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FeibusTech: market insight & analysis. Influencer, analyst in IoT, digital health/fitness, wearables, connected car, smart home, privacy/security. Columnist for Tech section of USA TODAY and Fortune.

FeibusTech is brought to you by TechKnowledge Strategies, which has been providing clear, critical and independent insight to technology buyers and suppliers for more than a decade.  TechKnowledge offers a mix of business acumen with a discerning grasp of technology and a savvy honed by years of hands-on experience. If you have questions, TechKnowledge has answers.

FeibusTech Blog

What Consumers Look for in a Home Router

Mike Feibus

Nearly six in 10 US router owners have at least one outstanding issue with their network, according to a recent survey. They want a new router that delivers faster speeds to all their devices everywhere in the home.

But the survey also revealed that, despite ongoing problems and performance desires, consumers most commonly wait to upgrade until their current router breaks or doesn't function properly.

Why not? The survey suggests that a deeply dissatisfying shopping experience may be to blame. Nearly two thirds of owners - 64 percent - report challenges with the buying process. For non-owners who intend to buy, the figure is even higher, at 85 percent.

Clearly, then, there is the potential for great reward for router suppliers that deliver the home networking experience consumers desire.

FeibusTech's new eBook, What Consumers Want: Breaking Down the Sea-Change in Wireless Home Networking, reports on the consumer survey and offers valuable insights into how to design, market and sell platforms that resonate with buyers. It is a must-read for OEMs, internet service providers, retailers and anyone else who wants to succeed in wireless home networking.

FT Insights: The Future of Hearables

Mike Feibus

The latest hearables are now available from Bragi, including a fully customizeable version tailored by hearing-aid supplier Starkey for better comfort and sound quality. Plus, they won't fall out. Also: OS upgrade brings new features to the original Dash as well.

    There's lots more! Check out my FT Insights interviews withBragi CEO Nikolaj Hviid and Starkey CMO Chris McCormick on my YouTube Channel.

    First 'Artificial Pancreas' Comes to Market

    Mike Feibus

    Credit: Medtronic

    Credit: Medtronic

    The first so-called artificial pancreas systems – wearable devices that take charge of the crucial process of measuring glucose and delivering insulin –  are now beginning to come to market.

    That’s welcome news for the nation’s 30 million diabetics, who stand not only to get some relief from the seemingly incessant stream of lancets, test strips and syringes, but also to stay healthier. That’s because an artificial pancreas can keep the disease on a tighter leash than they can, by testing more frequently and delivering more precise insulin doses.

    That’s not only important for patients, but could ease strains on the nation's healthcare system.

    Read my entire column in the Tech section of USA Today HERE.

    DeX: Samsung Kicks Off New Product Category at Unpacked

    Mike Feibus

    The Galaxy S8/S8+ and the new Gear 360 VR camera grabbed most of the headlines from Samsung's hour-long Unpacked reveal at Lincoln Center last week. So you may have missed the very last announcement: the unveiling of DeX, a cradle that gives you the ability to use the new smartphones just like a PC.

    DeX pairs the phone with a keyboard, mouse and display. Once the phone is docked, it transforms into a desktop computer, with all the usual apps in windows that you can manipulate with the familiar mouse and keyboard commands we all know and love. And oh by the way, DeX also charges the phone.

    Sounds cool. But should you buy it? Find out.  Watch my latest video HERE:

    Voice Assist for Business is Good Business

    Mike Feibus

    The tussle for supremacy between Amazon and Google to create the most useful voice assistant is getting louder. But while this battle is largely taking place in home speakers and phones, another player – IBM — is carving out territory in the ear. 

    At Mobile World Congress earlier this month, Big Blue showed that it is getting down to business with voice, previewing applications that help a wide swath of professionals, from family doctors to firefighters, work smarter by using voice to tap into the Watson cognitive engine.

    And together with partner Bragi, the German hearables pioneer, IBM offered a glimpse into what else might be possible with Watson actually sitting right inside your ear.

    Want to learn more? Read my entire column in the Tech section of USA Today HERE.

    Qualcomm and 11ax: Cure for the Internet Rush Hour?

