3 Months After Purchasing Withings, Nokia Re-Launches its Consumer Brand with Digital Health Front and Center
In February, less than a year after its acquisition of consumer-facing digital health company Withings, Nokia announced it would re-launch its consumer brand and re-brand Withings products. With its focus on digital health front and center in the February press release, Nokia unveiled a new IoT platform called Patient Care and promised to roll out a series of products and services in early summer.
Well, early summer is here and Nokia did not disappoint.
As of [June 20th], the Withings name will be replaced by Nokia. And, to go along with this transition, Nokia is announcing three new products: a WiFi BMI scale, a soft-cuff blood pressure monitor and a revamped [and renamed] app.
WiFi BMI scale
It's called Nokia Body and it's a new addition to the existing line of digital Withings scales, which now carry different names: The Withings Body is now the Nokia Body Plus (it measures body fat), while the Withings Body Cardio is now the Nokia Body Cardio (it measures body fat in addition to cardiovascular health). Although the Body Cardio and the Body Plus cost more than $100 each, the new Nokia Body will retail for only $59.95, making it the cheapest scale in Nokia's lineup.
Blood Pressure Soft-Cuff
Next is the Nokia BPM+, which is a much softer and more portable version of Withings' existing blood pressure monitor. While the older product has a hard plastic curve that you have to wrap around your arm, the new BPM+ has a cuff made of softer material. This not only makes it more comfortable to wear, but it also allows it to roll up into a more compact shape, so you can stash the BPM+ in your bag for on-the-go monitoring. According to Nokia, the BPM+ measures systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate, and is both FDA-cleared and medical-CE-approved. The BPM+ will be available for $129.9.
“Health Mate” App Upgrade
Last but not least is the brand-new Health Mate app, which has been redesigned from the ground up to be the centerpiece in Nokia's new digital health strategy. The app will work with all of Nokia's new products as well as all of Withings' existing lineup, meaning that previous Withings customers won't be left out in the cold.
[For now], the new Health Mate app will ship with five…programs: Sleep Smarter, Better Body, Pregnancy Tracker, Healthier Heart and the Leaderboard. According to Nokia, these programs were developed by recognized health professionals to (respectively) help [users] sleep better, manage weight and fat mass, control weight gain during pregnancy, control blood pressure and simply get more active. Most of the programs last eight weeks, while others, like the pregnancy one, can take up to nine months.
The Health Mate app also incorporates a coaching function, which Nokia hopes will extend its appeal beyond the tech and fitness junkies. We might wonder if these coaching functions incorporate a 50+ strategy?
With the addition of coaching programs, Nokia hopes to provide actionable insights, which has so far been the missing link with most activity tracking apps. For example, if you're having trouble losing weight, the coach might ask you to start a food diary. Or it might give you a specific task that week, like taking the staircase instead of the elevator. "This helps users reach their very specific goals," said Cedric Hutchings, Nokia's VP of Digital Health, who also happens to be the former CEO of Withings.
With strong global brand recognition, Nokia seems to be poised to make a successful entry into digital health, but it’s a competitive space and only time will tell.
It all adds up to a very important time for Nokia as it pivots into the digital health realm. Indeed, starting today, Withings as a brand is essentially gone. Withings.com will redirect to Nokia.com, and Withings products are now Nokia products. Every consumer-facing Withings touchpoint in the world will now have the Nokia name.
StartUp Health Takes an Inside Look at Velóce’s New Smartphone-Activated Pill
Veloce’s SmartTabs are not on the market yet. In fact, the company is still “in the process” of raising a $2 million seed round to finish developing the prototype and begin animal trials. But where they are looking to take medication management could revolutionize not just adherence but also absorption rates and effectiveness data, bringing us ever closer to personalized medicine.
A digital health entrepreneur and pharmaceutical industry veteran, [Robert Niichel, CEO of Velóce Digital], believes that many of [our medication] efficacy and adherence problems can be attributed to how drugs are delivered. Most medications are contained within capsules or tablets, which are ingested by a patient, and enter their bloodstream after being dissolved in their digestive system. According to Niichel, it’s an inefficient method of drug delivery that’s difficult — if not impossible — for clinicians to monitor.
In early 2016, Niichel launched Velóce Digital, a smart-pill startup based in Denver, Colorado, to make drug delivery systems more efficient.... Consisting of a smart polymer shell, the SmartTab capsule contains a sensor that constantly monitors its location and environment. The capsule sends this data to the SmartTab platform, which can be accessed from a smartphone or computer.
“SmartTab is a wireless drug delivery system,” Niichel said. “When consumers ingest one of our tablets, its contents remain protected until it’s remotely triggered to release them by a smartphone, smartwatch, or even a computer in a clinical setting.”
Although the team at Velóce imagines the pills gaining traction first in clinical settings, the goal is for the SmartTabs to be part of home medications regimens as well.
“As we move some of these drug delivery systems away from a medical setting and into the home,” [said Niichel,] “millions of dollars will be saved each year because we’ll be reducing visits to the doctor’s office.”
The company received its first patent in February of this year and has more on the way.
Currently in its product’s prototype stage, Velóce Digital is working to reduce the size of the SmartTab capsule, increase the sensitivity of its sensors, and enhance the capabilities of its platform...When SmartTab is ready to go to market, Niichel plans to license the platform to large pharmaceutical companies like Merck as well as major technology companies like IBM.
“Someday soon, most ingestible capsules will have some type of electronic system to collect data and release their active ingredients,” said Niichel. “This will lead to more timely decision-making and the optimization of drug delivery.”
Though still an early stage startup, Velóce Digital has attracted several major partners. The company was admitted into StartUp Health last year, and joined Catalyst HTI, a Denver-based industry integrator, earlier this year.
Medication management remains one of the hottest areas in health tech for the 50+ marketplace, and for many areas of population health. This is undoubtedly due to the enormous cost savings potential.
In 2012, a team of researchers performed a comprehensive review of studies on medication non-adherence, a problem that occurs when patients do not take medication as prescribed. They found that medication non-adherence occurred in 20–30% of all cases, costing the U.S. healthcare system hundreds of billions of dollars and causing 125,000 deaths [and costing $300 billion] each year.
UnitedHealthcare Seeks Improved Care Coordination in Partnership with ACO Aledade
As payers increasingly look to encourage value-based and patient-centered care, UnitedHealthcare made another stride forward by announcing a new partnership with accountable care organization Aledade.
Aledade is joining forces with UnitedHealthcare, marking its first accountable care program for Medicare Advantage plan members – more than 15,000 of whom could participate in the new initiative.
Aledade – which was founded three years ago this month by former National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, MD – will work with UnitedHealthcare in Arkansas to put technology and clinical best practices to work enhancing care coordination and promoting more team-based patient care.
The partnership will begin with the Arkansas network, with a particular focus on data sharing and care coordination for patients with complex or chronic illnesses.
Aledade and UnitedHealthcare [hope to] harness technology to enable care management across physicians' patient populations, working together to identify missed opportunities (medication nonadherence), encourage interventions (preventative cancer screenings) and pinpoint other actionable data that can identify high-risk patients and help reduce emergency department visits and hospital readmissions.
More than 15 million people currently enrolled in UnitedHealthcare plans across the country have access to accountable care, delivered through more than 800 arrangements nationwide as the health plan engages in more substantive relationships with physicians and hospitals.
"By working more collaboratively with local care providers and creating a more connected healthcare experience, we can help improve patient care and enhance people’s ability to live healthier lives," said Gregg Kunemund, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement in Arkansas.
Eyeing the Global Aging in Place Market, Dutch Investment Firm Acquires Majority Stake in Telehealth Infrastructure Company Verklizan
The Dutch telehealth infrastructure company already operates in several European countries, but with its investment, Dutch firm Main Capital Partners will be looking for a more rapid international deployment.
