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Jawbone is breaking up with consumers to get their PhD

(BUSINESS NEWS) There have been rumors floating that Jawbone has been working on a medical device for some time, and the move away from consumer-based wearable technology should not be much of surprise – here’s what’s going on.

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The band-wagon has left

A couple of years ago, it seemed like every wrist you looked at in the gym had some form of fitness tracker on it. Whether they specialized in climbing rocks or the corporate ladder, it seemed everyone was busy counting their steps and their calories- well, for the first few months of owning the band at least. Over time, of course, the data gathering would begin to lessen before dying out completely, often hand-in-hand with said individuals’ New Year’s resolutions.

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However, it is unquestionable that for some the desire to remain healthy remained, largely in part due to the newfound game-ification of being active. Whether it was counting steps or questionable metrics (Has anyone ever figured out what Nike’s Fuel Points actually are, by the way?), the fitness band did, and continues to inspire individuals to live healthier, more active lives.

For now, anyway.

One foot out the door

But as smartphones continue to increase in their number of functions (most coming out of the box featuring pre-installed health-tracking software, and built-in pedometers), and with the advent of the smart watch, consumers seem to be questioning the necessity of these extra wearable pieces of technology. For hardcore athletes and health nuts, these devices still retain some value- especially as many current models feature heart rate sensors.

Still, the every-person can’t help but be left wondering if it’s worth shelling out the extra $50-100 just to count the extra 130-odd steps they took during the day without their phone.

Jawbone, maker of the “UP” line of fitness bands, and longtime nemesis to wearable tech heavyweight Fitbit, seems to have asked themselves the same question. Recently, they appear to have come up with their answer. Per a TechCrunch report, the San Francisco-based company will be shifting focus and moving into the B2B wearable market, manufacturing medical-grade devices marketed toward entities such as health-care providers and clinicians.

There have been rumors floating that the company has been working on a medical device for some time, and the move away from consumer-based wearable technology should not be much of surprise.

Though they were one of the early players in the wearable technology market, their products have long been plagued by mediocre reviews, often coming to the consensus that their fitness bands offer too little for too steep a price.

Dig deeper and you’ll find a barrage of complaints from dissatisfied customers, often regarding an inability to contact customer support.

It seems Jawbone may have been planning this shift for a while.Click To Tweet

Fitness protection program

Amid reports that the company has run out of money, and near constant legal battles with rival Fitbit over the last few years, the change in direction is likely to be thought of as a step in the right direction.

The company having weathered several changes before – Jawbone started out making noise-cancelling headsets in 1999, before moving to making speakers in 2010, and eventually wearable fitness bands in 2011 – would similarly help the move be met with anticipation instead of trepidation.

Can they find their niche?

Regardless of whether their next device is a success or a flop, hopefully other companies will take note of the adaptability Jawbone has displayed throughout the years and follow accordingly.

No one knows exactly how long a market for wearable technology will be around, but it seems safe to say that a market for activity trackers has a very finite amount of time left before becoming irrelevant. Over the next few years, we will likely see many brands follow Jawbone’s lead in slowly moving away from manufacturing consumer-grade hardware.

Finding a niche need that they can fulfill will likely play a significant part in these companies’ future successes, or failures.

#Jawbone

Andrew Clausen is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and when he's not deep diving into technology and business news for you, he is a poet, enjoys rock climbing, monster movies, and spending time with his notoriously naughty cat.

Tech News

Earbuds that are noise cancelling hit the market just in time for the holidays

(TECH NEWS) There are no shortage of earbuds on the market, however, Nuheara’s noise cancelling, bluetooth earbuds are sure to top everyone’s wish list.

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Noise cancelling earbuds are efficient for blocking out the world around you – when all you want to hear is your music and nothing else. However, for those who want a smaller, sleeker alternative, Nuheara is the perfect fit.

Nuheara are wireless audio earbuds that are customizable to your hearing needs. Even though they have the same power as noise cancelling headphones, they can be adjusted to amplify or minimize sound based on each situation.

You can choose to blend the sounds of the streets and your new favorite album in order to be aware of the world around you. The earbuds are ideal for any situation.

The noise cancelling earbuds use SINC (Superior Intelligent Noise Control) technology, which lets every user create their custom hearing experience.

There are numerous times when it’s hard to hear because of the noise around us. This may be in crowded restaurants, concerts or even when you’re at home trying to avoid the noisy neighbor in the apartment above you.

The SINC technology applies a frequency filter to sounds you choose to hear or want to avoid. Additionally, the left and right earbuds have their own settings, so that they can be customized individually. Everything is customized through the app, so it’s up to each user to decide!

Prior to founding Nuheara, Justin Miller and David Cannington worked in the oil and gas companies creating industrial strength hearing headsets.

