Oura Rings Are The Wearables that Could Detect COVID Before You Do

The NBA is back starting July 30th and are using wearables to ensure that they are COVID free.

The wearable is “a $300 ring made by the Finnish company Oura that measures temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, and other physiological data that could theoretically be helpful for detecting whether someone has COVID-19, even before they start exhibiting symptoms. By plugging these variables into an algorithm, the ring will provide the players with an “illness probability score” that tells them whether they should seek a medical examination. A smartphone app linked to the ring will present the score and other information the device has collected. The inner surface of the ring has three sensors: an infrared photoplethysmography sensor for respiration and heart rate, a negative temperature coefficient for body temperature, and a 3D accelerometer for movement.”

How does it work? “While the Oura Ring was originally designed to track sleep patterns, the company is now funding studies at West Virginia University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute and the University of California San Francisco to determine whether the device could be useful for early COVID-19 detection. A Gizmodo investigation found that the pandemic has prompted a number of similar studies on other wearable technologies – including Fitbits, the Apple Watch, and the Whoop fitness tracker—which have thus far seemed promising, but far from conclusive. Early findings suggest that a higher resting heart rate, respiratory rate, and skin temperature could possibly signal the onset of an infection before the symptoms become noticeable. This is partly due to the fact that body’s immune system produces a substance called C-reactive protein during an infection, which is correlated with higher heart rates and other physiological signs. The Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute recently announced preliminary results from a study observing 600 healthcare professionals and first responders, indicating that the Oura Ring may be able to detect illness up three days before symptoms with 90 percent accuracy.”

Why It’s Hot? 

This could be huge for the US coronavirus fight. These digital markers (maybe with blue tooth to do digital “contact tracing” could help us follow COVID around the US map.

Source: https://slate.com/technology/2020/06/nba-coronavirus-oura-ring-orlando.html

Boston latest big city to take stand against facial recognition software

It’s sadly not surprising that the first false arrest attributed to faulty facial recognition was of a black man in Michigan.

Fast Company:

Boston on Wednesday banned municipal use of facial recognition technology, becoming the largest East Coast city to do so, public radio station WBUR reports.

“Boston should not be using racially discriminatory technology and technology that threatens our basic rights,” said city council member Michelle Wu at a Wednesday hearing, CNET reports.

Facial recognition technology has fallen under heavy criticism, with numerous research reports finding the technology does relatively poorly at recognizing people who aren’t white men. IBM recently announced it would stop offering “general purpose” facial recognition software, and Microsoft and Amazon both announced moratoriums on offering such technology to police.

Boston joins neighboring municipalities Somerville, Cambridge, and Brookline in barring local agencies from using the technology. Other cities, including Oakland and San Francisco in California, already ban the technology as well.

The new ordinance drew praise from civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which in a tweet called attention to Robert Williams, a Black man living in Michigan who was arrested after being falsely matched by such software to someone captured in surveillance footage.

City officials are still allowed to use facial recognition to unlock their own devices, and they can still use the technology to automatically spot faces to redact from photos, CNET reports.

Why it’s hot:

1. We’ve talked about inherent bias in AI before, but whether or not to use it has largely been left up to tech companies and the market. Major municipalities have been reluctant to outright ban the use of facial recognition algorithms in surveillance and policing until recently (maybe because mass surveillance is super appealing to governments looking for a cheap way to police the population). Current events could be turning the tide toward a more just and less dystopian future…but maybe this is just a bump in the road for facial recognition.

2. It’s telling that the current complaints lobbed at facial recognition technology focus on its problems with bias, but focus less on its fundamental problems concerning civil liberties and privacy. Maybe because it’s hard to notice until it affects us. Also maybe because those apps using it are just too much fun.

Source: Fast Company

How does Zoom make money?

Have you wondered what Zoom’s revenue model and pricing structure is like?

Infographic: Zoom's Revenue Skyrockets On Pandemic Boost | Statista

“As the chart shows, Zoom saw its revenue skyrocket in the past three months, accelerating an already impressive upward trend. In the quarter ended April 30, total revenue for the video conferencing company amounted to $328 million, up 169 percent from the same period of last year. For the ongoing quarter, Zoom expects another jump in revenue to $495 to $500 million as working from home will remain highly prevalent as long as the pandemic hasn’t run its course.”

 

The free version limits usage time to 40 minutes while limiting user count to 100 attendees. To lift these restrictions, customers will have to pay a monthly subscription fee.

Businesses or individuals have to pay $14.99 when billed monthly or $12.49/month for annual billing.

