You Need to Know The Next Wave of Wearable Tech

WEARABLE technology has been around for a long time, even though it may not have been in the form that we are accustomed to. A prime example would be calculator watches which were hugely popular in the early ‘80s. Though the idea of combining two or more functions into one gadget did not catch on until much later, at the turn of the century to be precise, wearable technology has progressed a lot since the humble calculator watch.

Wearable technology is not necessarily confined to fitness trackers or smartwatches, it is more than that, given the technological advances with accelerometers, gyroscopes, altimeters, optical heart rate monitors, solar panels, superior batteries and the list goes on and on, you get the picture.

Wearable technology is advancing at such a rate that one would be able to monitor not only one’s physiological condition such as heart rates, movements, sleep patterns, thereby tapping into various biometrics enabling us to take a deeper look into our body’s physiological state but the future promises that we would also be able to monitor our body’s psychological condition.

In 2015, the French football team FC Nantes and French riders in the 2015 Road World Championship had tested an ingestible device, which was jam-packed with sensors that enabled the user to monitor changes in core body temperature from a computer, in real time. This technology could potentially assist athletes to work out the ideal recovery time before another intensive session and base their training plans around that data. It is especially useful to athletes as it does away with the need to wear anything whilst training intensively, thus enabling the athletes to focus on what matters the most, training.

There is another type of device that measures emotions through multiple sensors including a Galvanic Skin Response to detect something called Electrodermal Response, which is deemed to be a great indicator of emotional state. Again, this technology syncs up with your phone and you can monitor your psychological condition, in real time. Further, with the device syncing up with mobile phones, the device can then provide recommendations and advise on how to reduce stress and keep your emotions in check. Wearable technology is not only a means for the modern man to consume large amounts of data regarding one’s body or habits, it also provides real life application in the realm of medicine. Currently, the technology is out there with regard to micro sensors embedded into the single use silicone contact lens. The purpose for the contact lens is to be able to detect subtle pressure changes in the eye, specifically intraocular pressure changes.

This enables a doctor to identify the best time to take those measurements and the correct time to take those measurements are of paramount importance as elevated pressure changes in the eye is linked to optic nerve damage and can cause blindness. With this technology, ailments afflicting the eyes may be a thing of the past. Wearable technology does not stop at merely monitoring how the human body behaves but its applications are limitless. Wearables could be passive devices which are embedded into either clothing or accessories and such passive devices enable the user to interact with other items around them.

For example, a user could have a passive device embedded in an accessory and that passive device interacts with the security system of the user’s home or vehicle. Think about it, you will never ever be locked out of your own home or worry about losing your keys, ever again.

 

Whilst it is premature to predict specific features or form factors that will prevail in the future, wearable tech presents an interesting case study. Never before has computing been small enough to be worn relatively comfortably around the clock on the body, presenting opportunities for breakthrough medical advancements and unfortunately, marketing nuisances.

Battery life of any smart devices is by far the biggest obstacle that prevents broad market adoption and retention. Power consumption of key components like processors, radios, memories, and sensors are the primary culprit in draining our devices. More research would need to be put in in order for battery life to be extended to such an extent that we will only need to charge those devices once a month. The problem faced by wearable technology is that many still use mobile phone parts to make their product. Whilst those parts work wonderfully well for the mobile phones, those parts limit the full potential of wearable technology. Another big area to watch out for is what happens to your information which has been collated by the various devices around you.

You may think that the collation of data may not affect you but what could potentially happen is that the information collated could be used to target marketing campaigns towards you. Though the evolution of hardware for wearable technology is far from perfect, the market is developing software for wearable technology in a frenzy and in the hopes of keeping up with the appetite of the users. Therefore, developing permission based software would be of paramount importance to ensure that the data collated are either disposed of ethically and safely or handled with the utmost integrity. The future of wearable technology can be viewed as scary as it continues to challenge the traditional way we interact with devices around us but there would be no progress if we do not take that chance.

 
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What’s New in ITEX 2017?

AS we draw closer to ITEX 2017, we are proud to announce that ITEX is now supported by the Malaysian Ministry of Education (MOE) and also the International Federation of Inventors Associations (IFIA)!