The feedback they received during these experiences paved the way for inventing Nuheara. People wanted a sleek headset that they could wear in everyday life, not just at their job.

The earbuds will set you back a few hundred bucks, but they come with accessories like a battery charger, carrying case and 8 different silicone tips. The battery charger provides three full charges. Nuheara earbuds are also sweat and water resistant, but they are not yet waterproof.

As wireless headphones, Nuheara are also compatible with most Bluetooth connected devices. The earbuds also use tap-touch control to make hands-free phone calls, control music and adjust settings.

There is no need to connect Nuheara to external devices to use their noise cancelling capabilities.

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Turn your FAQ page into a chatbot without knowing how to code

(TECH NEWS) An easy way to add a chatbot to your site and automate some of your work is through this new simple tool that doesn’t require any tech know-how.

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faqbot chatbot

Reduce your workload and personalize customer service engagement with Faqbot, the tool that turns your online FAQ into a customized chatbot.

Co-founded by Denny Wong and CEO Mathis André, Faqbot uses machine learning to streamline frequently asked questions into a handy chatbot pal.

Based on your existing FAQ content, Faqbot builds a database that learns from every conversation to improve responses. Faqbot can also be used to automate sales and lead generation.

You get to design the conversation flow, mapping out a custom path to guide users to a desired outcome. Set predefined choices or free text, customize the bot’s responses, and determine what leading questions the bot should ask.

For example, on the Faqbot site, I was given two pre-set choices to click after each response from the bot. Clicking “Thanks for helping” gets the polite response “You are welcome! ;-)” complete with an old-school emoji featuring a nose.

If you select “not my question,” Faqbot uses its general response to any unanswerable question: “Sorry, I’m a chatbot. I am constantly learning and have answers to frequently asked questions. Thank you for leaving your email and we will get back to you shortly.”

Choose your own responses based on already defined FAQ or come up with new messaging to better engage and inform your customers as needed. The free text option is also available if customers wish to continue asking questions.

Of course, I had to try out some less than frequently asked questions. When I asked Faqbot “are we friends?” it kindly replied, “Absolutely. You don’t have to ask.” So I’m smitten.

However, when I tried to take it to the next level by asking “Do you love me?,” which seems to be the internet’s favorite way to harass a bot, I got the “Sorry, I’m a chatbot” response.

That’s okay. I’ll recover. Faqbot isn’t here to love, it’s here to answer questions.

You can easily install the chatbot by either copy/pasting the snippet of codes directly into your webpage, or connect Faqbot to your company’s Facebook page. No coding skills required.

Pricing is based on number of users per month, but all levels include the same service offerings of FAQ database management, messaging interface, a ticketing system, and DIY guided conversation flow. You can try out Faqbot free for 14 days by signing up on their site.

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Tech News

This note-taking app is perfect for the creative mind

(TECH NEWS) The newest app for note-taking could be a tremendous asset for a very specific type of creative that tools like trello and evernote fall short on… not all apps work for all people.

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If you’re like me, you’ve had many phases in your idea-having, note-taking life. There was the AP History period, where I decided the quality of my notes would be judged based on the tininess of my handwriting and the number of innovative abbreviations coined. There was the “song collection” period, in which I wrote down song and band names with reckless abandon, on any scrap of paper or non-paper within reach, and promptly scattered the scraps everywhere. There was the post-it era, in which every single idea was carefully documented on a “Sticky Note” that tiled over my Windows desktop and was impossible to find thereafter.

And then, there was Evernote, and Trello, and I thought my evolution was complete. I had neatly organized “Notebooks” and “Cards” and I felt very structured and efficient and spiritually done with my note-taking journey.

But a whisper of rebellion called out to me. It sounded musical, colorful, whimsical. It asked me whether I wouldn’t like to liberate myself from those neat lists and stacks, let my ideas flow, visualize my thoughts?

It introduced me to Milanote – the note-taking app truly made FOR images, not just tolerant of them.

Milanote markets itself toward creatives: “For the research, thinking and planning behind your next great piece of work.”

But the strengths of this app could benefit anyone who could use a more freeform space to collect their thoughts. A blank page resembles a peg board, and users can add images, notes, links, and more in any configuration their hearts desire. You can also link any elements together with a web of lines, or leave them on their own.

This could be a great app for early-stage brainstorming and planning, when you need to play around and be flexible.

Milanote can be collaborative, like Trello, or individual and personal, like my always-evolving grocery list in Evernote. Milanote currently works in any web browser, and iOs and Android apps are coming soon.

For up to 100 notes, Milanote can be yours free of charge. More than that, though, and you’ll have to pay $9.99 for the pro version.

Something tells me infinity should cost much more, but the organic, customizable concept is something to hold on to.

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