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2018

5 Futuristic Applications of Fitness Wearables

 

What’s the future version of today’s humble step tracker or health app? Our resident tinkerers at Vantiv labs took on an API challenge to enable commerce with fitness wearable technology for usage in a sharing economy business model (like a gym membership where you only pay for the equipment you use). Click here to check out how they combined Fitbit’s API with Vantiv’s API. Read on to discover five more futuristic applications for fitness wearables.

 

Smart Patches

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: smart patches

 

Forget about your Fitbit. Patches that stick directly to the skin are the new future for wearable tech. Smart patches have the advantage of being worn all the time – unlike wrist wear which needs to be removed to be charged and can’t get wet. Some pro sports teams are already testing smart patches that analyze health by monitoring sweat on their athletes.  Plus patches worn under clothes offer a discrete option for health monitoring for folks who prefer a bit more privacy.

 

Smart Clothing

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: smart clothing

 

Smart fabrics with sensors hidden in your t-shirt or waistband might be able to track your heart rate, fat ratio, calorie burn, and provide you with updates on your shrinking waist size. For professional athletes or patients in rehabilitation, biosensors in clothing might be programmed to detect unusual muscle contractions for doctors to track. Supa is already using AI and heart rate sensors in their line of women’s sportswear that even tracks UV absorption.

 

Drones

 

future of fitness wearables: drone running buddies

 

Imagine heading out for a run with your own personal drone that will fly ahead of you and set the pace to improve your mile time or meet your distance goals. In a 2015 study of joggers using running drones, the joggers reported enjoying the “companionship” and “personality” of their drone jogging buddies. The best thing about a jogging drone? It’s way less flaky than a human partner. (Ahem, looking at you, Becky.)

 

Smartglasses with Augmented Reality

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: augmented reality and smartglasses

 

While Google Glasses were roundly mocked when they launched, the promise and potential of wearable tech glasses is still a tech ideation darling. Augmented reality paired with a slender, lightweight glasses frame instead of a bulky headset could seriously enhance a workout. For instance, a runner training for a race could pop on some smartglasses, download an app similar to Zombies, Run!, and enter an immersive augmented reality – where their evening run is spiced up with zombies, obstacles, and video game-style missions.

 

Tattoos

 

future of fitness wearables: tattoos

 

Harvard and MIT researchers have combined biosensitive tattoo inks with traditional tattoo artistry to create tattoos that double as biomedical mood rings. The inks change color depending on body chemistry. For an example, an athlete could monitor the status of their recovery, or a diabetic could tell their blood sugar level by the changing color of their tattoo. The applications could go beyond chronic conditions as well: temporary tattoos for short duration monitoring (like for hospital stays or surgical recovery), or for situations where continuous health monitoring is needed for a specific duration (for athletes in physical therapy or for experimental patient trials).

How a city app changed the way I pay for parking (and why I don't even mind spending more money)

As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about payments, I’m well aware of the impact of frictionless (or invisible) payments. Recently I witnessed a change in my spending habits due to payments innovation.

 

A decade ago Amazon revolutionized the ecommerce world with its one click checkout and countless merchants followed this trend -- or at least tried. Technology behemoths and Silicon Valley startups lead the way with innovative payment methods that make our shopping experience seamless.

 

While the retail and ecommerce world continue to race ahead, government and utilities are only now catching up. I’ve never been a fan of cash and much less nickels and dimes, so the fact that we have to pay parking meters with quarters always put me in a tough spot. Where are the darn quarters! Making a trip to the bank or supermarket to load up on quarters is always a hassle (no ATM gives bills less than $20). As a result, often within the city I end up taking the cab to avoid parking meters.

 

How can I get this important service – parking my car -- without the hassle and unnecessary friction of using cash? Enter the new mobile app - BostonPark which lets me store my vehicle details and card payment info. Whenever I’m near a parking spot it tells me how much parking time is left as well as the street cleaning schedule -- so I can avoid parking fines!. Since Boston has different times for resident parking and metered parking, it allows me to pay remotely if I’m running late. If I decide to stay longer and want to extend the parking time, I no longer have to rush. No more worrying about the dreadful orange violation ticket on my car window shield. The best part – no more scavenging for quarters!

 

This app has significantly changed my parking spending habit. As government agencies introduce more digital services and make payments easier, consumers like me will likely use the government service rather than alternatives (for example, driving and parking instead of taking an Uber). I look forward more frictionless experiences in public services!

As developers, we often let work dictate when, or even if, we take a vacation. Goodbye sandy beach--hello Sprint session! While it may seem admirable that you put in extra hours, you may be doing yourself a disservice and miss out on inspiration.

 

European Union (EU) workers automatically get a minimum of 20 paid days off. And data show they are on to something--as that time off does not mean lower productivity. In fact, nine of the top 10 most productive countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) in 2015, measured by GDP per hour worked, were in Europe. The United States ranked sixth.

 

Data show more time off doesn't have to translate into lower productivity. Nine of the top 10 most productive countries in the OECD in 2015, measured by GDP per hour worked, were in Europe. The United States ranked sixth.

 

According to an article in the Huffington Post, there are some staggering figures to validate the benefits of taking your PTO. Unfortunately, many do not fully unplug. (it helps to read these in the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi for full effect)

  • 41 percent of people tend to check in with work during a vacation.
  • 84 percent of US executives have cancelled vacations because of a work emergency.

 

Wendy Schofield CEO - Mobile Pay, Inc.

“Clear the path for innovation and new successes by allowing yourself downtime to clear your mind of the noise & clutter.” - Wendy Schofield

 

We spoke recently with Vantiv partner, Wendy Schofield, CEO of Mobile Pay, Inc and she recounted how taking time off ultimately lead her company into a new business model. After a short vacation, where she was able to completely get away from work, inspiration struck and upon her return, she immediately called her developer to lay out the plans for making secure mobile payments. That was back in 2006!

 

Fast forward to the present, Wendy credits allowing herself free time away from work to recharge and open up new creative thought processes. She suggests going through a quick checklist for warning signs that it might be time for a vacation.

  1. Step back and recognize when you are too spread out.
  2. