Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Return of the Wearables, in a New Avatar by @msharmas


IDC: Smartwatches accelerate in the second quarter, Device shipments grew 10.3% year over year to hit 26.3 million units during the second quarter of 2017; smartwatches grew 60.9%.

We are seeing the transformation of the wearables market with the total shipment volumes expected to maintain their forward momentum. According to the International Data Corporation's (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, vendors will ship a total of 125.5 million wearable devices this year, marking a 20.4% increase from the 104.3 million units shipped in 2016From there, the wearables market will nearly double before reaching a total of 240.1 million units shipped in 2021, resulting in a five-year CAGR of 18.2%. [1]

The wearables market is entering a new phase


In the first phase of the market development, it was about getting the product out, to generate awareness and interest and getting the customers accustomed to the idea. This opportunity remains to be explored by the traditional and fashion brands as the scale of consumer electronics market evolves. Now, the wearables market is entering a new phase, opines IDC's Ramon T. Llamas.

Now it’s about getting the experience right – from the way the hardware looks and feels to how software collects, analyzes, and presents insightful data. What this means for users is that in the years ahead, they will be treated to second- and third-generation devices that will make the today’s devices seem quaint. Expect digital assistants, cellular connectivity, and connections to larger systems, both at home and at work. At the same time, expect to see a proliferation in the diversity of devices brought to market, and a decline in prices that will make these more affordable to a larger crowd.” [1] 

The phase 2 of the wearables development appears to be about taking the user data and provide analytics around the data to provide insights to the user, like step counts translate into a healthier heart. In this phase its about getting the customer to see the devices that actually augment the abilities to make lives easier, healthier and more productive, rather than another screen for the user. [3]

    Top Wearable Products [1]


    Watches: account for the majority of all wearable devices shipped during the forecast period. The report however shows that the basic watches (devices that do not run third party applications, including hybrid watches, fitness/GPS watches, and most kid watches) will continue out-ship smart watches (devices capable of running third party applications, like Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, and all Android Wear devices), as numerous traditional watch makers shift more resources to building hybrid watches, creating a greater TAM each year. The report suggests that the Smart watches, however, will see a boost in volumes in 2019 as cellular connectivity on the watches becomes more prevalent on the market.

    Wrist Bands: The report indicates a slow down in the market for the wristbands from 2016 onwards, but the market will be propped up with low-cost devices with good enough features for the mass market. However, the trend seems to focus on the users transitioning to watches for additional utility and multi-purpose use.

    Earwear: (this excludes the bluetooth headsets) are not counting. Instead, the report focusses on those devices that bring additional functionality, and sends information back and forth to a smartphone application. Examples include Bragi’s Dash and Samsung Gear Icon X. The report, also suggests the increase in the uptake of smarter earwear that centers on collecting fitness data about the user, real-time audio filtering or language translation.

    Clothing:  The smart clothing market took a strong step forward driven by the chines vendors providing connected apparel. The growth in this segment is seen to be driven by the adoption of the connected clothing by the professional athletes and organizations have warmed to their usage to improve player performance. For instance, the upcoming release of Google and Levi’s Project Jacquared-enabled jacket.

    Others: include lesser known products like clip-on devices, non-AR/VR eyewear, and others into this category. It will include vendors catering to niche audiences with creative new devices and uses.


    Top Wearable Devices by Product, Volume, Market Share, and CAGR [1]
    ProductShipment Volume 2017Market Share 2017Shipment Volume 2021*Market Share 2021*CAGR (2017-2021)*
    Watches71.456.9%161.067.0%26.5%
    Wristbands47.637.9%52.221.7%1.2%
    Clothing3.32.6%21.69.0%76.1%
    Earwear1.61.3%4.01.7%39.7%
    Others1.61.3%1.40.6%-16.0%
    Total125.5100.0%240.1100.0%18.2%
    Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearables Device Tracker, June 21, 2017

    Global wearables market to grow 17% in 2017, 310M devices sold, $30.5BN revenue: Gartner | TechCrunch http://ow.ly/YFVu30eWQHL
    Like any technology market, the wearables market is changing [2]
    "Like any technology market, the wearables market is changing," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team. "Basic wearables started out as single-purpose devices tracking footsteps and are morphing into multi-purpose wearable devices, fusing together multiple health and fitness capabilities and smartphone notifications. It's enough to blur the lines against most smart wearables, to the point where first generation smartwatches are no better than most fitness trackers, he says.