"Verklizan has shown strong international growth in recent years," CEO Riny van Zandwijk said in a statement. "Our strategy is to continue on this path, so that vulnerable people can live in a safe and well managed environment by applying our technology. We have known Main for several years and there is a lot of mutual trust and appreciation. We look forward to working with Main Capital in the next phase of growth of Verklizan."
Main Capital is an investment group with a particular focus on software in the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) and Germany.
With an open platform structure, Verklizan’s services go beyond telehealth to support multiple aging in place technologies. And Main Capital appears to have just begun moving into the space.
[The Platform offers] personal emergency response device (mobile and home-based), a call center, activity and wellness monitoring, and a telehealth platform that can monitor weight, temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, respiration, pulse, and ECG, as well as medication adherence. [It supports] more than 250 products from more than 100 companies.
“Verklizan offers an efficient, innovative solution that will become more and more important for healthcare providers to meet the increased demand for healthcare while controlling their budgets," Pieter van Bodegraven, a partner at Main Capital, said in a statement. "In addition to the autonomous internationalization strategy in the coming years, we see good opportunities to further expand the platform through smart acquisitions.”
AI-Powered Mindstrong Health Raises $14M Series A One Month After Renowned Neuroscientist Joins Team
It’s a day of featuring AI for us here at The Longevity Network. Earlier today, we covered Accenture’s recent report about how healthcare will be the first place we will see profound changes from advances in artificial intelligence. And here, we take a look at Mindstrong Health’s latest funding round to further develop its vision of AI-powered mental health care that is based on the “objective measurement” of how people use their smartphones.
Its patented AI technology spots patterns of smartphone interaction to create ‘digital biomarkers’ of a person’s mood and cognitive abilities. It does so by factoring in aspects like user scrolling speed, typing speed, attention and memory.
“All modern medicine is based on objective measurement, yet tracking mental health has been limited to subjective reports in a clinical environment,” said Dr Paul Dagum, founder and CEO of Mindstrong Health. “To improve outcomes for people with mental disorders, we need the kind of objective measures we have for other chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
“Mindstrong’s technology delivers continuous, objective measures of behaviour and cognition at a level of resolution and insight that has never been possible.”
Mindstrong’s success in fundraising is undoubtedly related its continued ability to attract top talent.
Dr Richard Klausner, former director of the National Cancer Institute, is listed among its founding team.
Last month, the company also gained renowned neuroscientist Dr Thomas Insel – former National Institute of Mental health director and Verily employee.
Mindstrong is already in trials for its product with several healthcare organizations, including the California-based biopharmaceutical company BlackThorn Therapeutics.
Beginning later this year, the study will use Mindstrong’s technology to passively collect behavioural biomarkers related to BlackThorn’s [drug called] BTRX-246040.
The first-in-class drug is an antagonist of the nociceptin receptor which is linked to numerous neurobehavioural disorders.
The $14 milion series A funding round was led by Foresite Capital and ARCH Venture Partners. Optum Ventures, Berggruen Holdings and the One Mind Brain Health Impact Fund also participated.
The $14 million will be used to expand Mindstrong’s technology and operations team to help with large-scale R&D efforts.
Report: AI Will Make Its First Large Impact in Healthcare
At the beginning of the month, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made news when he declared on stage at the Code Conference in Rancho Palo Verdes, California that "It's hard to overstate how big of an impact [AI is] going to have on society over the next 20 years." A new report supports several other AI industry experts predicting that its first overhaul will be the antiquated healthcare systems so ripe for disruption.
Of all the places where artificial intelligence is gaining a foothold, nowhere is the impact likely to be as great—at least in the near term—as in healthcare. [The] new report from Accenture Consulting, entitled Artificial Intelligence: Healthcare’s New Nervous System, projects the market for health-related AI to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 40% through 2021—to $6.6 billion, from around $600 million in 2014.
