A Pebble story, or why these guys are so successful

A Pebble story, or why these guys are so successful

As you probably remember, not so long time ago I wrote about Pebble – why I believe it is the best smartwatch on the market, and why its simplicity and intuitivity, as well as lack of over-complicated gizmos, are what users really need.

So now I’d like to reiterate my belief and to thank Pebble team for their amazing product and the service they provide.

It looks like that pebbloids (or how the Pebble guys call themselves) keep a close eye on the market and search for the ways to deliver better product and improve services for their customers. I know it for sure, because they somehow found my post where I briefly mentioned the troubles with my Pebble, found and connected with me, and exchanged my old watch for a new one.

Just… Wow!

The entire process took a couple of days to communicate and work out the details, and a few days later I got a parcel with my new Pebble Classic. And you know, I liked the simplicity of the product replacement service – all I had to do was to take a photo of the Pebble watch back side with a handwritten number I received from their support. That’s it! The picture was sent to their Support team, and the next day I found a confirmation of the new watch shipping.

As you know, the crisis affected almost all the markets, including the hi-tech industry, and made companies pay close attention to the quality of services provided. Until quite recently, Zappos were traditionally on the top in terms of the service quality, and now the newcomers overtake it and grab the leading positions. Based on what I saw Pebble is one of such new leaders. This is really great – the more competition and the better services for us customers, the happier we are! 😉

I was lucky to meet Eric Migicovsky at CES 2016, and used the opportunity to express my personal gratitude to him for that amazing devices he made.

Hope that Pebble will avoid the transformation when a cool young and energetic startup turns into a small dinosaur with all the problems common for big corporations. I believe in the guys and think they will continue developing cool products and deliver their amazing services for us. We’re looking forward folks to see your new offerings!

MIT Team Builds An Energy-Friendly Chip to Perform Powerful AI Tasks

MIT Team Builds An Energy-Friendly Chip to Perform Powerful AI Tasks

The team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has built an energy-friendly chip that performs powerful artificial intelligence (AI) tasks, which is specially designed to implement neural networks.

According to MIT researchers this chip is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), that is, it could enable mobile devices to run powerful AI algorithms locally, rather than uploading data to the Internet for processing.

Vivienne Sze, the Emanuel E. Landsman Career Development Assistant Professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science whose group developed the new chip, says that currently most of the networks are pretty complicated due to their high-power GPUs.

Sze states the reason why it’s better for devices to operate locally rather than via the Internet: your cell phone still powerfully operates even if you don’t have a WI-Fi connection nearby required to process large amount of information. You have much better privacy of your information, and another reason is the avoidance of any transmission latency, so that you can react much faster to certain applications.

MIT researches have presented the new chip at the “International Solid State Circuits Conference” in San Francisco.

The new chip is called “Eyeriss,” and according to MIT – “its key to efficiency is to minimize the frequency with which cores need to exchange data with distant memory banks, an operation that consumes a good deal of time and energy.”

Moreover, many of the cores in a GPU share a single, large memory bank while each of the Eyeris’s cores has its own memory. Thus, the chip is capable of compressing data before sending it to individual cores.

The Eyeriss chip has 168 cores, which could communicate directly with each other, so that if they need to share data between each other, they don’t have to route it through main memory.

“This is essential in a convolutional neural network, in which so many nodes are processing the same data.”

Neural nets, also known under the name “deep learning,” were widely studied in the early days of AI, however, by the 1970s, the researchers had thrown this field out of favour.

Sze says the deep learning is useful for many applications, such as speech and object recognition, and face detection.

Dealing With Information Overload – the MYLE Way

Dealing With Information Overload – the MYLE Way

Busyness – crazy busyness – due to information overload is the definite challenge of the modern age.

But once you think about it, don’t you have that funny sense that we have a bit too much of this good thing?  Public polling results seem to support this suspicion.

