Archives For wearables

Google Glass Explorer Meetup 2014 SXSWThis was my eighth year attending South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) in Austin, TX, and the expectations were high.

The key theme I took away from SXSW 2013 was “Exponential Thinking, Exponential Opportunities,” and capitalizing on that thinking and opportunity, the main theme I took from SXSW this year was “Quit looking to others for the next big thing. Go make it yourself.

If you followed the media attention on this year’s SXSW closely, you surely noticed there wasn’t a breakout app or innovation this year. The whole “What’s the next Twitter?” expectation has grown tired for many of us longtime attendees, but the notion isn’t as misdirected as one may think.

The opening and closing keynote presentations indirectly addressed that expectation, plus the question of whose responsibility it is to create innovation that impacts society. But there’s a twist to the tone for addressing those questions in 2014.

You see, these kinds of events aren’t about the breakouts and newsmakers…. they are about the community that inevitably designs, builds and launches the breakouts — and the people who become the newsmakers. It’s about the community who comes together, at least once a year, to connect, share, learn and collaborate.

Opening keynote presenter and artist Austin Kleon shared Brian Eno’s concept of Scenius (genius coming from a collaboration of a group, culture or movement; a community that is critical to support all amazing ideas and big thinkers).

Closing keynote presenter and futurist Bruce Sterling told of the need to mature beyond nostalgia for the past. And as I attended sessions, met new people and experienced new interactive milestones between the opening and closing keynotes, I concluded that we should stop looking for the “next Twitter” or “next Foursquare” or “next Zuckerberg” at these events, and go make something ourselves.

Because after all, this is our scenius. This our collaborative community. This community has created great things in the past, and it will again. But only if we put the onus on ourselves.

So in the spirit of the scenius of 2014, I treated the conference differently in a number of ways:

    Lauren Melcher, Lindsi Gish, Amanda Long, Angie Gassett, Steffen Ryan, Nathan Wright, Greg Swan

  • Introduced myself to fellow attendees without mentioning what I did and where I worked, and asked the same of them. It forced us to dig deep into who we are, what we’re creating, and who we want to be.
  • Held a number of “stranger dinners,” where I invited people — those I had just met, people I know from back home I never see, and people I genuinely want to know better — to stop, have dinner, process what they heard in sessions that day, and clear the dishes to have a discussion.
  • Sought out 1:1 time with my coworkers, particularly those I see so rarely from our network, to connect, offer help and seek advice.
  • Made time apart from or in lieu of panels to attend things like the Google Glass Explorer Meetup, SXSXinspiration Meetup, and Facebook’s Politics, Government and Non-Profits Networking Meetup, taking the initiative to meet new people and foster new connections with those attending the conference officially with a badge — as well as those unofficially enjoying the non-conference events on the fringe.
  • Journaled some ideas for never-been-done-before things I want to build in the coming year.

And here are some of the favorite things we discussed as the 2014 “scenius” gathered in Austin this year:

    Greg Swan 3D Printed Bust and Face

  • You can’t fight technology’s progress. And we should work to adapt our society to leverage new technology.
  • White collar, repetitive knowledge workers will be replaced by automation, just as robots replaced blue collar, manufacturing workers.
  • No great artist or filmmaker ever referred to their works as “content.”
  • We can record the biometrics of everyone in the world in the cloud — and still have plenty of storage left for all of human history.
  • The importance of privacy, personal data and abuse from government.
  • The state of curiosity is a measure of intelligence.
  • The future of ethical programming for autonomous experiences.
  • The risk of legislators creating laws about technology they don’t understand.
  • The cultural dissonance of technology that comes from the introduction of new devices.

Pretty great topics, right? Oh, and I also got 3D scanned and printed. That was a first.

Overall, another amazing year. I came back energized and excited for what’s to come in 2014. Let’s go make something!

Full notes (via Twitter) broken out by session/topic after the jump!

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It’s all about context for your content.

PR Week: Content has a new voice :

As well as enabling content to be consumed in new ways, screenless tech also allows it to be created differently. Weber Shandwick recently created a WordPress plug-in for Google Glass that enables users to create visual content using voice commands, which uploads to blogs.

“Because this is a text-based world, we are accustomed to seeking content through set structures and having it returned the same way,” says Greg Swan, SVP of brand innovation and digital strategy at Weber. “If I want to know where to get a cup of coffee in Rochester, NY, I will search, ‘coffee, Rochester, NY,’ and assume I can find my answer in the first few results.”

“However, screenless tech creates a different interplay,” he adds. “Interacting with Siri, for example, requires a different taxonomy for organizing and creating content.”

Swan says this doesn’t mean text-based content will disappear, but the adoption of screenless tech will mean it will be amplified by context, just as video and images have complemented text-based content in recent times. Many content creators have attempted to meet the surge in smartphone usage by making mobile-first content or repurposing existing material for smaller screens. However, they should be mindful of the time spent producing content for a specific channel or device, only to find that a new one comes out.