    Mike Feibus

    Qualcomm and 11ax: Game-Changing Breakthrough for Dense Networks

    Wi-Fi network demand has changed. But Wi-Fi technology has been slow to respond.

    Until now.

    Wireless industry pioneer Qualcomm today announced chipsets built around 802.11ax, a completely new approach to the evolution of Wi-Fi. Read my post to learn more.

    Read More

    CBS Overnight America: Augmented Reality, Energy Harvesting, Alexa/Voice UI, the Tech Bubble and More

    Mike Feibus

    CBS Overnight America's Jon Grayson and I discuss what CES told us about what to expect in the year ahead. We talked about ODG, Vuforia and the overall augmented reality scene. We explored energy harvesting and what that portends for wearables and the Internet of Things. We chatted about Amazon's Alexa, Google's plans and what other Voice UI developments we have to look forward to. And we reviewed the latest developments in the widely-anticipated Snap IPO. Listen here - or find all my CBS Overnight America spots HERE.

    Wearables Makers Want You to Want Them in 2017

    Mike Feibus

    by Julie McClure

    LAS VEGAS --Most everyone who wants a smartwatch or fitness tracker already has one. That's not good news for wearables makers, because their appeal doesn't reach far beyond early tech adopters, professional athletes and fitness freaks.

    As wearables companies converge on Las Vegas for CES 2017, they face a difficult task: how to make their products attractive to normal people. 

    Wearables makers are nowstarting to make some headway in the corporate wellness segment. To succeed there – as well as to spark further growth in the consumer market – they will need to make their hardware more reliable and introduce more compelling metrics than counting steps or even basic heart rate. And most important, they will need to focus more on patient/consumer engagement.

    In his latest USA Today column, Mike Feibus digs deep into the three things wearables makers need to improve. Read his entire column HERE.

     

    Hearables: Wearables Never Sounded Better

    Mike Feibus

    As the wearables market begins to slow, many manufacturers are looking beyond the wrist. They are training their eyes on your ears, which they see as the site for the next big growth area in this $10 billion market.

    These new products, dubbed “hearables,” add sensors and smarts to wireless headphones and earbuds. That means they can do much of what their wrist-worn brethren can, like monitor heartrate and count steps. And because of their northern exposure, they have some distinct advantages as well.

    FeibusTech forecasts that hearables shipments will overtake smartwatches and wrist-worn fitness trackers by 2020. For more on that, see my LinkedIn column HERE.

    Also: I've been evaluating three smart headsets. Read all about them in my latest column in the Tech section of USA TODAY.

    Netgear’s Orbi Helps Ring in New Era of Home Wi-Fi Simplicity

    Mike Feibus

    In my recent USA TODAY column, I talked about the coming sea-change in home Wi-Fi. Consumers, I said, want to buy routers that just work. They want connectivity anywhere they go in their home. They want the network to be efficient, self-managed and secure. And they want the hardware to be brain-dead easy to set up.

    Now, finally, new routers are coming available to meet this demand. And all but one are from startups or relative newcomers to the home router market. The exception: Orbi, from Netgear.

    Why is Netgear heading into this new segment? And how serious is the market leader about pursuing it? Thus far, other established suppliers seem content to stand pat, offering only traditional router lineups that cater more to hard-core gamers and technophiles than to everyday consumers.

    Recently, I had a chance to chat with Patrick Lo, Netgear Chairman and CEO, and David Henry, Senior Vice President for Home Networking Products, about the state of the router market, as well as their new Orbi product line. I came away convinced that they have a sense for just how big this new product direction could become. But Lo cautioned against being too optimistic before consumers have had a chance to get familiar.

    “This is a completely new market,” Lo told me. “So we really don’t know yet how customers are going to react.”

    Lo and Henry said they believed that the Orbi system offers advantages over the existing competitors in this new space. For example, the system costs $399 rather than $499, which is what the higher-priced pioneers cost. As well, they said Orbi is the only system available today that dedicates a separate radio for network management operations, which results in better coverage and higher data rates.