An absolute majority of workers and everyday people of the developed world complain about Information overload, stating amount of data they have to deal with on a daily basis has gone so much up that it is becoming or has already become unbearable and plain stressful. Just to give you an example – 91% of US workers say they sometimes delete or discard work information without fully reading it. While 65.2% of their UK counterparts stated that their work was negatively affected by the amount of data they had to process.

The IT industry seems to recognize the challenge, flooding the market with all sorts of activity trackers, organizers, schedulers and other endless apps.  In doing so though, they create a problem of its own.

Now there are too many applications that you have to spend your time and attention, learning and working with them. Again, the proof is in the numbers: 72% of US workers admit that they would be more productive if they didn’t have to switch back and forth between apps to get their work done.

Science has its own proof too. A Temple University study found that as you give people more and more data, they reach “cognitive and information overload.” Activity falls off in the part of the brain responsible for decision making and control of emotions and the quality of their decisions suffer, with the number of errors going up drastically.

So MYLE to the rescue by addressing at the mighty 2/3 of the problem – data input and processing. Forget those tiny buttons on your smartphone. Or filling of endless forms and timesheets at work.

With MYLE everything can be done with the most natural way of data input – by using your voice and simply talking to your device. Thanks to its infinitely customizable, self-learning and very smart analytical platform that powers MYLE, all you have to do is tap the device and start speaking.

All the downstream work of processing the data and assigning it to appropriate destinations – be it fillable forms, schedulers, activity or expense trackers or pretty much any mobile application or a industrial software you can think of  – happens automatically.

Additionally, all your voice notes are saved in your MYLE account not just as text, but as an audio file too. And even if you have some peculiar pronunciation,  MYLE is capable of learning them and adjusting the input accordingly.

Once MYLE becomes an integral part of your daily life, you will suddenly discover that you are not drowning in the data anymore – and still have some extra spare time on your hands!

Reining in the Information Deluge

Inforgraphic design by Visually.

Design vector designed by Freepik

Japanese Scientists Invented Artificial Tongue to Enable Speech for Oral Cancer Victims

Dentistry researchers led by professor Shogo Minagi from Okayama University in Japan, have invented the world’s first artificial tongue prosthesis.

Professor Minagi and his team have developed a prosthesis that’s made of resin and connected to a person’s back teeth by a wire. The research team has used materials that are already widely used so that any dental technician can make this type of prosthesis without any difficulties.

Minagi claims that patients can control the artificial tongue by pushing it with the remaining base of their tongue, thus, allowing patients move the tongue up and down to touch the palate (part of the oral cavity required to speak).

This breakthrough is crucial for people whose tongues have partially been removed due to oral cancer or car accidents and other injuries that affected their ability to speak.

Minagi’s work was inspired by Kenichi Kozaki, a dentistry professor and an expert on dental pharmacology at the Okayama University after he’s being diagnosed with tongue cancer. As a result of this cancer, most of his tongue, jaw bones and pharynx were removed, and he lost the ability to speak.

“We could create a really good prosthesis quickly thanks to Kozaki, who is a dentist himself. He tried many different versions of the prosthesis and offered us detailed feedback,” said Minagi, who also hopes that this invention will be widely used in oral cancer treatment.

In September, Okayama University established an outpatient clinic called Yume no Kaiwa Purojekuto Gairai (Outpatient Clinic to Achieve the Dream of Speaking Project).

According to Minagi, at least, four people are currently having artificial tongues made through the clinic.

Oral cancer is a cancer that develops in the tissues of the mouth or throat. There are several types of oral cancers, but around 90 per cent are the squamous cell carcinomas, which are found in mouth, tongue and lips.

It’s only discovered when the cancer has metastasized to another location, in most cases the lymph nodes of the neck. This cancer is particularly dangerous because it may not be noticed by the patient in its early stages, as it can progress without producing any symptoms or pain.

Approximately more than 54,000 people have been diagnosed with the oral cancer in 2015, and it causes 13,500 deaths per year in the U.S. alone. Herewith, the worldwide cases of oral cancers are much greater, with over 450,000 new cases recorded each year. Yet the statistics are not accurate due to the poor healthcare system in the least developed countries.