While these technologies have kinks to iron out and current adoption rate is still low, keeping on top of innovation means content creators will not have to play catch-up nor see the masses of content they produce now ending up on the scrap heap.

But they should embrace change, rather than fear it. As Weber’s Swan puts it: “The skill is lifelong learning, because everything that changed will change again.”

Despite the buzz at CES about smart contacts that work in concert with glasses to project images, Google now announces that it is expanding from Glass into a broader approach to smart lens capabilities — with contacts.

Except this isn’t for taking pictures and accessing the anytime web like Glass. It’s more of a wearable sensor approach to glucose management for diabetes patients. Pretty fantastic.

We’re now testing a smart contact lens that’s built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. We’re testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second. We’re also investigating the potential for this to serve as an early warning for the wearer, so we’re exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds. It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype. We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.

via Official Blog: Introducing our smart contact lens project.

self tracking for 12 months

Jumping on the quantified self bandwagon, I committed to wearing a self-tracking device (Nike Fuelband) just under a year ago.

For a refresher on the self-tracking trend, here are some topline stats from the deck my colleagues and I pulled together earlier this year.

Here are some highlights:

  • In total, 7 in 10 U.S. adults track an indicator of health for themselves or a loved one, and report that the activity changes their overall approach to health
  • 60% of U.S. adults say they track their weight, diet or exercise routine
  • 33% of U.S. adults track health indicators or symptoms, like blood pressure, blood sugar, headaches or sleep patterns
  • 12% of U.S. adults track health indicators or symptoms for a loved one
  • 21% of Americans are tracking themselves using technology — more than active Twitter users (Pew, Feb. 13)
  • Apple Stores sell more than 20 self-tracking products
  • There will be an estimated 485 million wearable computing devices shipped by 2018 (ABI Research, Feb. 2013). For reference, 700 million smartphones were shipped in 2012

Apart from a few days I forgot the thing in the charger and time in the pool, I collected a year’s worth of data related to my activity these past 12 months.

hourly breakdownMy stats from just under 12 months of tracking:

  • Average calories per day: 800
  • Average steps per day: 5,289
  • Activity breakdown
  • Late Night: 1%
  • Morning: 33%
  • Afternoon: 37%
  • Evening: 29%
  • Best Month: July
  • Lowest Month: December
  • Best Week: July 8-14 (our North Shore hiking adventure)

Here are some of the things I’ve learned by self-tracking for the last year:

  1. Sits and Spikes: On the days I’m in the office, I sit in a chair and do very little the majority of the day. Then at night I experience a huge spike when I get home and play/wrestle/race with my kids. A sedentary work style is a curse for many who sit in front of a computer for a living, so I’m glad I’m able to balance with at least some semblance of activity each evening.
  2. Data ownership and portability is extremely limiting: I’ve stored up all of this data, but I can’t export it into other formats or even get the raw data to do my own analysis. The limited analysis Nike allows is just that, limited. Same goes for the other brands. To truly make this data valuable, I need to be able to export it.
  3. Smart devices are smarter than dumb devices, but not much more: Sure, there are apps to run on our phones that track and report some of these same areas, but the best technology right now is external bands. And the best tech of today is pretty limited. But it will improve. Especially with the rise of smart watches. Don’t dismiss the value and impact of wearables due to the tech limitations of today.
  4. My primary doctor doesn’t care about all of this “health” data I’ve stored up: Part of the curse of these early platforms is that there isn’t a quantified self standard of measurement that equates to something my physician can use for diagnosis. Some say our health care providers or benefit-providing-employers may require self-tracking bands in the future. That may be inevitable, but the data today’s devices provide is pretty much junk to modern healthcare.
  5. Gamification inspires action: I’m no athlete, but I am competitive. Tracking my daily progress against my friends was enough to ensure I synced my data each night. And using MyFitnessPal to log consumed calories and those naughty late night snacks fostered an accountability that overshadowed my self-discipline.
  6. Warm months = more activity: When there is yard work to do and football to play with my kids after work and on the weekends, I’m significantly more active. In winter months, it’s much easier to stay inside and sit on my butt. Maybe I should do something about that.

Weber Shandwick’s Ozzy Farman demos wpForGlass, a new plugin developed by the team at Weber Shandwick

The innovation team I co-lead at Weber Shandwick has been leaning forward into advancements in wearable technology, building sandbox experiences, and helping put these emerging trends into context for our clients and colleagues.

Today marked the public debut of one of those sandbox projects, with the launch of wpForGlass, a WordPress plugin that allows Google Glass Explorers to publish to WordPress-powered content portals (20% of the web runs on WordPress).

Here’s some of the coverage this news earned today:

You can find out more about this project on our Labs site:

We’ve got more projects in the works, too! An exciting time for technology + communications + content.

Also, it’s an exciting time to work at Weber Shandwick, and we try to have fun experiment, too. And take selfies. Lots of selfies.

Ozzy Farman and Greg Swan wearing Google Glass

Marketing Via Wearable Technology: Interview With Robert Scoble – Forbes