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Is Fitbit the New Abdominizer?

Are wearable fitness trackers really a game-changing phenomenon? Or are they just the latest in a long line of gimmicks designed to snag money from the wallets of people who really want to get in shape but never seem to? 

I’ve been of the mind that an awful lot of the devices will be sitting with the Shake Weight on the treadmill-cum-clothesline in the study. But I'm starting to change my tune.

I’ll submit that my position may be colored at least in part by the wearables hangover I’ve been nursing since CES last month. The manic rush to strap sensors onto body parts and embed them into other connected devices at times felt more like parody than plan. It reminded me of the days before the dot com bubble burst – on a much smaller scale, of course – when all you needed was a PowerPoint deck and a sock puppet to secure enough funding to run Super Bowl ads.

By the time I flew out of Vegas, I'd coined a new acronym: IoC, or Internet of Crap.

No doubt, there is an awful lot of IoC out there. But it's not all IoC. There are Amazon.com's out there with the Pet.com's of the wearables era.

So which is Fitbit? Read my entire column HERE.


A Tale of Two eBurglaries


Hackers recently pried their way into customer data at Target and SnapChat. It’s a costly proposition for both, to be sure. But while one company’s wings may be permanently clipped, watch for the other to dust itself off and continue on as before.

Why are consumer reactions to the two heists so pronounced? Because they view the Target hack as a security breach. And even though thieves got less information per SnapChat customer, consumers see that breakin as a violation of their privacy.

Find out why HERE.


Powerful Incentive from Miami Dolphins

Autographs? Now that's how you get fans to share their location and other personal information with you!

Last Sunday, Qualcomm and the Dolphins lit up proximity beacons around Sun Life Stadium in Miami, and gave a group of fans a taste of location-aware discounts, inside information and other benefits delivered to their smartphones. Like notifications that the food line one section over is much shorter than the one you're standing in now. Or coupons as you pass the team store.

And an alert that players are signing autographs at the loyalty tent. What loyal fan wouldn't want their favorite player's autograph? Right?

There's a good lesson here for anyone planning contextually aware apps. That is, if you want their information, you have to follow these three steps:

  • Tell them what they're sharing
  • Tell them what you're going to use it for, and
  • Give them something in return.

Read my entire column on the subject HERE.


MarketsofOne's Charter Sponsor

The MarketsofOne TechSummit welcomes Qualcomm as Charter Sponsor. MarketsofOne is the first industrywide forum dedicated entirely to contextual awareness. Digital Sixth Sense, which is Qualcomm's vision for contextual awareness, is closely aligned with the concept for the summit.

The conference will be held April 10th, 2014, at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto, CA. Learn more HERE.


Getting To Know You

When I talk to people about indoor-tracking tools like iBeacon, which Apple launched at its US stores last Friday, they're both fascinated and frightened. They quickly appreciate how helpful a connected world can be when it knows where you are and what you're doing. But the steady of stream of news about privacy intrusions -- mostly by the NSA -- makes them wonder if the cost of allowing access to more personal data is really worth it. 

Location is the cornerstone for contextual awareness, a collection of efforts aimed at giving our smartphones the tools they need to begin making timely, relevant suggestions and even take action on our behalf. Understanding that we're standing in front of the smartphones rather than the tablets is an important piece of the puzzle.

Apple introduced the iBeacon feature as part of the iOS 7 launch in September. It makes use of the iPhone's Bluetooth radio to communicate with other iOS 7 devices as well as compatible sensors placed at strategic spots around Apple stores. Among other things, the close-range nature of Bluetooth can be used to pinpoint a shopper's whereabouts to deliver location-specific messages. For example, someone with an older iPhone might get a trade-in offer while checking out the newer models.

The demand for insight into ever-more pots of your personal information is increasing just as the backlash from ongoing NSA revelations is making consumers more aware of the digital fingerprints they're leaving behind, and increasingly wary of those with access.

Read the entire column HERE.