ITEX 2017 is gearing up to deliver a highly impactful exhibition that provides commercialisation opportunities to all the brilliant inventions showcased in the exhibition. One of the features to achieve this would be the ITEX’s 2017 Startups Showcase, which would provide the companies the exposure their brand deserves. This Showcase is ITEX’s latest section catering to companies planning to make its break in the highly saturated startup market.

Almost all businesses spend many painstaking months grooming lucrative ideas into viable business opportunities. Gaining initial recognition from investors followed by market validation is what startups essentially need to take off. Acting as an accelerator, the ITEX 2017 Startups Showcase will help facilitate business needs and move them in the right direction while providing an enabling environment for stimulating engagements to flourish. Activities such as the pitching sessions are designed to give startups valuable face time with the right investors whom are equally as keen to place their bet on the next big thing.

To top it off, with Malaysian government’s latest announcement that 2017 will be the “Startup & SME Promotion Year”, ITEX 2017 Startups Showcase will definitely be a viable and relevant platform that provides multiple opportunities for businesses to rub elbows with the right crowd!

On the other hand, a showcase of hundreds of ingenious creations by young minds will also be presented through the staging of the World Young Inventors Exhibition (WYIE) in 2017. WYIE will be a co-located exhibition at ITEX 2017, which will be an overarching event for ITEX’s three annual flagship shows for budding inventors: the Asian Young Inventors Exhibition (AYIE), the Malaysian Young Inventors Exhibition (MYIE) and the Young Inventors Exhibition. These exhibitions will take on a new look fueled by better and bigger awe-inspiring ideas. The setting for WYIE will be meticulously planned to stimulate conduciveness in areas of thought flow, ideas exchange and to challenge the creativity and innovativeness among young minds.

Know Your Rights Before Being Taken For Granted

MOST SMEs are started by persons who were once employees in an organisation where they had acquired the necessary technical skills and knowledge to manufacture the product their employer was manufacturing. These same individuals had the entrepreneurial spirit burning deep inside them, and so, armed with the skill/knowledge and a little capital (usually from personal savings, a little help from family members or friends), they venture out on their own to start a business, usually in competition with their previous employer.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, unless they are in breach of their employment contract or misuse their employer’s trade secrets or confidential information. The entrepreneur is now on his/her own to conquer the business world.

Initially, the entrepreneur or company started by the employee turned-entrepreneur will compete in the market on price and perhaps superior service to attract new clients. However, one cannot use price advantage for long if one intends to remain in business or for the business to grow bigger. The entrepreneur of the new SME has to secure other competitive advantages to remain in business and for the SME to grow and expand into new territories. This is where Government sanctioned “monopolies” come to assistance. Yes, we are referring to Trademarks, Patents, Industrial Designs and Copyright (collectively referred to as Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

Anyone who obtains a registered trademark or a grant of patent or certificate of industrial design has a virtual monopoly over the usage of the right for a limited period of time. The proprietor of these IPRs has the exclusive right to stop others from using an identical or substantially similar trademark or from using their patent-protected technology. With this exclusive right to the IPRs, the proprietor can charge a premium price to their product or service to recover their investment – R&D costs, branding costs, etc.

 

Many entrepreneurs and SMEs perceive the costs of obtaining IPRs as expensive and IPRs themselves as difficult to enforce. Plus there are other misconceptions about IPRs too, and it would probably take an entire article in itself to address these. The fact is, the cost of obtaining IPRs – at least in Malaysia – is not high and is affordable by most SMEs. It is more costly to the business if IPRs are not secured.

Imagine spending thousands of ringgit and years to build up a brand name and yet neglecting to spend a thousand or two more to protect the brand as a registered trademark, the registration of which enables the SME to sue any infringer. Let us cite an actual case that happened in Malaysia: A restaurant business was set up in a prominent part of Kuala Lumpur. Business boomed. The partners never bothered to register the name of the restaurant as a trademark. Unknown to them, some ex-employees registered the business name as a trademark, and it did not end there. After obtaining the registration, they sued the restaurant for infringement of “their trademark”.

The restaurant had to face a long trial in the High Court. Not only did the partners suffer loss of sleep, they (along with the restaurant) were also made to look bad in the media (thus affecting their reputation) and incur thousands of ringgit in legal costs. However, they did finally manage to “get back” their trademark. Their ignorance in not recognising the market power of their trademark nearly cost them the loss of their business. So SMEs, no matter what business they are involved in, should always seek their IP consultants’ advice on obtaining IP rights for the competitive advantages they enjoy.