    Beyond the top 5 vendors of the wearables market, new entrants like fashion icons Fossil along with their sub-brands and emerging companies like BBK and Li-Ning, are tapping into niche segments of the wearables market. Fossil, is coming up with a luxury/fashion device, BBK focuses on child-monitoring devices and Li-Ning on step-counting shoes.

    "With the entrance of multiple new vendors with strengths in different industries, the wearables market is expected to maintain a positive outlook, though much of this growth is coming from vendor push rather than consumer demand," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "As the technology disappears into the background, hybrid watches and other fashion accessories with fitness tracking are starting to gain traction. This presents an opportunity to sell multiple wearables to a single consumer under the guise of 'fashion.' But more importantly, it helps build an ecosystem and helps vendors provide consumers with actionable insights thanks to the large amounts of data collected behind the scenes."


    Top Five Wearable Device Vendors, Shipments, Market Share and Year-Over-Year Growth, 4Q 2016 (Units in Millions) [2]
    Vendor4Q16 Unit Shipments4Q16 Market Share4Q15 Unit Shipments4Q15 Market ShareYear-Over-Year Growth
    1. Fitbit*6.519.2%8.429.0%-22.7%
    2. Xiaomi5.215.2%2.69.1%96.2%
    3. Apple4.613.6%4.114.1%13.0%
    4. Garmin2.16.2%2.27.6%-4.0%
    5. Samsung1.95.6%1.44.7%37.9%
    Others13.640.1%10.335.5%32.1%
    Total33.9100.0%29.0100.0%16.9%
    Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, March 2, 2017

    Implications of Wearables in Healthcare


    Llamas, IDC. "Health and fitness remains a major focus, but once these devices become connected to a cellular network, expect unique applications and communications capabilities to become available. This will also solve another key issue: freeing the device from the smartphone, creating a standalone experience."

    Its important to note here the scalability of wearables in a clinical setting requires Intention, Education and collaboration[7]. Some of the usecases highlighted for wearables in healthcare: 

    1. Managing Chronic Conditions of patients who might develop a secondary or tertiary complication because of a pre-existing condition (diabetic undergoing hip replacement surgery)
    2. Tracking vital signs
    3. Manage patients recovery at home (defensive medicine) instead of the recovery in a general ward, with help of remote monitoring
    4. Detecting Alzheimer's, most common form of dementia
    5. Monitoring patients with chronic diseases and after hospitalization or the start of new medications for a decline in daily activity may help detect medical complications before rehospitalization becomes necessary
    6. Clinical Trials: Monitoring of recruits
    7. Smart Stethoscope for patients with cardiovascular disease
    8. Ear device to track body temperature fluctuations
    9. Temporary tattoo that senses vital signs
    10. Smart Glasses with AR enabled patient records and physician information system


    Finally, here is an interesting Infographic on Wearable Technology. 


    References
    1. Worldwide Wearables Market to Nearly Double by 2021, According to IDC: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS42818517
    2. Wearables Aren't Dead, They're Just Shifting Focus as the Market Grows 16.9% in the Fourth Quarter, According to IDC 
    3. Xiaomi and Apple Tie for the Top Position as the Wearables Market Swells 17.9% During the First Quarter, According to IDC: 
    4. EXCLUSIVE: Fitbit Working On Atrial Fibrillation Detection | Time.com http://time.com/4907284/fitbit-detect-atrial-fibrillation/
    5. The 8 Best Fitness Trackers You Can Buy Right Now: http://time.com/4553111/best-fitness-trackers-fitbit-jawbone-2016/
    6. Can Your Fitness Tracker (Fitbit®) Save Your Life in the ER?: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/can-your-fitness-tracker-fitbit-save-your-life-in-the-er-300246408.html
    7. Advocating for clinical wearables, the new normal in healthcare http://medcitynews.com/2017/08/advocating-clinical-wearables-new-normal-healthcare/?rf=1
    8. Global wearables market to grow 17% in 2017, 310M devices sold, $30.5BN revenue: Gartner: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/24/global-wearables-market-to-grow-17-in-2017-310m-devices-sold-30-5bn-revenue-gartner/?ncid=rss
    Author
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    Manish Sharma
    Founder HCITExpert.com, Digital Health Entrepreneur

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    Monday, 18 September 2017

    #AI in Healthcare by @deveshrajadhyax



    There are some subjects that invoke sharp and contrasting emotions in the society. In present day India, the GST tops the list of such things that are considered boon by some and curse by others. New technology usually does this to people. The steam engine, the telephone and the computer all have been greeted both as the savior and the nemesis of the mankind. 

