A lot of the processing that goes on on the Watch is actually happening on the iPhone,” meaning the that your iPhone holds and handles most of the sensitive information that a data thief would want. The Watch essentially functions as a secondary wrist-worn display for your iPhone rather than acting as a standalone device.

Right off the bat, a data thief should theoretically have much more interest in your iPhone than your Apple Watch.

However, Nielsen noted that there are some exceptions like your Apple Pay credentials that are locally stored on the Watch that let you make mobile payments without your iPhone.

“It’s theoretically possible for someone to steal an Apple Watch and steal your Apple Pay credentials,” he says.

Business InsiderThe Apple Watch's lock screen demands your passcode whenever you take it off.

Realistically, however, a data thief would need to guess your passcode just to unlock your Watch after it’s been taken off your wrist before using your Apple Pay. That’s because the Watch’s sensors detect whether or not it’s in contact with skin. It’ll remain unlocked as long as it’s on your wrist, but it’ll lock itself the moment you take it off and it’ll request a passcode to unlock it again.

The Apple Watch can't do anything but tell you the time until you enter the passcode after strapping it on. After you enter your passcode, it remains authenticated so you don't have to worry about punching the code in every time you want to do something. It's actually an easier way to use Apple Pay because you don't have to go through the extra step of authenticating the payment with your fingerprint. It also enables you to use Apple Pay on the iPhone 5 and 5C, which don't have fingerprint sensors.

While the Watch’s passcode is secure and extremely difficult to break through, Nielsen says “the biggest security weakness of the Watch is the user’s choice of passcode. It’s not exactly rare for people to use pin codes like 1234, an astonishing amount of people still use those common permutations.”

Thieves have up to 10 attempts to get the passcode right. It might not seem like a lot, but that’s 10 chances for a thief to try the 10 most common passcodes, which anyone can find with a quick internet search.

The New Yorker / YouTube Trickster Apollo Robins shows how a watch can easily be stolen without you even noticing.

But if a someone guesses wrong all 10 times, the Watch erases any stored data and locks itself into a pricey paperweight that’s of no use to a data thief.

Even if a thief guesses your passcode, or if he/she obtained it from you by force or sleight of hand, you can wipe your Apple Pay data from the Apple Watch remotely using your iPhone or computer and logging into your iCloud account.

There’s also a slightly less delicate way of getting to your sensitive data by using brute force. A hacker could use a brute-force attack with a hacking computer to decipher the encrypted passcode. But Nielsen says such a process is time consuming, extremely difficult, results in the Watch becoming “compromised” (a nice way of saying destroyed), and only few people have the ability to do so.

Apart from poor passcodes or gutting your Apple Watch medieval-style, there’s a way for hackers to exploit your data without your knowing.

According to Nielsen, it’s possible for eavesdroppers to intercept the Bluetooth or WiFi communications between an Apple Watch and your iPhone, and potentially access and manipulate any and all information that travels between the two devices.

iFixitHere's an Apple Watch being "compromised" by iFixit.

However, he reassures that “major problems with the communications method used by the Watch and iPhone” are not known at this time, “but given the complexity of the protocols and software, it is likely that problems will be discovered in the future, and will be remedied through operating system updates."

Just to be safe, Nielsen suggests:

  • Never do the initial setup/pairing of your devices in public. In general, for new smart devices, the most security-sensitive phase is the setup/pairing phase.
  • Don’t connect to public or other untrusted Wi-Fi networks unless absolutely necessary. Public Wi-Fi networks are convenient, but their security is a mess.
  • Make sure you install operating system updates as soon as they come out. Most of the time, these contain critical security fixes that prevent newly discovered attacks against the device.

And for the love of technology, please set up a strong passcode.

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Google Reportedly Preparing Android Wear for iPhone and iPad

Google Reportedly Preparing Android Wear for iPhone and iPad | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Google is reportedly preparing to release an Android Wear app on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, according to French technology website.

The report claims Android Wear with extended iOS support could be announced at Google's I/O developer conference in late May, although Google may push the agenda depending on sales of the Apple Watch.

Google may be interested in capitalizing on iPhone and iPad users that are not planning to purchase an Apple Watch when the wrist-worn device is released in April, the report adds. Last month, an unofficial video of an iPhone paired with Android Wear for notifications amassed over 300,000 views on YouTube.

Android Wear smartwatches such as the LG G Watch, Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live are currently limited to pairing with smartphones running Android 4.3 or later, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and LG G3. Pairing an Android smartphone and smartwatch requires the official Android Wear app on the Google Play Store.

While 01net is one of the largest technology publications in France, its exclusive report has not yet been corroborated by other sources and its veracity cannot be confirmed. But given that Google is generally more open about cross-platform compatibility, and has an existing portfolio of apps on the App Store, there is a possibility that Android Wear for iOS could one day be a reality.

