Jawbone finally T-bones, founder starts Jawbone Health Hub (updated)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/The-End-Pic-typewriter.jpg” thumb_width=”200″ /]Confirming the decline of the fitness tracker/wearables business, Jawbone is finally over and done. Their liquidation this week was initially reported by The Information (subscription only) and that co-founder/CEO Hosain Rahman has started a new company, Jawbone Health Hub. JHH will work on medical software and hardware, as well as eventually servicing the buggy existing Jawbone products† which were sold off to a third party last September. JHH is also reportedly hiring many former Jawbone staff and on job boards such as Glassdoor. 

Jawbone’s demise comes after a troubled 18 months, starting with a $165 million private equity raise in January 2016 led by the Kuwait Investment Authority, rumors of financial problems, repositioning into clinical medical monitoring, and abandoning what was left of consumer market support. There is also the continuing saga of court actions with Fitbit over trade secrets, employee poachings, and IP–all additional reasons for the founder to walk away. The only value left in Jawbone is that IP which includes BodyMedia patents and anything left that wasn’t voided by a court. Fitbit shares are also sinking, currently trading at a near 52-week low of just above $5.

‘Death by overfunding’? Updated During its lifetime from wireless audio speaker innovator Aliphcom to wearables leader with the Jawbone UP, Jawbone raised $938 million (Crunchbase), and at one point was valued at $3 billion. An interesting take from a Reuters article was that one consensus among Silicon Valley tech funders was that the company would have been far easier to acquire had it raised less money. Jawbone ranks only behind solar tech Solyndra among largest failures among venture-backed companies. (The difference, of course, was that Jawbone didn’t take $500 million of public stimulus money, as Solyndra did before it failed.)

The words ‘Chapter 7’ have not been included in reports but Sherwood Partners, a busy Mountain View CA financial restructuring company that has wound down plenty of startups through unicorns, was reported to be in charge of the liquidation process plus any remaining legal actions with Fitbit. None of the usual sources have been able to obtain statements from Mr. Rahman and ‘the information’ remains limited. The Verge, TechCrunch, Business Insider 

†Editor Charles’ struggles with seven personal Jawbone UPs were often typical of the user experience.

Fitness trackers, mobile apps shown to leak sensitive data

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/band1.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]An unnerving 35-page report published by Canadian nonprofit OpenEffect, assisted by the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, claims that leading fitness trackers and their corresponding mobile apps are veritable sieves of personal data, inviting security breaches. Where Hackermania Runs Wild starts with lack of Bluetooth LE privacy, allowing tracking via Bluetooth even when the tracker isn’t paired to a smartphone. Then many of the companion apps leaked login credentials, transmitted activity tracking information in a way that allowed interception or tampering, or allowed users (or others) to insert false activity tracking information. The trackers studied were the Basis Peak, Fitbit Charge HR, Garmin Vivosmart, Jawbone Up 2, Mio Fuse, Withings Pulse O2 and Xiaomi Mi Band. Notably the Apple Watch 2.0 was secure.  The full report is titled dramatically “Every Step you Fake: A Comparative Analysis of Fitness Tracker Privacy and Security”. Security article, study in PDF, TheStar.com. Hat tip once again to Toni Bunting, former Northern Ireland Contributing Editor. 

Guilt and money: the manipulative side of fitness tracking

Show me the money! The bottom line of fitness apps can now be cash rewards, much like many credit cards. There’s FitCoins that exchange into bitcoins, the digital currency much in the news and recognized by some legitimate (and non legitimate) retailers; Pact which makes you invest in your goals with a pool of others, rewarding you if you make them, deducting from your account if you do not; GOODcoins which rewards you only with ‘positive things’ (no chocolate or anything that contributes to, say, global warming). But after all, you should only bask in the glow of doing GoodThings for yourself, eh? Getting paid to stay fit (Ozy)

But then there’s always guilt. Fitness tracking is on the way of becoming so omnipresent that it becomes a part of you. Beyond the wrist, fitness clothes, implants and digital tattoos or bandages will be tattling (via your smartphone or directly) on your vital signs, activity and weight gain from too much to eat at dinner. On one hand this can be a good thing in shaping behavior. A study by two researchers associated with University College London and Ashfield Business School, Berkhamsted found many positives in Fitbits shaping female wearers’ behaviors, with 76 percent self-reporting healthier eating habits (more…)