    Using Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare is one such subject. If you have to believe what the media says, AI is going to transform healthcare in the near future. In fact, the services of the doctor may not be needed very often, if at all. AI will do everything in medicine including diagnosis, treatment and even finding out new drugs.

    But not everyone is so optimistic or even welcoming. The idea of machines taking care of our health is creepy to some. Others claim that AI can never replace a doctor, at least not in a foreseeable future. Medicine is too complex for machines to figure out.

    (You must have noted that I am using Healthcare and Medicine interchangeably. The reason being that this is what most people do. Healthcare is the practice of medicine and as such is wider than it. I refer to healthcare as including medicine.)

    The reality, like in the case of GST and most other things, will be somewhere in the middle. The purpose of this article is to find that balanced view. In effect, what I will be saying is:

    “while the replacement of the doctor is a faraway dream, there are a number of things that AI can do in medicine even today. This can turn out to be valuable help for doctors, patients and other stakeholders”.

    Let me first present a short introduction to AI.

    AI, like Philosophy, is a very hard term to define. AI is not really one technology. It is a collection of techniques. Strictly speaking, AI is actually an ambition. The ambition of machines to imitate human capabilities.  
       
    But this definition does not take us very far. Since human capabilities are many, ranging from walking to writing poems, imitating any of these capabilities can be called AI. So for our purposes, we will define AI as the pursuit of those capabilities that are strong points of human beings.

    As an example, consider language. Reading an article and understanding its gist is a simple matter for us humans. For machines to achieve this capability will be quite something. If that happens, machines can go through a number of articles for us and feed us with the just the little bits that we need.

    A whole lot of mathematical and computational techniques have been developed by researchers in the last sixty years to achieve this goal. Deep Learning, Machine Learning and NLP are some names given to a bunch of such techniques. In the last few years, AI has risen to prominence mainly due to three reasons – availability of data, increase in computing power and discovery of new methods. 

    Armed with that introduction, let’s try and put down the areas where AI can make a difference in healthcare. While we do that, we can also try to answer the ‘replace the doctor’ question.

    Diagnosis: Diagnosis is the hardest part of medicine. There is no definite pathway to diagnosing a patient. A lot depends on the experience and intuition of the doctor, in that way, it is more of an art than science. As of now, it is difficult to see AI taking over this role. However, there are many areas where AI is already making a difference:

    • Conditions in which diagnosis is dependent on analysis of a signal over time, such as an ecg or an eeg. Machine Learning combined with signal processing can achieve good results here. Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat is an example of such a condition that AI can detect well.
    • Diagnosing some disorders involves referring to a lot of data such as past and present reports, images and history. Gatro-intestinal disorders are notoriously difficult to diagnose and require a lot of information to refer. AI can make a big difference here by sifting through the pile of data and presenting important facts to the doctor.
    • In radiology, the volume of cases is huge and the radiologist needs to look at every image to come to a conclusion. Some investigations like MRI produce a large number of images for each patient. This makes the doctor’s time a bottleneck in handling the ever growing number of patients. Deep Learning has shown great promise in being able to classify medical images. For example, it can separate images that indicate normal functioning from those that have some abnormality. This will enable the radiologist to focus on the abnormal cases first. This method will also be a boon for the remote places where a radiologist is not available.
    • AI has provided a new method for laboratory investigations. This may mean that in the future most lab tests including pathology will be done with basic instruments at a very low cost. In a disease like HIV/AIDS, being able to determine the viral load in a quick and inexpensive way can be a very big benefit to the patients. 

    Treatment: The biggest contribution AI can make to treatment of patient is in the area of drug discovery. Currently, discovering a new drug costs more than 2.5 billion dollars and takes more than a decade. The pharmaceutical industry is desperately searching for new ways to reduce the cost and time. AI may be one of the solutions to this problem. Machine Learning and Deep Learning are being used in various stages of drug discovery, such as identifying candidate molecules and studying the expected response of the new drug.

    In our fight with cancer, AI may be an important weapon. Personalized Oncology is rapidly getting attention from the medical community as the way forward in battling with the cancer scourge. To describe in brief, cancer is not one disease – the cancer of every patient is different. If the individuality of cancer is decoded, a personal treatment path can be planned for every patient. AI will become a key part of this process.