In that regard, the Accenture report, authored by senior managing director Matthew Collier and colleagues, echoes earlier assessments of the market. A comprehensive research briefing last September by CB Insights tech analyst Deepashri Varadharajan, for example—which tracked AI startups across industries from 2012 through the fall of 2016—showed healthcare dominating every other sector, from security and finance to sales & marketing. Varadharajan calculated there were 188 deals across various healthcare segments from Jan. 2012 to Sept. 2016, worth an aggregate $1.5 billion in global equity funding.
This is not to say that those 188 deals are likely to lead to big payoffs.
The Accenture report suggests…that the biggest returns on investment for healthcare AI are likely to come from areas where the density (and dollar value) of deals isn’t that substantial right now. In terms of startup and deal volume, for instance, two hotshot areas have been medical imaging & diagnostics and drug discovery. Accenture’s analysis, though, points to 10 other AI applications that may return more bang for the buck.
Top of the list of investments that will likely pay for themselves (and then some) is robot-assisted surgery, Accenture says….
The second valuable use of AI, they project, will come from virtual nursing assistant applications ($20 billion in value)—which, in theory, will save money by letting medical providers remotely assess a patient’s symptoms and lessen the number of “unnecessary patient visits.” Next in line are intelligent applications for administrative workflow (worth $18 billion), fraud detection ($17 billion), and—fascinatingly—dosage error reduction ($16 billion).
Several of these AI applications that made the report’s top ten have tremendous implications for the 50+ market, a market which constitutes a third of all healthcare dollars spent in the US.
Entrepreneur of the Week: Jay Newton-Small, MemoryWell
MemoryWell aims to harness the power of storytelling to build empathy and understanding in senior care, and in the meantime, put talented journalists back to work to tell them.
We spoke with co-founder Jay Newton-Small about MemoryWell and the opportunities she sees in the 50+ market.
The Longevity Network: What does MemoryWell, the company, do?
Jay Newton-Small: We are a network of nearly 300 journalists writing the life stories of those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. We sell our stories to assisted living homes and directly to families. We’ve also begun to expand our service to collect stories earlier and earlier: to those entering independent living, general assisted living, skilled nursing, adult day care and home health care. We replace pages long questionnaires that families struggle to fill out and caregivers rarely read or remember with beautifully crafted, easily digested professional stories.
LN: Can you tell us about your product and how it works?
JNS: Our basic MemoryWells are no longer than 450 words so that they can be printed on a single page with a little photo. Senior care facilities place them in carelogs, or laminate them and put them up on walls. We also upload them online and each person’s story anchors a page. Families can then add their favorite music, videos, photos and readings. That way whomever is sitting with the person has a whole toolbox of things with which to engage them.
LN: What opportunity did you want to address with the development of your technology?
JNS: The Affordable Care Act mandated switching over to person-centered and value-based care. How better to treat a person, rather than a diagnosis, than by knowing their story?
LN: Who are your primary users? In what ways can your products benefit the 50+ population?
JNS: Most Americans live their lives on Facebook, documenting every move. But there’s a population of older Americans who have never been nor will ever be, on Facebook or any other kind of social media. Most stories are written about the rich, famous, infamous or powerful. But we’re using our talents to capture a generation of stories that would otherwise be lost. We believe journalism can be used on a micro-level to help individuals. Studies in the U.K. show that life story telling can build empathy between not only caregivers but also family and residents as well as reduce depression and improve the quality of life of those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. We believe our stories can not only give voice to the voiceless but help build connections between those in the 50+ population and the next generations.
LN: How did you assemble your team?
JNS: The idea for MemoryWell came to me when I was caregiving for my father. After my mother died, I became his primary caregiver. Eventually, I put him in a home as he was a wanderer and when I did they asked me to fill out a 20-page questionnaire about his life. This made no sense to me: who would remember 20 pages of hand written data points for the more than 150 residents in that community? I was a journalist with TIME Magazine at the time, so instead I wrote down his story. They loved it and it transformed his care. MemoryWell was born.