Fitness/wellness trackers have amazing potential–to annoy

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/keep_calm_and_smash_watch.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Your Editors have previously noted some interesting personal experiences with fitness bands/trackers. Editor Charles, at last report, was on his third Jawbone Up in a year; this Editor has remained immune to their mostly clonky charms (tempted by the classic Swiss watch looks of Withings Activité [TTA 26 June 14], put off by the $450 price, but now notes that the sporty, analog Activité Pop is available in the US at $150.) Even if not among the Quantified Self avant-garde, we who write about tech can deal with most of it without blinking too much. Over at FierceMobileHealthcare, Judy Mottl, a regular writer for their FierceHealthIT website, took “the plunge into the wearable device pool” and hit her head on the bottom. Her experience of mostly frustration with the app, bad data generation, inability to sync with the smartphone, saying you’re awake/sleeping when not and so on indicates that this is one wearable she should have returned to the store–or treated according to our picture. Is this one isolated example or a more common experience than the healtherati who adore wearables let on?

There’s some evidence that the leaders in fitness bands realize their shortcomings on the app side. Fitbit acquired fitness coaching app developer, FitStar, for at least $17.8 million. Mobihealthnews

Update 2 April: Editor Charles reports on his third Jawbone Up, and his daughters’ experience:

I took to wearing the third Jawbone UP the other way round – i.e. with the two ends in line with the back of my hand, and the thicker bit in line with the inside of my hand and that seems to have done the trick. However my older daughter (more…)

Tunstall adopts new Tactio in patient management

Tunstall Healthcare is partnering with Canadian mHealth developer Tactio Health Group in what is a distinct first for them: creating a mobile care management system that is 1) smartphone-based for the patient and 2) prominently integrates non-Tunstall apps and devices. The patient uses the smartphone and the Tactio-developed mTrax app to collect a wide spectrum of data–everything from activity, sleep, pregnancy, body fat and mood tracking to the traditional constellation of vital signs. This uploads to the care provider’s tablet mPro Clinical App which overviews, details and reports the data for each patient and patient groups in care. The data comes from well-known mHealth apps outside the Tunstall world: BodyMedia, Fitbit, Fitbug, Garmin, Jawbone UP, Medisana and Wahoo Fitness, as well as connected (presumably Bluetooth) medical devices from A&D Medical, Mio, iHealth, Telcare, Withings and Nonin. Tunstall has also added two-way patient coaching and  health journal features.

Tunstall’s positioning for what they call Active Health Management or AHM is “supported self-management” and “shift(ing) from reactive care to cost-effective active care.” (more…)

Fashion Week’s fickle fitness favorites

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Misfit-shine-wearable.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Last September during NYC Fashion Week, the must-have fashionista accessory for the wrist was a Jawbone, in hard-to-get colors like aqua [TTA 17 Nov 13]. This year, Misfit Shine hit the runways with a vengeance (so to speak) with some…er, interesting…wearables with hard-core appeal. Courtesy of Chromat, it was incorporated into this interestingly air-conditioned evening look. We doubt we’ll see it at Connected Health Symposium in Boston at the end of October…but maybe at CES Unveiled on 11 November in New York.

But Jawbone is the one that’s scoring big funding–they’ve ‘jawboned’ another $100 million, the same amount they received in financing last year at this time. It’s a chunk of the $250 million they were raising earlier this year. According to Re/Code, new investors include Rizvi Traverse Management. The round puts the company valuation north of $3.3 billion. Like Misfit, it is also opening up its UP software API to be used by developers on other smartphones, watches and wearables.

Smartwatches, fitness trackers: overload in several ways

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/acitivity-trackers_wellocracy_chealth-blog-kvedar.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Dedicated Quantified Selfers, who have more than one device strapped to their arm and wrist, know that when like measurements are compared from two different devices (e.g. step counts, weight, activity, blood pressure), like stock or mutual funds, their performance will vary. Sleep trackers are among the worst offenders. But newbies just ‘into’ this may be confused. Not to worry! The prescription from Dr Kvedar is: “Expecting these consumer devices to have scientific accuracy is unrealistic. Expecting them to help you keep your activity level top of mind and measured in context from day to day is realistic and in most cases helpful.” They set a tone and help motivation, with other tools such as social groups and coaching. Reassuring words, especially as Dr Kvedar has launched Wellocracy to help individuals to understand that.