Eduardo Vaz's curator insight, March 25, 2015 11:15 AM

#Google wants #AndroidWear to work with #Apple products even though #AppleWatch only works with #iOS. #ygk!

Add-on lens could boost workplace apps for Google Glass

Add-on lens could boost workplace apps for Google Glass | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Google Glass may have been pulled from the consumer marketplace, but one team of researchers is still trying to improve it for workplace applications.

Jibo He and Barbara Chaparro of Wichita State University in Kansas have developed an optical lens that dramatically expands the field of view for the camera on Glass.

The attachment, called Google Lens, can boost the camera view from 54.8 degrees horizontally and 42.5 degrees vertically to 109.8 degrees and 57.8 degrees, respectively, according to the researchers.

“The current Google Glass has a limited field of view, which reduces its applications in professional settings,” He said via email.

Google Lens is a simple optical attachment that clips onto the arm of Glass over the camera. It can be fitted with interchangeable lenses including wide-angle lenses.

Apps such as Livestream can turn Glass into a live broadcasting device from a user’s point of view. He and collaborators developed their own app called uSee that’s designed for mobile usability research and two-way communication. It allows remote observers to send text messages that display on the Glass monitor or a linked smartwatch. Users, meanwhile, can tap on the Glass touchpad to mark important events.

By bringing more into the view of the Glass camera, Google Lens could also open up possibilities for workplace applications, according to He. Medical trainees, for instance, could see more when watching the perspective of an instructor via the wearable, and student pilots could look through Glass for an instructor’s view of the cockpit.

Better applications could mean a lot for Glass, which saw the closure of its consumer-oriented Explorer program last month when the device “graduated” from the Google X lab. But the search giant has continued to promote its Glass at Work program, noting that startup Augmedix recently raised US$16 million to make Glass a time-saving device for doctors through an automated note-taking app.

Other medical possibilities for Glass include a trial at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston that involves using the device to provide mothers with a view of babies being treated in the newborn intensive care unit.

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Slow Android Wear sales underline the challenges Google's smartwatches face

Slow Android Wear sales underline the challenges Google's smartwatches face | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

The Android smart watch’s time may not yet have come: Despite heavy promotion of Android Wear, Google’s hardware partners, including LG Electronics, Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics, only shipped 720,000 of the devices last year.

With the arrival of products such as Motorola’s hotly anticipated Moto 360, the smartwatch market was expected to take off. But the data from market research company Canalys shows that consumers are still far from convinced that they need buy one.

“Android Wear will need to improve significantly in the future, and we believe it will do so,” said Daniel Matte, analyst at Canalys.

Those improvements have to happen across the board, including a better user interface and improved battery life, according to Francisco Jeronimo, research director for European mobile devices at IDC.

“I use a lot of mobile devices, and found the Android Wear interface difficult to learn. And when I finally had learned how to use it, I really didn’t like the experience,” he said.

Battery life is also a concern, and one that can’t be easily solved. The arrival of customized chipsets will help but that can’t change the size of smartwatches, which means you can only use a small battery.

“It will take several years before battery life improves,” Jeronimo said.

Some vendors are also tripping up themselves and users with their design choices. For example, users of Samsung’s smartwatches need a cradle to fill an empty battery, instead of plugging a charger directly into the device. That just adds an extra level of complexity for users, according to Jeronimo.

However, the biggest obstacle isn’t these technical constraints, but that Google, vendors and application developers haven’t come up with a reason why consumers should invest in an Android Wear smartwatch, Jeronimo said.

With these shortcomings Android Wear hasn’t been able to dominate the smartwatch market in the way Google’s platform has taken over smartphones.

Rival Pebble shipped a total of 1 million units from its 2013 launch through to the end of 2014. Continual software updates, more apps in its app store and price cuts in the fall helped maintain strong sales in the second half of the year, according to Canalys.

But all eyes are now on Apple and its Watch, which is scheduled to go on sale in April. Jeronimo goes so far as to say the future of smartwatches now rests on Apple’s shoulders.

“If Apple can’t get it right it may kill the category, because if Apple can’t succeed which company can,” he said.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook seems convinced the Watch can deliver, saying that users will find enough features to not be able to live without one, he said this week. Just as the company changed the markets for MP3 players, smartphones and tablets, Apple’s Watch will change the smartwatch market.

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Are Smartwatches Already Dead?

Are Smartwatches Already Dead? | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Do people actually want smartwatches? I'm starting to wonder. The Pebble smartwatch—a phenomenal Kickstarter success story and the darling of tech critics everywhere—has only sold 1 million copies.

Don't get me wrong, that's fantastic news for Pebble and for anyone with a Pebble on their wrist. One million units means Pebble can keep building watches that find a happy niche. But one million units sounds like jack shit compared to all the attention Pebble's been getting over the past few years. That smartwatches in general have been getting.

Let me put this in perspective. Wearables are ostensibly the new hotness. They're the tech everyone's talking about. And if you want to buy a wearable, you buy a smartwatch. (Because ain't nobody buying Google Glass till they figure the whole Glasshole thing out.) Guess what you find when you go looking for a smartwatch? Pebble. Pebble. Pebble. It's the one everyone recommends. In fact, CNET, The Wirecutter, The Verge and yes, Gizmodo recommend the simple Pebble and Pebble Steel smartwatches over every other fancy wristable out there.

It feels like more gallons of (figurative) ink has been spilled about the virtues of Pebble—and the company's incredible journey from Kickstarter to Best Buy—than actual smartwatches sold. When was the last time a product was so universally recommended in a category on the tip of everyone's tongue... and yet didn't move loads of product? Despite competition and a love-it-or-hate-it design, the first Android phone only took six months to hit a million. The original Microsoft Zune (yes, the ugly one) took seven months. Pebble started shipping two years ago.

It's still early days for smartwatches. The Apple Watch isn't even out yet, and it's possible that a lot of potential buyers are waiting to see if Apple blows the doors off the smartwatch category as it swoops in for the kill. The Pebble certainly isn't a perfect device, either. I rarely wear one myself. But you couldn't buy the kind of press that Pebble has received for any amount of money, and yet the top smartwatch in the market has only sold one million units right now.

What does it mean when the best smartwatch only sells a million? Is there even a smartwatch market at all? I'm not so sure. And if the Apple Watch flops—due to battery life?—all bets could be off. Maybe this fuse has almost burned down to its firecracker, or maybe we've got a dud on our hands.

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This Is the Year Wearables Will Stop Being So Ugly | WIRED

This Is the Year Wearables Will Stop Being So Ugly | WIRED | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Fitness trackers are getting a whole lot more stylish.

The latest batch of wearables lets you have your fitness tracking and your fashion, too. They’re ditching neutral monochrome and sporty, almost utilitarian, styling for a rainbow of colors, faux gems, and other flair that make them suitable for any time of day, and any occasion. The change reflects the maturation of the market and the growing sophistication of consumer tastes.

“When the first activity trackers started coming out, that sporty look was what people wanted. Now we’re moving away from that,” Garmin media relations associate Amy Noury said. The company just launched its first smartwatch, the $250 Vivoactive. It’s a handsome, sleek gadget that resembles the Pebble smartwatch and builds on its general purpose activity trackers, the Vivofit and Vivosmart. It’s GPS enabled and can track activities like cycling, running, swimming, or golf. Garmin also updated its Vivofit fitness tracker with additional features and a host of bright silicon strap colors and styles, including ones patterned with designs by Jonathan Adler.

We started seeing more attractive fitness trackers from the likes of Withings last year, but the trend has firmly established itself here at CES. Gone are the somewhat flimsy, totally utilitarian bands that go around your wrist or dongles that clip to your pocket. The newest trackers are sleek, almost sexy, drawing design cues from high-end jewelry and Swiss watches. Many of these changes are designed to make wearables more appealing to women, whose tastes and needs were largely ignored in the first wave of wearables. That’s changing as manufacturers realize they are missing out on a huge potential market. In response, they’re designing health, fitness, and safety trackers that look more like jewelry than gadgetry. Cuff was among the first to do so with a wearable that serves as a personal safety monitor and notification alert yet looks like something you’d wear to dinner.

“People were able to relate to [Cuff] not as pieces of technology but rather as things they wanted to wear, with added benefit,” says company CEO Deepa Sood.

Others have followed that lead, working alongside designers and jewelry makers to create wearables that are as attractive as they are useful. Take Misfit, for example. Swarovski, the Austrian producer of fine crystal and cut glass, worked with Misfit to develop the Swarovski Shine collection, a pair of bejeweled activity trackers that can be worn on an array of crystal-covered bracelets, bands, and necklaces. The two companies got together during a wearable tech event in New York in 2013, and Swarovski thought Shine’s clean, modular design made it a great opportunity to create a new high-end accessory that won’t be obsolete within months.

“[It] has a set of features people will find interesting now, as well as four years from now,” says Tim Golnik, Misfit’s vice president of product and design. “And it’s not hinged on a large display that needs a certain number of colors or pixel density.”