Our CTO Andrew Fribush lost both of his parents before the age of 14. He spent months in a hospital as his mother declined and was left with the cold memories of a system that only rarely held glimpses of humanity.
Denver Nicks, our Chief Content Officer, is another TIME Magazine alum who is the author of two books, “Private: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History,” and “Hot Sauce Nation.” He’s currently finishing his third book on Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Denver is a journalist's journalist. He believes passionately that every person has a story, and in the power of personal stories to cultivate empathy and compassion between people. He also has personal experience with dementia as his grandmother passed of the disease and he knew and visited Jay’s dad in the final years of his life.
LN: How has MemoryWell the company differed from what you envisioned it would be (if at all)?
JNS: We entered into the market to address a specific pain point that I saw with my dad’s care—basically these ineffectual family questionnaires. But we’ve been surprised to discover that our stories can be used in so many different ways in the health care system. And that’s really exciting. We feel that we’re bridging a market full of excess supply—journalism and all our out-of-work colleagues—to a market with excess demand: nurses and caregivers are always over-stretched and overburdened.
LN: What do you wish you had known before developing your concept?
JNS: How many senior care facilities are still so analog! We developed this whole beautiful multimedia website but the vast majority of facilities still engage much more with the printed versions of the stories, rather than the digital ones. Assisted living seems to be the last place where the Internet still has not permeated.
LN: What most excites you about the aging and / or health technology market?
JNS: Sometimes I feel like Cassandra. We spend almost a billion dollars annually on Alzheimer’s and dementia research but the harsh truth is that given recent drug trial setbacks, the odds of having a cure in time to treat the Baby Boomer generation are slim. Too little attention is being paid to caregiving, and it’s a coming crisis. We’re already short 1.3 million caregivers in the U.S. and we’re estimated to be short more than two million by 2020. The standard of care is declining just as a huge number of people are entering the system. This is a crisis and much, much more needs to be done to address it. Technology is just about the only solution that is going to bridge that gap.
LN: What is your best piece of advice for startups who want to include or target the 50+ market?
JNS: Be patient! I’ve never done sales before but I was shocked at how long it takes care facilities to say yes to you. It takes persistence! By comparison pumping political sources for information and interviewing the president seems a lot easier in hindsight!
LN: Do you have any other products in development?
JNS: We are working on a subscription model where families can enjoy enhanced features. We found that many families were sending their stories around to their extended families and sometimes people wanted to comment on them, add a memory or a picture. Families also wanted more in terms of tips for engagement. So, our subscriptions will offer the ability to comment and post to the site and to add in more media. We’ll also start offering weekly tips and advice and a curated blog and newsletter that will deliver recent medical and caregiving developments and our own reported content on the industry.
LN: Where do you see MemoryWell five years from now?
JNS: Five years from now I’d like to see MemoryWell expanding across the health care industry, building empathy between providers and patients, nurses and families. We’d also be a huge resource for researchers interested in first hand stories of just about anything in recent history, from Korean War veterans to those who were at Woodstock. We’d be changing journalism and health care one story at a time.
About the Author
Jay Newton-Small is cofounder of MemoryWell, a startup of journalists who tell the life stories of those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in order to improve their care.
Previously, Newton-Small was Washington correspondent for TIME Magazine, where she remains a contributor. At TIME she covered politics as well as stories on five continents from conflicts in the Middle East to the earthquake in Haiti and the November 2015 Paris terror attacks. She has written more than half a dozen TIME cover stories and interviewed numerous heads of state, including Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
She authored the 2016 best selling book, Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works.
Before TIME, Newton-Small was a reporter for Bloomberg News, where she covered the White House and politics.
Newton-Small received an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University and undergraduate degrees in International Relations and Art History from Tufts University. She is a 2017 Halcyon Incubator fellow, a 2016-2017 New America fellow and a 2015 Harvard Institute of Politics fellow. She is the 2016 winner of the prestigious Dirksen Award for congressional reporting and the 2016 Deadline Club award for community service reporting.