    AI is already playing a role in treatment by making robots that perform surgeries. This contribution will grow in the time to come with the robot costs falling and capabilities growing. This will reduce the strain on surgeons and they will be able to perform far more surgeries in the same time. 

    Care: Care during the illness and recovery is as important as the right diagnosis and treatment. Along with IoT, AI will transform patient care. Everything from medicine intake to prescribed activity will be monitored by these systems. Monitoring includes two components – sensing and analysis. While the sensing part is done by the IoT devices, analysis is provided by AI. 

    Prevention: Prevention is definitely preferred to hospitalization and AI is going to play a major role in this. It will involve both personal and public health. Personal health is monitored by the wearables and other simple devices. The AI systems will process this data to look for possible indications of disorders so that they can be fixed inexpensively. 

    Public health will be monitored in the same way but from data that is coming from various healthcare institutes. This enormous data will forewarn us about various health risks such as outbreaks of diseases. It will enable the state to take measures to avoid the calamities.

    In short:
    To summarize, AI will really be a transformational technology for healthcare. It will make healthcare cheaper and faster and enable it to reach more number of people. AI will reduce the strain on doctors and nurses. However, for the future that we can see, AI will serve more as an assistant to the doctors, rather than being their replacement. 

    Author
    Devesh Rajadhyax
    Founder and CEO, Cere Labs, AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning

    Monday, 11 September 2017

    Four ways in which #AI can help humankind @deveshrajadhyax



    Artificial Intelligence is receiving more than its fair share of public attention. On one side there are promises of miracles, while on the other side there are warnings of doomsday. What is probably missing is a simple listing of clear benefits. This is article is an attempt to create such a list.

    Artificial Intelligence is more of an ambition than a technology. The ambition is to imitate human capabilities. Since human capabilities range from walking to solving mathematical problems, AI also encompasses systems of various types – ranging from the humble calculator to Google’s DeepMind.

    In this article, I am majorly referring to the AI systems that try to achieve the cognitive abilities of human beings. Cognitive abilities refer to the processes of our mind such as understanding, reasoning, planning and selecting the right action. Understanding a question and supplying the right answer from our memory is an example of cognitive ability, the one that AI systems called ‘chatbots’ try to imitate.

    Cognitive systems are currently in their initial phase of development. Once they come close to human beings in their competence, they can prove useful to humankind in a number of ways. Here are some:

    1. Better utilization of resources: In our current world, it requires a human being to use resources. For example, a car needs a driver. Platforms like Uber have made it possible to share your car when you don’t need it, but it still requires a skilled human being. Talk to your Ola or Uber driver and you will realize that they are already working at the limit of their capacity. A cognitive system driving vehicle will use them much more efficiently. You will actually need much fewer vehicles than you need today (and probably a lot lesser parking!). This is true of most other resources.

    2. A fairer society: Human beings have many faults in their thinking. In another article I have highlighted this faults, called biases. These biases have their roots in the evolution, so the AI systems will (hopefully) not have them. ( Pl see http://blog.cerelabs.com/2017/06/will-ai-evolve-to-be-as-bad-as-humans.html). This will make decision making at all level fairer for the people. To take an example, typecasting is a very strong bias that we suffer from. This affects decisions taken by, say an interviewer. We can hope to see much fairer selection processes in the future. For an interesting example of how statistics can help to break biased notions, see the movie or read the book ‘Moneyball’.

    3. Repositioning of human efforts: World over, a large number of people are engaged in time consuming tasks that require moderate cognitive ability. Take for instance cooking. A big part of a woman’s day in India is spent in preparing food. Cognitive systems such as robot chefs can easily take over these jobs, freeing up a lot of time that can be invested in more valuable responsibilities like education of the children. In the industries, as the simpler tasks are done by cognitive systems, humans can move up the value chain, pushing the efficiency of the enterprise higher.

    4. Improved care: Currently, care of patients, elderly and disabled is primarily a human responsibility. Many times, this compromises the quality of care as people cannot take out so much time from their daily activities. Cognitive systems can make the life of those in need of care much better. They can talk to the elderly and carry the disabled to places otherwise difficult to reach. The systems can keep an eye on chronic patients, not just reminding but making sure their regimen is adhered to.

    This is of course just a small contribution to an ever growing list of benefits. While we keep our eyes open to the warnings given by the likes of Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, we should continue in our efforts to harness the power of AI for these benefits.

    Author
    Devesh Rajadhyax
    Founder and CEO, Cere Labs, AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning