Industry visionary and serial entrepreneur Philippe Kahn, CEO of Fullpower, kicked off Wearable Tech Expo 2013 Los Angeles and began by explaining that the wearable market needs to focus on being seamless - whether we are talking about sleep sensors or devices which monitor your fitness. He said you shouldn't have to wear a contraption when you sleep or are engaged in fitness - otherwise, we aren't measuring what we think we are measuring.
For decades, Philippe has been a major part of technology markets - he ran Borland when the company made crucial compilers for Pascal and C as well as the very popular desktop database Paradox. He invented the camera for the camera-phone. He developed Side Kick, a terminate stay resident program before the PC allowed true multitasking. He has been on the leading-edge and right side of tech and following his path and guidance seems like a smart thing to do based on his successful track record of continuously being right.
He defined the wearable industry with the following terms: monitor, alert, control and share. Interestingly, he explained that the term control means the user is in control, not the government or employer, etc. He said as soon as you use data analysis or big data solutions, you can learn a lot about people. He says you can predict when people will throw their back out by how their gait changes for example.
He said if you can improve your sleep 10 percent and you are sleeping a third of your life - you may be able to increase your life expectancy perhaps 3.3 percent. He contrasts this by saying statistically that curing cancer means increasing life-expectancy 3-5 years.
Another point he emphasized is that accuracy matters.
An important comment he shared was how bad it is to sit all day and how by studying different cultures, it is possible to discern this data. The implication is that big data analytics will help uncover other health-related issues when coupled with wearable tech.
If you don't measure correctly you can do more harm than good he explained - and this idea came to him when his father had to wear what he called an Elephant Man sleep apnea machine. He then said new devices need to be miniature and have great battery life, be useful, repeatable and reliable.
One comment the audience heard which might be surprising to some is that Bluetooth headsets are something you wear at the airport but not when you get home. The implication was technology has to look natural to be adopted. "Wearable technology has to be accessible but not get in the way," he exclaimed.
He then asked the audience about their health - the results were everyone in the room said they needed more sleep and wanted to decrease body-fat. He said we could extend lifespans a greater amount if everyone did a few simple exercises each day than if we cured cancer.
He continued, we need the will to will, not more willpower. We must make solutions that get people to get the "will to will" he explained. He went on to say there are infinite possibilities in the wearable market from tools to keep you from falling asleep at the wheel to blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring. In the end, Kahn shared that our imagination is the limit. From a person who has been so instrumental in advancing virtually every segment of technology for many decades, his optimism is encouraging for the entire wearable tech market.
Edited by Blaise McNamee