    Though early systems are selling well, Lo pointed out that early offerings in this nascent category are still pretty expensive. He said to watch for Netgear to fill out the price points for the Orbi line, though he wouldn’t disclose when that would happen.

    Lo did say he believes that, once Orbi is available at mainstream price points, the new segment could “blossom into a pretty sizable category.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    The Sea Change in Home Networking

    Mike Feibus

    The home router market is entering a period of dramatic upheaval. FeibusTech believes it is a
    market that is ripe for disruption, for one simple reason: there is a large and widening gap
    between what most available products offer and what consumers need to keep their networks
    seamlessly delivering the content and the experiences they want.

    For router suppliers, they have two choices: disrupt or be disrupted.

    Find out more. Read our just-published research brief on the topic HERE.

    And don't miss my column on the topic in the Tech section of USA TODAY.

    Managing Stress with Nervana: Worked for Me!

    Mike Feibus

    What does Nervana do for you? It seems like there’s a wide variety of answers to that question.

    From what I’ve been reading, it sounds like my experiences are similar to a lot of new Nervana users. One difference, though: I was able to document the changes I thought I was feeling.

    A few weeks before I received my Nervana, I got a wearable called Spire. About the size of the knob on the Nervana generator, Spire clips in along the belt line of your pants. It monitors your breathing, and senses whether you’re stressed, calm, focused or (d) none of the above. It’s supposed to help you be more mindful of your stress.

    The weeks leading up to Nervana, Spire was telling me that about 80 percent of the time it characterized was tense, and that I was calm for most or all of the rest.

    Nothing changed during the first few days after I got my Nervana, which isn’t surprising. Like many, it took me a couple of days to dial it in, choose the right size earbuds and spray the right amount of saline for a good connection. I found that I tolerated the stimulation well, and switched to formula mode after only a couple of days.

    What I did notice was that, over time, I had a better handle on my stress. It’s not magic. I still get stressed. But it’s for much shorter periods. And it’s markedly easier to control. 

    Spire seems to agree. About five days after I got Nervana, it started to report noticeably more calm – at the expense of tension. And about a week later, Spire reported that my calm kicked into another gear. That trend continued for another week.

    And then, all of a sudden Spire began reporting a marked jump in focus, a trend that gained steam for a few weeks. At first, focus was coming at the expense of tension, while calm more or less held steady. But eventually, focus began eating away at the percent of calm as well.

    Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve been working really hard these past few months, and it’s much better to be tackling tasks with focus than with tension. I am getting a lot done, and having a much more pleasant time of it.

    Biomedicine: shocking alternative to drugs

    Mike Feibus

    by Julie McClure

    Can researchers shock us out of our drug habit? It's an intriguing question that has been drawing more investment lately. Google and GlaxoSmithKline is one of the growing number of ventures cropping up in the exciting new frontier of biolectronic medicine. Mike Feibus recently wrote about it in his latest column in USA TODAY.

    Much of the biolectronics efforts focus on vagus nerve stimulation, or VNS. It has been used for decades to treat seizures and depression. Researchers are looking at VNS to help people recover from injury and illness as well as prevent a growing list of mental and physiological maladies.

    We've also just released a new FeibusTech research brief on the bioelectronics in association with Nervana, a startup that makes a wellness VNS device that uses electrical signals to stimulate the vagus nerve where it passes by the ear canal. Download Vagus Nerve Stimulation: The Secret to Nervana HERE. 

    Time to Inject Style into Corporate Laptops

    Mike Feibus

    We know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, as the old adage goes. But we do it anyway.

    It’s why we tend to replace the things others can see and associate with us – like cars and smartphones – while they’re still serving their purpose. And it’s why we wait for things like water heaters and air conditioners to die before we buy new ones.

    Corporate IT organizations historically bought laptops as if they belong tucked away in the utility closet, opting for dull, nondescript machines rather than those with any hint of fun or fashion. But they can no longer afford to do that.

    The computer your employees carry increasingly factors into others’ impression of them – and of the organization. As well, study after study shows the latest devices play a big role in attracting and keeping employees.

    Read my full Fortune Insiders column HERE.