In the current business world and rapid globalisation of trade, IPRs have come to play a crucial role in the very survival of SMEs. Unless entrepreneurs and SMEs fully appreciate the strategic role IPRs play in the existence or survival of their business, they may be wiped out from business by their competitors who have learnt to use IPRs as a business weapon to destroy or maim rival businesses.

Contributed by P. Kandiah (Founder and Director of KASS International)

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Spotting the Next Big Thing

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Eyeing the startups trend

STARTUPS which have an eye for trend will often be ahead of the curve and stand a higher chance of getting into the good books of venture capitalists. Spotting excellent trends will not amount on anything if you are not going to do anything about it. The bottom is that you need to find what the trends are and use them to your advantage.

Spotting trends early make it possible to anticipate market reactions and needs, or you can be a trend setter by modifying your startup plans. That way you can almost seamlessly jump on to a new trend just as it takes off.

Spotting trends is no rocket science and you don’t need a sophisticated system to help you spot trends. The easiest, hassle-free and conventional way is the old-school approach of reading and browsing through sources. Also, stay active in industry conferences, events and associations – insights gathered from these conferences can help you keep up with what’s new and what matters.

Secondly, keep a watch on the demographic changes in a community, society or economy. Modifying products or services for different generations is a great way to capitalise on trends, Keep abreast with demographic trends and be mindful of how your target customers’ needs may shift. Once you’ve figured that out, it’s easy to offer innovations and ideas to customers. Quite often consumers do not know how much they need a product until it’s presented to them.

Thirdly, dare to be disruptive. Dare to go against the grains. Many inventors have emerged as champions simply by being a disruptive force and betting against market trends. Creating a product based on countertrend is one of the most effective ways to dominate highly saturated and competitive market. If there are lots of competitors in your niche, an inventor should be bold enough to take the road less travelled to make a difference the business needs.

Good luck and start to DREAM BIG!

 

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ITEX 2017: Inventions of the Future All Under One Roof

Future of invention

ASIA’S largest invention platform, the International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX) will return in 2017 from 11-13 May at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. ITEX this year is set to showcase the best creations accumulated from more than 20 Asian and European countries. As one of the flagship annual events organised by Malaysian Invention & Design Society (MINDS), ITEX will be featuring a stellar line up of 1,000 products by local and international inventors that will be present in the exhibition and vying for visitor’s attention. ITEX 2017 is poised to bring about the best Invention and Innovation exhibition in Malaysia, and here’s why it’s simply unmissable:

 

Creating A Buzz at ITEX 2017 Startups Showcase!

The ability to effectively build a strong brand presence is the hallmark of a successful startup. Newly established companies will now be able to provide their brand the exposure it deserves at ITEX’s 2017 Startups Showcase. This Showcase is ITEX’s latest section catering to companies planning to make its break in the highly saturated startup market.

Almost all businesses engage in a series of substantial effort in transforming lucrative ideas into viable business opportunities. Gaining initial recognition from investors followed by market validation is what startups essentially need to take off. Acting as an accelerator, the ITEX 2017 Startups Showcase will help facilitate business needs and move them in the right direction while providing an enabling environment for stimulating engagements to flourish. Activities such as the “Pitch4Fund” pitching session are designed to give startups valuable face time with the right investors whom are equally as keen to place their bet on the next big thing.

To top it off, with Malaysian government has declared that 2017 is the “Startup & SME Promotion Year”, ITEX 2017 Startups Showcase will definitely be a viable and relevant platform that provides multiple opportunities for businesses to connect with the right crowd!

 

WYIE: The Place Where Young Innovative Leaders Of Tomorrow Come Out To Play Today!

A showcase of hundreds of ingenious creations by young minds from the participating Asian and European countries will be presented through the staging of the World Young Inventors Exhibition (WYIE) in 2017. WYIE will be a co-located exhibition at ITEX 2017, which will be an overarching event for ITEX’s three annual flagship shows for budding inventors: the Asian Young Inventors Exhibition (AYIE), the Malaysian Young Inventors Exhibition (MYIE) and the Young Inventors exhibition. These exhibitions will take on a new look fueled by better and bigger awe-inspiring ideas. The setting for WYIE will be meticulously planned to stimulate conduciveness in areas of thought flow, ideas exchange and to challenge the creativity and innovativeness among young minds.

 

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