To learn more about MemoryWell, visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
They have also recently launched a kickstarter campaign, which runs through July 16, 2017.
Will Remote Monitoring Sensors Actually Help Seniors Age in Place AND Reduce Costs?
This month, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society will publish a study examining whether passive remote monitoring sensors truly have the ability to lower healthcare costs and prolong seniors’ ability to remain in their homes and “age in place”.
The results of the 278-participant study to be published this month…suggest they can reduce costly hospitalizations and custodial care.
Costs for inpatient services, emergency department visits, longterm care, skilled nursing facilities, and ambulance care were at least 10 percent lower in the group using the sensors. But the cost savings between the groups were deemed not to be statistically significant for per-member, per-month costs.
It should be emphasized that this is a preliminary study and it does not have a randomized study design. Rather, participants were self-selecting.
Claims data were collected for 12 months to determine healthcare use and costs in an intervention group and contrasted with data from two control groups. One of the control groups was a concurrent group of enrollees who declined the technology and another was a historical cohort matched by age to the participation group, the report said.
The study used sensors developed by Healthsense, which GreatCall acquired. The clinicians for the 74-person group using the sensors received information about those members’ home behaviors, such as a person waking up more than usual at night to use the bathroom or taking longer than usual to return to bed. Trending and real-time alerts triggered a call from the GreatCall response center to check on a participant. If the participant was unwell or unreachable, the response center then called a family member.
Mental Health App for Seniors Among 3 MassChallenge Digital Health Winners
PULSE is the component of MassChallenge dedicated to accelerating digital health startups. Last week they selected 3 startups to receive a total of $200,000—with no equity or other strings attached. Receiving the third-place prize of $40,000 was Rendever, a company dedicated to reducing social isolation and improving the mental wellbeing of seniors.
The top winners of PULSE's cash prizes were selected based on their ability to demonstrate impact and meet milestones while working over the past six months with established corporate partners, including leading health care companies and big-name medical institutions.
[Cambridge-based Rendever], launched by MIT MBA students, developed a virtual reality platform to improve the quality of life of older adults. In particular, the company says, it helps patients feel less socially isolated, and improves mental health through technology that allows seniors to relive and remember personal and family experiences and explore new environments.
This year’s healthcare-only theme was the first ever from the non-profit PULSE@MassChallenge.
The program is part of the governor's digital health initiative to broaden the sector within Massachusetts and make the state a digital hub.
Speaking to a crowd of about 600 at the PULSE@MassChallenge awards ceremony Tuesday night, Gov. Charlie Baker described the competition as "'American Idol' for really smart tech people."
Health care, he said, is "an enormous part of our economy, but it has trouble sometimes seeing the next interesting idea. This gives us the ability to run with some interesting ideas."
The 31 competing startups in PULSE were selected from among more than 430 applicants from 30 states and 20 countries, Dougherty said.
‘Smart’ Homes the Next Big Opportunity for Entrepreneurs, says Syragon CEO
The Internet of Things (IoT), says Syragon CEO Gideon Kimbrell, is changing the terms of 'smart' devices. As a contributing guest writer for Entrepreneur, he points out that opportunities for innovators are enormous, but this new definition of 'smart' must be understood if it is to be harnessed.
Increasingly, "smart" means safe, in terms of security and health. Joe Colistra, architect at the Center for Design Research at the University of Kansas, was recently profiled in The Atlantic on his vision for a smart home that safeguards occupants' well-being. Such updates include motion-sensing walls and force-detecting floors that notice walking problems in senior citizens. Another update: "smart toilets" that analyze biochemistry and report to doctors on the user's health.
Any new market sector has potential pitfalls, Kimbrell argues. So current or would-be smart home entrepreneurs would do well to pay attention to what they are, particularly if they are trying to tap into the enormous smart home market for seniors and their caregivers.
The pitfalls possible with "smart" homes
Take those smart "healthy homes," for instance. More than any group, seniors would benefit, but they aren't typically early adopters. Many will be reticent to install the sorts of sensor technology necessary -- not because of cost, but because of security.