Zoom Rooms

Zoom Rooms are conference rooms systems that allow organizations to run video meetings. Customers can utilize their existing hardware providers such as Polycom and Cisco or purchase from Zoom-certified hardware providers.

The company’s Professional Services unit then ensures that the installation of conference rooms runs as smoothly as possible.

Customers are charged a monthly subscription fee, which comes in at $49 a month per installed conference room (or $41.58 per month when billed annually).

Furthermore, Zoom partners up with manufacturers like DTEN or Aver to provide their customers with the necessary hardware tools.

Zoom Video Webinars 

Zoom Video Webinars is a web conferencing service that allows users to broadcast a Zoom meeting to up to 10,000 view-only attendees. Webinars start at a capacity of 100 participants and scale up to 10,000 participants, depending on the license bought.

Webinar pricing starts at $14.99 per month and user (when billed monthly). On top of that, a webinar license must be purchased. The price depends on the number of attendees hosted. 

 

Why it’s hot: Certain companies and sectors have benefited from the Covid-19 pandemic and video communications technologies like Zoom have been one of the biggest beneficiaries.

Sources: One, Two

The Great Privacy Revolt

DuckDuckGo is an Internet privacy company that “empowers users to seamlessly take control of their personal information online, without any tradeoffs.”

Over the years, DuckDuckGo has offered millions of people a private alternative to Google. And it seems as if consumers are using it. The site is currently averaging more than 50 million search queries per day, which was far beyond what I thought it’d be.

As companies large and small, not to mention government agencies, are hacked, consumers of all ages are becoming increasingly aware that their growing dependence on technology has come at the expense of their privacy. It’s estimated Google trackers lurk behind 76% of web pages and Facebook’s on 24%.

In the past, consumers almost haphazardly shared data without thinking twice but it seems that’s changing and forcing marketers to rethink the experience.

Why it’s hot:
Consumers are turning to more technologies that safeguard their privacy. The DOJ is probing Google’s search engine dominance. Germanys highest court ordered Facebook to stop harvesting user data. All of these happens are contributing to a larger privacy revolt, especially with younger generations.

According to a recent GenTech study only 29% of 19- to 24-year-olds view technologies such as AI and machine learning algorithms as positive interventions. Instead, most wish to maintain a sense of autonomy in their decision making and have the opportunity to freely explore new products, services, and experiences. It’ll be interesting to see how marketers adapt to create experiences for consumers in the future.

Lush makes 30-second soap

The soap and cosmetics retailer Lush has developed a soap that dissolves after 30 seconds of use to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. It has partnered with Deliveroo, one of the largest food delivery companies in the UAE, to distribute the soap to customers with all of its meal orders.

The company developed the soap to encourage hand-washing based on the World Health Organization’s guidelines for stopping the spread of Covid-19, giving both a practical solution and a demonstration of how long 30 seconds of hand-washing actually lasts.

The brand promoted the soap through its social channels and an online video, and customers can request the soap to be sent directly to them via the microsite 30secondsoap.com. Lush is also including the soap in the delivery of all orders made on its website.

16,000 soaps had been distributed by 12 June, with 27,000 requests submitted through the website from people around the world. The company is now working on a second batch for distribution in the UAE and looking to expand the initiative further across the region into Kuwait, Lebanon, and Saudia Arabia.

Why it’s Hot:
This product release is smart for several distinct reasons:
  1. It’s a product innovation that comes directly out of a current need, making Lush feel relevant and in touch with today’s consumers.
  2. It educates people on the amount of time they need to wash their hands, positioning Lush as an expert in personal care.
  3. It allows for at-home sampling of Lush products, something that isn’t currently possible due to COVID-19.

Prescription Game

Designed to help kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), EndeavorRx is the first game that’s allowed to be prescribed by doctors as medical treatment.

The game should not be considered an alternative to medication, but is officially approved by the US FDA. The game, aimed at patients age 8-12, can be plaid on an iPad or iPhone and has been found (after clinical trials for 7 years) to reduce attention-deficit for 1/3 of participants.

Introducing Akili

Akili, the creator of the game aims to reimagine what medicine can be. They are pairing neuroscience with the latest technology and video game entertainment in the hopes of challenging the status quo of medicine.

Why it’s hot: Gaming addiction was declared a legitimate disorder by the WHO last year and has taken flak in regards to violence. But, with Covid lockdowns and their ensuing madness, more and more people of all ages are realizing the benefits of gaming.

Sources:

CNBC – See the first-ever game approved by the FDA as a mental health treatment
Distractify – How the EndeavorRX game works
Forbes  – Games are great for your mental health study finds