There’s of course pressure from clinicians to upgrade fitness monitor readings to clinical quality so they can use it…but absolutely no clarity on exactly how they would use it, a seemingly contradictory statement which centers on the quality of analysis and what alerts would be pushed to the clinician, who memorably has his or her ‘hair on fire trying to do what they do right now.’   (more…)

2013 fitness tracker sales…and a personal experience

As someone who has been wearing a Jawbone UP for some five months, I was interested to read that Mobihealthnews reports on a (pay-walled) survey that shows Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike as sharing 97% of the activity tracker market in 2013 present, the split being 68%, 19% & 10%, respectively (the rest 3%).

At the same time that news agency, along with others, reports on the rash apparently created by the recently-introduced Fitbit Force on some people. Closer to home, I have had cause to scrutinise (more…)

The Quantified Selfer’s Christmas form letter

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]  APPROVED by The Gimlet Eye, on assignment directing Air Traffic Control for Mr. Claus.

Dear ______,

I can see from my ______ wrist device that it’s once again time for my annual Christmas letter to update you on a number of personal facts about the past year! Lucky for you, I’ve been able to view my daily data on a variety of self-tracking devices using interactive graphs to spot trends and patterns so far.  The year raced off to a great start because I got a new ______ from Santa last Christmas. (Continued…)

Our final pre-Christmas post is from the ‘♥ Sister’ herself, Carolyn Thomas, who has written this most witty communication that you may well receive from your favorite (?) Quantified Selfer. If not, reading this you will be forearmed at holiday tables and gatherings. You will view your QS nephew or friend in a new, more tolerant light. Wearing their Google Glass, tracking the cookies and egg nog on their Fitbit or Jawbone UP, passing around the Misfit Shine, obsessing on what workout will most efficiently balance the caloric intake…. To the rescue? Spot the Dog. Fitbit, Jawbone and Shine make great chew toys, and Glass…will Spot get to it before the video hits the cloud?

We wish all of our readers a marvelous Christmas Holiday, Festive Season and Happy New Year! (and thank Carolyn for the reference!–Ed. Donna)

Fashion? Can wearables simply…work?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Apple’s hiring of Burberry’s CEO Angela Ahrendts as Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores to start in spring 2014 may well be indicative of the importance that Apple is putting on 1) smartwatches (she was honcho of a Burberry watch intro) and 2) wearables (she refreshed and upscaled an iconic brand from stores to merchandise). Chris Matyszczyk in Cnet points out that she is the second hire from the fashion industry (the other’s from YSL). On one hand this seems to reinforce that Apple’s strong suit is design; on the other hand it implies that their retail and online stores need to evolve after some recent missteps–and that they may not feel as confident as in the past of their internal capabilities. However this all seems too haute for the simple everyday buyer who wants stuff that helps you live your life better and more conveniently, and who may find it much easier to go to Verizon or Vodaphone for their mobile needs and that Jawbone UP band to wear. And where are the other wearables, say in a Burberry scarf? The Gimlet Eye is blinking in impatience, and it had better be elegant, or Gloria and Babe’s ghosts will be haunting Cupertino. [TTA 25 Oct]  Apple and the emperor’s new wearable tech (Cnet) Hat tip to TANN Ireland Editor Toni BuntingNew Apple Retail Chief Hired Over SummerApple to Hire Burberry CEO (MacRumors).

Quantified selfing: elitist and privacy invading

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]The last place you’d expect to see a populist view of Quantified Selfing, outside of the retrograde publications perused by The Gimlet Eye, is Wired. All these Fitbits, Jawbone UPs, Misfit Shines, baby monitors and of course Google Glass cost, cost, cost–upfront and especially for the ongoing subscription services. Even wearables, at this point, are nowhere near cheap and cheerful nor will be for some time. Is QS a luxury of the residents of Elysium? Wired’s Quantified Man, Chris Dancy, toting up his five-sensor/system cost, pays $400-$1,000 per month. The Eye tears up at the effect on the exchequer. But the most painful point for the article’s writer is less elitism than privacy: all the data churned out, existing somewhere to be mined, and all those ad messages waiting to be served up on Glass. PPG–pay per gaze–indeed. Your ‘Quantified-Self’: Are Wearable Technologies Just a Luxury for the Upper-Class? 

