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Smart Tech Should Solve Real Problems
Nov 07

Smart Tech should solve real problems, save time, or improve productivity

By DigitalWoman | blog , video

I am excited to share the third video segment that I worked on in partnership with Chivas Venture (here is the first one on Artificial Intelligence and the second one on Social Entrepreneurship).   Please leave your comments, thoughts, and suggestions in the comments section below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scvrbzgAxZ0

To qualify as “smart technology” there should be at least some marginal human benefit.  Smart Tech should be solving real problems, saving time, or improving productivity…basically making our lives easier.

You can’t just throw sensors on a product, connect it through Bluetooth to an app that collects “whatever data” you can monitor through your smartphone and think it’s real “smart technology”.

 

This rant started for me when I saw a “big announcement” from CES the “Smart Hair Brush”.  They packed a hairbrush with sensors to ensure “great hair brushing technique”. It has a microphone that’ll listen to the sound of your hair breakage while you’re brushing your hair and the vibration functionality will alert you when you’re  brushing your hair too hard…it’s connected to an app that will annualize your hair brushing data…all for the low, low price of around $250…Really?

Then, I was sent a video about a “smart tooth brush” with “intelligent bluetooth technology”. It records your teeth brushing data that you can chart and share.  You can to choose moderately clean or super-clean modes. I’m just wondering: who’s going to choose moderately clean? I’m all for great oral hygiene but…really?

Ahhh…to be a fly on the wall during those brainstorming sessions. I am sure that the engineers are profoundly smart but  I sometimes question the business logic involved.  Smart Technology should be approached with some level of seriousness…not with just applying sensors to gadgetry and collecting random.

To qualify as “smart technology” there should be at least some marginal human benefit!
VIA @DIGITALWOMAN

Smart technologies that address real problems

The “smart home” is all the rage. Sure you have coordinated TV’s and refrigerators that shop, timed lights & coffee in the morning, but, what keeps you secure in your home or when you are away?… the video doorbell and that’s what most smart home device buyers are buying.  It has a video camera, microphone, speaker, motion sensors, and an app…and you can see whois at the door, you can pretend you’re home when you’re actually not, and you can know when your packages arrive…safety, security, convenience right there.

Smart healthcare also has some big hits. Two that I think are great are

  • TempTraq, which offers a patch-like smart device – where you can monitor your children’s body temperature without disturbing their sleep. It’s a patch that monitors, records, and sends the data to your smartphone…for24/7assurance.
  • QardioCore, which offers an FDA-approved heart-monitor. The sensors record clinically accurate continuous ECG, heart rate & variability, respiratory rate, skin temperature, and activity data…which you can share with your doctor or sync it to the app.

And talk about smart in Luxury, how about the massage chair by Bodyfriend, which scans your body and creates a special massage just for you by measuring your different body parts and you can set preferences for massaging specific areas of your body.

The future of smart tech and innovation

The future of smart tech and innovation looks promising and exciting.  Let’s take eye care for example – Google filed a patent application a couple of year ago for 2 smart contact lenses one will monitor glucose and the other is an auto-focus lens for near-sightedness. They have backed off their timeline but it is still an exciting prospect.

Then there is a professor in Utah, who created liquid lens glasses that automatically focuses on whatever you’re looking at, close up or in the distance…they use infrared sensors to gage the distance and reshape the liquid lenses appropriately…another nice possibility.

There is amazing ingenuity and innovation here and on the horizon for the Internet of Things in many, many categories. There is going to be some fantastic products built that will make us safer and more secure, keep us healthier, and provide profound convenience…it should and generally will make our lives easier. 

Technology Helps Fuel Social Entrepreneurship
Oct 31

Technology Helps Fuel Social Entrepreneurship

By DigitalWoman | blog , video

I am excited to share the second video segment that I worked on in partnership with Chivas Venture (here is the first one on Artificial Intelligence).   Please leave your comments, thoughts, and suggestions in the comments section below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLLvbahbumI

Whether it’s cleaning up the ocean with The Ocean Cleanup or crowdfunding medical treatment for people around the world with Watsi or monitoring storm water in real time to prevent water contamination with Stormsensor,  there is a tremendous amount of good work going on right now from Social Entrepreneurs, and, for these entrepreneurs, creating and leveraging technology is at the center of it.

Social Entrepreneurs mostly leverage the Internet – web, mobile, and social media tools. Which allows them to extend their reach to large numbers of people, not based on proximity, but, based on shared interests and shared goals. With all of the tools available, they can disseminate information almost instantly, have distributed teams and collaborate, schedule and coordinate their activities and do quite a bit of fundraising…all online.

When entrepreneurship meets innovation and can leverage technology that helps you scale…that’s when you can have the greatest impact and can do the most social good.

Technology is playing such a crucial role in this space that it’s hard to imagine how it was done before. Communication is easier, mobilization is faster, and fundraising is instant and immediate.

Social impact entrepreneurship is not a man or woman thing, as it’s near parity…women make up over 45% of the Social entrepreneurs and that number is growing.

But, let’s clear up a misconception about social entrepreneurship…although there are many claims to the contrary, making money is a big deal. If your venture doesn’t make or raise enough money, it will fail.

Who is best positioned to take advantage of the latest technology and combine it with the momentum of the Social Entrepreneurship movement?
The Millennial generation.  Millennials are very capable, action oriented, and idealists. They’re highly-mobile, interconnected and have the desire to solve society’s issues and are ready to find new solutions to old problems. It is they who are the Social Entrepreneurs of now and the near future.

With all the technology tools available, social entrepreneurs of the future will be driven more by measurable outcomes rather than personal values or mission statements.

They will have to show how they turn their missions into metrics that are quantifiable…how many people fed, how many trees planted, how many dogs saved, etc.

Over the next few years Social Entrepreneurs will take a profound role in shaping and influencing the conduct of business and they will ensure that a commitment to social good is a natural part of the way we do business.

Artificial Intelligence Needs Diversity to Prevent Society’s Biases
Oct 12

Artificial Intelligence Needs Diversity to Prevent Society’s Biases

By DigitalWoman | Uncategorized

I am excited to share this video segment on Artificial Intelligence and Diversity that I worked on in partnership with Chivas Venture.   Please leave your comments, thoughts, and suggestions in the comments section below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSJHBi2RW8Q

All of the “Bigs” are getting involved in AI, and by “Bigs” I mean Microsoft, Uber, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM and others.  They’re creating AI Venture Funds and working on things like machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, facial recognition, and more. 

As of Third quarter of 2016 there was $12.2 Billion in funding in AI and with that amount of money pouring into AI, now is a great time to get into the AI game.

AI is still in the early stages, but that just means that there is a lot of opportunity to get involved and help shape the face of the future of AI.  Much like the Internet back in the mid-nineties, of which I was a part, AI could be a game changer in many different industries…good and bad.

Part of the “bad”, and I don’t want to go too Politically Correct on it, is that, 87% of those involved in AI are men and women only make up 13%.

Why is this a problem?

Since AI mirrors the values of its creators, we will have built-in biases in the original AI algorithms and if the data is biased from the start, it will take a long time to balance that bias.

Since we are just in the very early stages of AI development and implementation, we need to make sure that the bias is checked from the start. Long-held discrimination can live and even thrive on digital platforms, and if they go unchecked, they will perpetuate negative female stereotypes or racism, or sexism or all of society’s biases.

That is why we need diversity and that is why we need a woman’s touch in AI… from the start.

Women think, live, and work differently, and therefore they would code, build robots, approach machine learning from a different mindset and approach societal solutions from different perspectives. If we had more female developers working in the area of AI, you would see a better balance of values and broader solutions to societal problems.

So, inclusivity matters, we need to have women participating in shaping AI and shaping AI Policy.

Sep 18

Our developer has tipped the balance of power in his favor…what should we do?

By DigitalWoman | blog

Today’s question comes from Danny, and it’s an important one.

It’s a question and concern that I hear from a lot of entrepreneurs…both seasoned and newbies.

Danny asks:

We are in a pickle…We think our developer has become too powerful in our company. He is a great developer and agreed to work for a small salary and equity.  He planned and built the tech platform, he set up our tech infrastructure, and he knows everything about the technology of our company (we’re both non-technical founders).  He says that he can no longer work for equity and he is asking for a huge raise or he will walk.  We can’t afford to pay him, and at the same time, can’t let him go because he know EVERYTHING about the tech side of our business.  What can we do?

 

Danny’s question points to a problem that entrepreneurs face when they take a hands off approach and completely trust techies and developers to “take care of everything”.

This is a recipe for disaster and often ends up in a hostage situation…where the developer or tech person holds the entrepreneur hostage until they get what they want.  This can wreak havoc on a business at any stage.

What you’re about to learn will reduce your anxiety and ensure that the critical knowledge in your business gets shared and documented and that everyone has access to the right information when they need it.

Have a plan and document...No one should be indispensable in your company!
VIA @DIGITALWOMAN

https://youtube.com/watch?v=KHSR1FX4eT8

Once you’ve had a chance to watch, I’d love to know:

Have you ever been in this circumstance? How have you managed it? Leave a comment.

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