And there's good reason for that: It's already bad enough that our webcams could be spying on us; we surely don't want our entire houses to be informants to some unseen hacker or corporate bad actor.
Smart home artificial intelligence needs to be designed to recognize uncharacteristic network traffic from every connected device in a home, acting as a tipoff for bot network shenanigans. Luckily, that's not difficult: It's instilling the "security first" mindset into developers and entrepreneurs that takes the most effort.
For those who can establish the right approach to security and data sharing -- and back it up with truly innovative and robust practices, there is a tremendous future ahead.
Population growth and increasing concentration of that growth in urban centers provides an extra incentive for designing and developing smart urban dwellings.
The opportunities smart urban dwellings present
Consider my own company's home base of Miami. With the Port of Miami getting a $2 billion expansion, and once a multibillion-dollar expansion of the airport is complete, the city can expect even more travelers and commerce in coming years. But that influx will ultimately increase the human density in downtown areas. The city's residences and businesses will not be able to effectively handle that increase without IoT and better automation.
Entrepreneurs should take note: Big problems present even bigger opportunities, and Miami in particular is blooming with exciting new tech in this sector.
That goes for both residential and workplace design, particularly workplaces set up to further spur innovation in IoT.
Thankfully, these opportunities for smart living spaces are already on their way. The Muse Residences in Sunny Isles Beach, condos designed in collaboration with Deepak Chopra, and scheduled to open this year, will feature facial recognition, robotic parking, features for optimization of our sleep cycles, window shades that adjust to the sun's brightness and other aspects that promote overall wellness.
These improvements are reshaping workspaces, as well. Miami real estate entrepreneur Matthieu Merchadou Melki has created Art of Miami, a studio design firm, working with Mana downtown and local authorities to develop smart environments for buildings, thereby providing entrepreneurs a more effective shared space.
The firm will include prototyping labs and VR/AR labs that will allow companies to prototype on site while enjoying support, special access to funding for their startups, introductions to lenders and access to other smart development startups for collaboration.
Kimbrell closes with a few tips for capitalizing on this wave of the future.
Riding the future wave
1. Leverage the protective instinct. From parents with young children to businessmen concerned about elderly parents when the latter are traveling, people worry about their loved ones' safety. And, with threats such as the Mirai malware which turned IoT devices into unwitting accomplices in large-scale attacks, nailing down security concerns should be at the top of any entrepreneur's list.
Apps have worked in this space for some time, but there's a lot of room to grow. So, entrepreneurs can "do well by doing good" and focus on smart home products that keep occupants safe -- including safe from the products themselves.
2. Seek innovative architects and industry experts. Integrating smart-home technology starting with the design phase is much easier than is retrofitting. Often these architects, such as the late Zaha Hadid, are known for their breakthrough designs, and their names increase trust from homeowners.
Likewise, chances are that you may not understand the housing or development industry if you're a tech entrepreneur. Imagine selling thousands of square feet of "smart flooring" to contractors, only to have it returned because it doesn't match the city's code where the contractor is located. To avoid this problem, get those who know the ropes of the home development game in your corner from the get-go.
3. Consider a licensing-based business model. Housing is heavy on regulation, requires you to hold inventory and puts you up against entrenched players who know the game better than you ever will. Instead of playing on this uneven field, consider patenting a product and then licensing it or generating royalties from it. This allows all the innovation and profits, with none of the hassles of the housing market.
Google just launched a service, Google IoT Core, which allows startups to connect all IoT devices to a single cloud layer. It only collects data from these IoT devices -- it doesn't offer a way to build applications that leverage AI or trigger actions.
But by adding in a layer such as Losant, it's fairly easy to complete one-off AI tasks, such as connecting to IBM Watson's API to perform speech-to-text. This approach allows the company to get into the game from a safer regulatory distance.
"The time of the smart dwelling is upon us," says Kimbrell. "...those entrepreneurs who start now may benefit most of all. Are you up for the challenge?"