Signs of a home monitoring bubble?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Ambio-health.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]Suddenly home-based remote monitoring is very warm, if not hot. The news of investments at all levels–from Medtronic’s purchase of Cardiocom [TTA 12 Aug] to a $525,000 third angel round investment in AmbioHealth (which this Editor doubts would have been on MedCityNews’ radar a year ago)–sounds like home telehealth is finally, finally gaining traction with investors, which have been more attracted to hospital-based and fitness monitoring. But is it the right type of traction based on reasonable expectations? We were among the first to point out in 2010 in positing the FBQs* that where the data goes, how it’s being used and who’s taking action on it was critical. Now Robert Pearl MD in Forbes is also examining the new song of home RPM and finding a few off notes (or to mix metaphors, finding a pan of fool’s gold):

That’s because some promoters of home monitoring technology believe doctors will carefully scrutinize each EKG or blood sugar reading and use the information to tailor perfect regimens for their patients. This is not how medicine works.

and

Looking at thousands of EKG tracings won’t add much value either. In fact, putting all that information into an electronic medical record (EMR) only makes it more difficult for doctors to identify other, more vital pieces of information. Instead, doctors need to understand which of a few possible patterns are happening to determine the appropriate course of action.

Dr. Pearl’s prescription is for smartphones to embed telehealth monitoring capabilities at a price point slightly above the current cost, but less expensive than stand-alone devices (more…)

Fast funding and sale roundup for Thursday/Friday

A quick summary of news on both recent funding, another recently released funding analysis to add to the pile and sales–one completed, one potential:

  • The StartUp Health accelerator is now producing its independent analysis of health tech funding deals, presumably to catch the fire of RockHealth’s recognized quarterly report [TTA 9 July]. The July 2013 Digital Health Insights Funding Report is available in Slideshare format on their website with the most reported news being the 47 percent year-over-year growth to date, contrasting to RockHealth’s 12 percent, though the difference in all three may be the sampling. Practice management, big data and body computing/sensors lead the trends, according to their summary.
  • What is intriguing in the July deals is the whopping $40 million Series A funding of Oscar, which will integrate telemedicine (presumably consults) and free generic medications to its members in New York State, where they’ve stated they will be integrated into the Health Exchange in NY State. One wonders how they plan to do so on insurance exchanges which haven’t even started yet and which will be having their own challenges being a retail platform for health plans. Not unexpectedly you’ll find Khosla Ventures and Thrive Capital on the roster. MedSynergies led with a $65 million Series A for their software which will facilitate hospital networks performance monitoring of practices and provider referrals/scheduling. Internationally, Withings raised a $30 million Series A in July. MedCityNews also delves deeper into what they see as trends.
  • Fitbit just raised an additional $43 million to add to their previous $23 million. While they are still lagging fitness monitoring rival Jawbone UP by $84 million, rumors abound on what Fitbit plans to do with it: a more fully featured smartwatch? Additional apps to keep their user base engaged?–at the risk of overcomplication?   Fortune, TechCrunch
  • Toronto-based Diversinet closed their sale to New Jersey-based IMS Health for what seems like a small amount: (US)$3.5 million. Its MobiSecure technology provides government-security level mobile app security to customers such as AirStrip and the US Army. However, they were embroiled in early days in a breakup with a mobile provider, AllOne Health, and despite all their high-level tech clearances, the income realized, according to Mobihealthnews, was only in the $1 million range per year and declining and losses increasing. IMS Health is best known for its healthcare informatics, but has been involved with Ford’s in-car SYNC in development of the Allergy Alert app [TTA 7 Aug 12].
  • The ‘For Sale’ sign is also up at BlackBerry, with a corporate committee now officially exploring alliances and a sale, in the usual depressing drill. In a company once ubiquitous enough for smartphone usage to be dubbed ‘Crackberry’, and which still enjoys major worldwide market share and enterprise favor, they cannot get traction with new models. This Editor never used or liked BB, but it’s still kind of sad. ZDNet.