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Future of Wearables - Ray "DC Rainmaker" Maker


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Legendary wearable reviewer Ray “DC Rainmaker” Maker, offered a bold take on what the next generation of devices need to achieve to maintain an edge. “The next big challenge for wearables is go beyond making data actionable,” he said. “There is an opportunity to use data to provide immediate next steps for the user to take… you want to be able to say, ‘this is the one thing that you need to do next.’ This is different from saying here’s 5 things you could do, but here’s the one thing you should do.”

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Future of Wearables - Ray "DC Rainmaker" Maker

  2. 2. THE DANGERS OF TWITTER • 152 Musical Selections • 2,559 Instigators • 51,406 Winners • 1 Sexy Loser
  3. 3. A BIT ABOUT THE SITE • Started in Sept 2007 as a personal blog • All about in-depth technology reviews…but also first looks and previews • Reviews are the primary initial driver of traffic • Over 4 Million page views/month, 3 Million uniques/month • 80K on Facebook, 50K on Twitter, ~70K on YouTube • Revenue based primarily on affiliate links • No advertising from product segment I review
  4. 4. WHAT IS A WEARABLE? • Wrist based devices • Activity Tracker Bands • Watches with a watch face • Small motion/HR sensors • Upper arm devices • Largely heart rate sensors • Also muscle oxygen devices • Chest devices • Heart Rate sensors (clothing and separate) • Motion capture sensors • Lower body devices • Muscle Oxygen • Motion capture (running efficiency)
  5. 5. WEARABLE NORMS IN 2018 • Activity tracking is now baseline • Sleep tracking is now baseline • Optical HR is now baseline • Smartphone notifications are now baseline • Smartphone apps connected to your platform are now baseline • Basic platform interoperability is now baseline • Exporting of data is now baseline (thanks GDPR!)
  6. 6. EARLY 2018 WEARABLE TRENDS • Music is a must for wearables above $200-$250 • Contactless payments a must above $250 • GPS oddly not a given at $200 • New entrants in $300+ watch range • Leveraging HR data for better analytics • Devices edging closer to medical status
  7. 7. MUSIC SERVICES ARE THE NEW API’S• Music is a potential gateway drug for better workouts • Music providers have to be where the users are, or they’ll get left behind • The single biggest reason for Strava’s success is it’s API. • Music providers need to be like social networks – easily accessible from any device no matter where a user is • Wearable devices should be as music provider agnostic as possible
  8. 8. WEARABLE PLAYER EXPANSION • Last year was mostly quiet for new players • 2018 is shaping up to see significant new entrant expansion: Coros, Amazfit, and others • Many driven heavily by Asian low-cost entrants targeting traditionally high-end markets • And as always, startups attempting to shake the market • But…these entrants must follow the rules.
  9. 9. BUT LOW COST DOESN’T MEAN BAD • A number of low-cost brands are now leveraging licensed metrics/analytics • Same goes for non-traditional sports companies • Sony • Samsung • Huawei • This immediately puts these entities on par with metric-wise established players: Garmin/TomTom/Polar/Suunto
  10. 10. THE SPLITTING OF PLATFORMS • The wearable operating system • Apple: WatchOS • Fitbit: Fitbit OS • Garmin: Connect IQ • Samsung: Tizen • Everyone else: Wear OS Suunto & Polar: Self • Separation of the watch from the data • Apple has really accelerated this • Some users never use stock workout apps • Data no longer residing within Apple Ecosystem
  11. 11. WHAT ARE THE APP TRENDS TODAY? • Useful device and platform integration • No longer about beer counters • Actually about leveraging a business opportunity • Almost everyone here is aiming to promote something else they’re doing (again, not beer apps)
  12. 12. USERS ARE ADAPTING WHERE PLATFORMS FAIL • Users are willing to use 3rd party apps to a point • Apple Watch Triathlete • But ultimately, people want cohesive experiences • Having to manage weight in one platform and steps in another and workouts in another just isn’t logical • They don’t want data spread everywhere, especially as concerns around privacy rise
  13. 13. WEARABLE ISSUES IN 2018 • Data is still too confusing • So much data being collected, but very little is actually leveraged • GDPR Implementation • Failures of fitness platforms to protect data • Misunderstandings by users on how their data is visible
  14. 14. THE CHALLENGES OF BAD STUDIES – PART 1 • Major studies get mainstream media attention – scares people away • A prestigious institution can still screw up a basic study • Placed watches next to each other • Impacts steps (which impacts distance) • Impacts heart rate (which impacts calories, stress, and many other metrics)
  15. 15. THE CHALLENGES OF BAD STUDIES – PART 2 • Use proper data methods to get data • When looking at HR/Step/Etc data, all data must be used, not a portion of it • “…consequently, in the 5 minute protocol for each activity, we used the energy expenditure and heart rate for the final minute of the protocol (to ensure that a “steady state” rather than transient measurement was obtained).” • Use the end user data, not ‘behind the scenes’ methods • PulseOn data libraries skipped the FirstBeat processed calorie data
  16. 16. FITNESS PLATFORM SECURITY • Acquisitions/Integrations are really really tough • Under Armour is likely the start of media-worthy issues • Strava also fell into data privacy trap • Security in platforms is hardly new, but the implications of the data is different here • Various international laws will make this more prevalent sooner
  17. 17. GOING FORWARD: WEARABLES• More acceptance of contactless payments: Australia vs France vs USA • These matter to increase adoption – increase reasons for a device means increased activity tracking • Optical HR has become dial-tone for anything over $100 these days • [Android] Wear OS continues to struggle to find a place to thrive • Re-focusing on getting value from HR driven metrics • Consistency across a platform: • We’ll see the rise (and fall) of connected GPS devices • A temporary step backwards
  18. 18. GOING FORWARD: ALL ABOUT THE LABS • Platforms are starting to put the puzzle pieces together • Too many silos of information: • Heart rate silo • Stress silo • Sleep silo • Workout silo • Seeing companies like Fitbit and FirstBeat begin to integrate these slightly • Why doesn’t my watch offer soft piano music yet?
  19. 19. GOING FORWARD: MEDICAL MAYBE • Fitbit dances around with medical plans with Ionic/Versa • Apple pokes via 3rd party apps at medical use cases • Garmin Connect IQ 3.0 expanded level of heart rate data access
  20. 20. GOING FORWARD: PLATFORMS • Platform consolidation has essentially stopped • Coaching, coaching, coach. Everyone, wants to coach everyone. • Now it’s about adaptive aspects. How can you make your offering truly respond to the individual? • Xert has really been leading in this space for serious athletes, but Fitbit is starting to make a run for the general consumer.
  21. 21. THE BIGGEST OPPORTUNITIES • Not just actionable data, but immediate next steps • Actionable data still offloads too big of decision tree to user • Couch to 5K are no different than Olympians: They both want specifics • The source of the advice merely differs • Just make cool shit – it appeals to everyone
  22. 22. HOW I DO REVIEWS
  23. 23. TYPES OF POSTS • ‘First Look’ posts: • Typically trade-show driven posts (not reviews) • Where I can’t take the product ‘outside’ or otherwise use it meaningfully • Initial ‘Hands-On’ posts • Last-minute posts, 1-3 days pre-launch (not reviews) • Designed to explain product, usually based on pre- release hardware/software • In-Depth Reviews • Full in-depth review with final hardware/software
  24. 24. WAYS TO ENGAGE WITH ME • Method 1: NDA discussions/product access, far in advance of product release, private beta feedback. • Method 2: Product launch timed review. Pre-availability product usually under NDA until public announcement. • Method 3: Post-release review (already in market product). Usually less time sensitive.
  25. 25. Thanks! (I’m here till 5PM) Contact info: The Twitter: @dcrainmakerblog