Here we go again on the discussions of wearables. If you hang around the internet enough and read all the reports and press releases that are put out, you get the impression that gee everyone’s using one and you’ll be left out if you don’t. Well everyone wants to make a sale. I’m not saying there’s anything bad with choosing a wearable if “you” make the determination that the information given is a tool for you, but there’s good reasons out there that many don’t even want to explore it and privacy is a big factor. Heck I even have the mHealth folks themselves agreeing with me on that as with all the devices out there, they do come with a business model to make money. It’s not new and I think was pretty much put on the map with Fitbit with supporting revenue streams with selling some kind of data.
I just said the other day that patient engagement goes beyond “go fix yourself” with an app. Some have developed software now that involves others so you have a community. That is nothing new but now you have software to track what goes on in the community. Some people don’t like that either with sharing data in a community; however in a talk group of humans sharing with anonymity there’s no problem, so that tells me the business models with the wearables have issues.
Let me clarify this too as I am not talking about devices that doctors use such as a mobile EKG to help diagnose as that’s a different category in itself and software and devices like that that help are great. This is more of a discussion along the lines of the consumer devices and software. So for whatever reason Nike is changing course here it certainly send a message that there’s not enough money being made, as why else do folks make changes like this and thus so we circle back around to the business model and once again have ask ourselves “do people work like that”. It’s not an easy nut to crack and has been around since software has. We hear all this talk about intuitive apps and devices and that’s hard. You get fooled all the time and I go back to when I wrote software.
I was not above getting fooled as it happens all the time with a proof of concept sounding really good, thinking people are just going to “love” having whatever information your queries put out there, and guess what, they don’t like it or they don’t care. So for developers there’s an old saying out there of “eating your own dog food” and even then if you use your own products you can still get fooled as it may work for you but it might be too complex for someone else, or they just don’t like it.
Marketing with wearables tells us today “we have to like it as the data is helpful”…well some do and some don’t and if you have to force this issue, then something’s wrong with the model. Would I use a patch instead of taking a pill to dispense medication for one example, sure I’d give a try. Now what if that patch had a sensor that sends the data somewhere for someone to monitor and bug me and end up at a wellness company owned by an insurance company, nope, give me a pill instead without the chip that goes down my digestive tract too as I think I’m adult enough to take whatever medications I would need to help whatever condition I could have. I’m also not adverse to reminders that would help me as well, but I don’t want that too blasted all over creation and I can just as easy enough set my own reminders with Outlook to do that and still enjoy my privacy, the phone does that real well and how I function today with reminders too so they are all in one place. By doing such I would also be admitting to myself that hey I’m going to use a little technology to make me smarter and more efficient and I don’t need another app for that.
Nothing much is going to really happen here until we lay out the privacy and give consumers information on where their data goes and more so on where it gets sold, profile data or entire history. Just recently the World Health Organization presented a report on the “Scoring of citizens in the US” and it’s interesting as we lead the pack with the data addiction game and selling. No where else in the world are people scored right and left with proprietary software that you have no clue on how it works and where the data goes, and who’s data is it really. Here’s a good example below along with a link to the World Privacy report which you can also read below.
When you hear FICO say all they need is your name and address to score you from 0 to 500 on medication compliance, well for me it’s time to get out of Dodge as I have no clue as to what data sources they are using. When your data gets turned loose, how do you get scored by who, where and what other data sources get queried with it?
“Consumer scores are found in a wide array of “offline” arenas, including businesses, health care providers, financial institutions, law enforcement, retail stores, federal and state government, and many other locations. Some of the more social consumer scores may be online, but mostly consumer scores are not solely focused on just online activities.
Consumer scores in use today affect a consumer’s marketplace opportunities. Some of these opportunities are major (e.g., financial, employment, health,), some are minor (e.g., receiving a coupon, spam, or junk mail), and many are in between. Consumers are adversely affected by scores that are kept secret, and consumers are adversely affected when they do not have rights to correct scores.
The worst part about the fines given by the FTC at the link above is that the one data broker could not pay a million dollar fine so they reduce it to $60,000. Think about that as if a consumer had a million dollars in medical bills, they go to bankruptcy court. This battle will go on and on until consumers have the flat out bottom line on who collects data and what kind and where it goes. Also at the link above you can see where Google is doing a study to find out “how people work” and it’s kind of amusing to a degree after years of hiring thousands of people that they need a study and don’t have a clue and sure they have had success in building software that is intuitive which is fine but they have also had some dogs too over the years, so again it’s tough to always know what will work out there.
This link too is relative as now you can see where Google is partnering with data brokers to follow you into the stores now to match up ads with sales which will never be an exact “science” if you want to call this “data dig” that. My post on 100 Bottles of Beer does a good job explaining why you may have 80 bottles or it may be 200 but it will never be 100 in the real world. I used to be a query monster and know exactly how data is manipulate at at times and how false values get marketed and sold and we end up with more cases of “The Grays”.