Roughly $3.2 billion is spent in the U.S. each year on the treatment of head and neck cancers.

New Research Finds: 40% of U.S. Smartphone Users Use Speech Recognition Software

New Research Finds: 40% of U.S. Smartphone Users Use Speech Recognition Software

Every day we start seeing more technologies powered by speech recognition software. We could oversee such innovation in the cars, smartphones, smartwatches, smart houses and other assistive technologies that are designed to ease our lives.

According to the new research study conducted by Parks Associates, 39% of smartphone owners use some speech recognition software such as Google Now or Siri. Also, 360 View: Mobility and the App Economy report states that more than one-half of iPhone owners use voice recognition feature while less than one-third of Android owners use such feature.

“Smartphone penetration has reached 86% of U.S. broadband households, so it is a mature market, with users, particularly younger consumers and iOS users, exploring more intelligent features and interfaces, including voice control,” said Harry Wang, Director, Health & Mobile Product Research, Parks Associates. “The growing consumer interest in voice control features is driving this technology into new IoT areas. At CES 2016, Vivint demonstrated voice control for home security via Amazon Echo, and Volvo showed voice control for connected cars via Cortana on Microsoft’s Health Band.”

Another key insight from the research is a significant increase by 12 per cent in the use of the voice recognition software among iPhone users from 40 per cent to 52 per cent between 2013 and 2015.

Additional report data shows:

  • More than 70% of smartphone users watch short streaming video clips, and more than 40% watch long streaming videos.
  • 36% of smartphone users use Wi-Fi calling.
  • 26% of smartphone users use a payment app for purchases at a retail location.
  • 24% of smartphone users stream video from the phone to a second screen (e.g., TV, PC).

If you’d like to find more information about 360 View: Mobility and the App Economy report, you can check it online at www.parksassociates.com. If you have any additional questions about data, or you’d like to schedule an interview with an analyst, contact Holly Sprague at [email protected]

The Secret To Good Time Management

The Secret To Good Time Management

“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness, how the time has flown. How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss.

The passage of time goes unnoticed most of the, well, time. Yet once we realize its transient nature, there is no hiding from this bitter realization – time flies by and does it too quickly for comfort. Because for us, humans, time is the only absolutely unredeemable asset. Yet it keeps pouring through our hands like water leaving us with the thought of how much time was lost – on what, exactly?!

The modern life presents us with hundreds if not thousands of opportunities to lose time. Each task or a thought bites its little chunk off our time. So if you want to do more in less time – effective time management will be the key.

Modern technologies did wonders to help us with that, tracking amount of time we spend on each particular task, making our hectic and busy living more organized, orderly and thus simpler and easier for us.

However, even though the purpose of all these numerous applications and gadgets is to save us time, they make us spending more – just accessing and using them. Just try to note how long it takes to use an app or a gadget. With a phone app it goes like this: reach for the phone, unlock, start the app, do your thing by typing a command or a note, close the app, switch off the phone and put it back where it was. Sounds pretty fast and nothing to worry about, doesn’t it? Now multiply it by the number of times you repeat the procedure during the day, it starts to look rather worrisome.

Yet once you do it with MYLE, using our most natural way of data input – our voice – the whole routine is cut to 5 seconds. Tap, say the note and get back to what you were doing, allowing MYLE to complete all tasks in the background – automatically. Additional boon is that all can be done with a minimal distraction from your main activity, be it work or play.

“Time,’ spent two hours on emails, 30 minutes talking with the boss, 10 minutes on coffee break”.

“Schedule, meeting with Jim, this Friday 10 am, remind 10 minutes prior”.

“Shop list. Buy milk today on way home”.

MYLE will automatically save your note as an audio file, convert it into text file and push it to an appropriate app based on the key words that you teach MYLE to know. The built-in activity-tracking feature will analyze your active time and how you spend it using its powerful algorithms to make the personalized suggestions based on your past records.

It will learn your behavior and adjust the predictive analytics to tell you what you could do to maximize your productivity and efficiency. And it will not bite any time off your busy day to achieve all that.

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