You can get Shine in silver or violet—the latter of which runs entirely on solar power. Joan Ng, a Swarovski v.p., says each of the crystal’s facets direct light onto a tiny embedded photovoltaic cell. Of course, adding all that flair and tech boosts the price; the original Shine costs $99, but if you want the fancier model (and its accessories) you’ll pay as much as $250.

Withings went the other way, introducing the fun, colorful Activité Pop smartwatch. It costs $150, compared to $400 for the handsome Activité that resembles a Swiss watch. Although the Pop offers some of the same features as the more upscale Activité, it uses less expensive (and less durable) materials. The company went for fun, eye-catching colors—including teal, orange, and blue—that would encourage people to wear the watch every day. The Pop still has the masculine design common to high-end watches—a large dial with a wide strap—but is aimed at both men and women.

“The different color and material options allow men and women to pick the watch that is the best fit for them,” Withings CEO Cedric Hutchings said. The Pop has a Bluetooth radio and uses the Withings Health Mate app to connect to your iPhone and track all your activities—including swimming.

This new era in wearables is exciting. For the first time, gadget makers aren’t thinking about more than function. They’re thinking about form, and trends, and what consumers want. If people are going to embrace wearables as something they use every day, they need to fit consumers’ needs in terms of function and design, as well as their personality. Now, we’ll finally have the option to choose the wearable that’s exactly what we’re looking for.

Jeff Domansky's curator insight, March 4, 2016 8:34 PM

Let's hope that more design and creativity come into wearables this year!!

Can Wearables Bring Efficiency to the Enterprise? | WIRED

Can Wearables Bring Efficiency to the Enterprise? | WIRED | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

It might be tempting to ignore wearables as some kind of geek fad, but businesses can’t risk ignoring how wearable technology is disrupting industries. On its own, Google Glass may not have generated the same mass consumer adoption that triggered corporate IT to accommodate BYOD or social media use, but Apple’s recent partnership with IBM lays the foundation for a massive influx of new end user devices that offer exciting new ways of performing workday tasks. How so?

Both companies respective market share provides the other with new in-roads – IBM capitalizing on BYOD and Apple getting a bigger enterprise play. The deal may have come at exactly the right time to cause a wearables explosion among businesses.

Apparently, Google thinks this is a viable growth strategy and announced a similar initiative to partner with startups to integrate Google Glass into operating models. Both manufacturers are looking to accelerate wearable adoption in corporate America, pushing communication and collaboration to new boundaries. And they’ve got the right idea. We are in the throws of a digital transformation that is changing customer demands; wearables offer a better way to meet those demands.

Compelling Cases

There are many compelling applications for wearable devices that have the potential to touch every industry but I see particularly compelling cases for wearables in the contact center and in collaboration environments. As technology advances, wearables will predictably become an interesting communication tool.

The basic function of any multichannel contact center is the ability to quickly and intelligently route data to the best person or people available to take action. Without the ability to route wearables-produced data somewhere for processing or to an expert to take action, wearables would be nothing more than disconnected toys. With intelligent routing, the practical business applications of wearables are seemingly endless.

Customer facing, wearables provide a new way for consumers to interface with service representatives meeting customers on their terms. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and the potential for new customer adoption. From a business stand point it leads to greater efficiency. Take financial services, by integrating a video strategy possibly enabled by Google Glass, banks can cut costs though centralizing and reducing customer service staff (especially in low-traffic regions) to call center locations where they can take inquiries from customers across the nation through either an app or a video-enabled ATM. This can lead to another benefit: extended service hours.

Employee facing, wearables can help with everyday tasks. For example, a headset that takes biometric readings could alert a contact center supervisor to listen in on a call when a customer service representative’s blood pressure and pulse suddenly increase. A wristband with an RFID chip might automatically log an agent out of a workstation when he or she leaves their desk for lunch, avoiding incoming calls to an agent’s empty desk. Problematic situations can be more easily identified and quickly resolved. These applications can lead to real savings, greater efficiency and a better experience for the customer. And they are just the beginning.

Like any technology, it has to work nearly effortlessly in order to be truly useful. Lack of a solid, supporting infrastructure will severely limit the benefits of wearables, something the Apple-IBM partnership seems to solve. In that regard, wearables are no different than other collaboration technologies that have come before, such as email, voice conferencing or video conferencing. These technologies required solid investment in order to make them viable business tools. A flexible, secure infrastructure provides the freedom to create new business and applications that manifest through the user’s wearable device.

So the question is: Are you going to help build the future or just watch it happen from your mobile device? The window of opportunity for companies to help usher in new models and devices for competitive advantage has cracked open. Miss it at your own risk.

William Dehaven's curator insight, December 18, 2014 11:36 AM

Apple’s recent partnership with IBM lays the foundation for a massive influx of new end user devices that offer exciting new ways of performing workday tasks