Back on topic here though when it comes to wearables though, Apple could have a shot at it as they have tons of money and don’t have to succumb to a “data selling model” that we see out there and it’s no easy task for them either to figure out “how people work”.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that the lack of privacy and the “data selling epidemic” along with the compulsive proprietary “consumer scoring” that is taking place in the US is having an impact on this market for sure. Speaking for myself only, that’s exactly why I would even think of wearing one. Now a take as simple pedometer that connects to a PHR where the data is for my use and measurement only and where I’m in control, different story as now I have a tool “for me” and not one that going to blast a data profile all over the place as folks trying to figure out “how people work” are just salivating all over the place to buy such data.
I say leave it up to the official clinical studies and scientific folks to work on that, not the average Joe out there who thinks they can take data from any credible or non-credible source such as social networks to create the “Holy Grail” on behavior. Anymore too you have to watch some of those studies a we read about some that cheat to make money there too. I’m just looking at the entire big picture of why folks are not jumping out of their skins into the wearable business. For those that use them and it helps, fine but on the other hand can you please have a little consideration for those who don’t buy in for privacy reasons?
I’m not going to discount anyone who finds a tool that helps them, but I’m also a realist that understands marketing and business models too and the “selfie” move of hearing the same thing over and over with folks having to put their results on social networks is getting old as we flooded with such and people ignore it after a while and just kind of look and figure “there’s one of those selfie’s again” who thinks I care:) Fact of the matter is and I’m speaking for myself and others may share this is that I’m too involved right now with my own data as I have email, logging on with my financials, etc. to have time to look at it anymore. We are all busier today with using technology information sources and I tune out what I don’t see as something of value for me at the present time. It gets to be noise.
We are always going to have this quest to figure out how to make things work and sometimes the models just break no matter what you do. Companies selling broken models that don’t have a large enough appeal sure feel it too and will jump through hoops to create perceptions that the model is not broken as they want to make money..augh..and so it goes. So we come back around to the same question again “do people work that way” and what’s virtual values and the real world values. Some mix and some don’t and we come back to “The Grays” again and ask ourselves what virtual values (i.e. data from devices here) intersect with the real world here and how do I balance it. So in the meantime I have to figure this out and cut through the noise.
You read about electronic medical records and doctors complaining there too, what’s up with their models you could ask? You know when electronic medical records came out, I wrote one in the early days and really worked hard to make a tool for the doctors that would help “them”, but again the “data selling epidemic” here has encroached there as well. Insurance companies want to make money selling their research on mining records, a shift away from the original FDA Sentinel program where all would “share for the good”, so here’s that battle ground as again it’s money and a few years ago the shift changed from being a doctor’s tool to being an insurance tool for payments. The US has the absolute most complex system in the world in the way medical coding works and it plays out with electronic medical records and thus the software is geared for coding first and clinical second it appears anymore. Larry Page at Google was a bit out of touch too with his recent comments on medical records.
Now we have hospitals and other medical entities trying to make use of the data from the wearables too and we come back to the same old thing again with where does my data go. In order to participate with any of them I now have to submit to the device and the app to give them my data so it can be maybe combined with a program a hospital has that can maybe use the data in a constructive way? Physicist Sean Gourley does a good job with this in this video below , we need algorithms but who’s are they and will I benefit. Larry Ellison also recently gave us a good warning too with being careful with artificial pieces of software that’s smarter than you. He knows as code has been his business for years.
Do I need to be a Techno Serf to benefit? This is pretty much what we have built out there with the data selling epidemic and wearables have their part of the equation built in here too. BD
Again until privacy is full addressed here and people know where their data goes, I think that’s still going to remain to be a huge stumbling block here with apps and wearable devices as people have a huge reason not to trust. You look around, everywhere, it’s a data hunt for money, stock markets, no different and people will use data whether it’s ethical or non-ethical to make money. So perhaps with Nike here the business model is opening up for questions. You do have that other side of the coin too with people using the product but if the business model is broken on the money making side, why continue? BD
Nick Statt of Cnet has a scoop: He’s reporting that Nike is laying off most of the people on its team responsible for the FuelBand fitness tracker
. Instead of making its own hardware, the company will focus on fitness-related software henceforth.
This I do know: I’m sorry to see the FuelBand go away. Though it didn’t do anywhere near as much as a Fitbit or Jawbone Up, I loved Nike’s hardware design, with its straightforward display and a clasp that locked securely and doubled as a USB connector. (It’s one of the few wearables that doesn’t make you keep track of a stupid little charging dongle.) I was hoping to see it evolve further; Statt says an upcoming model was canceled, though the current FuelBand SE will stay on the market.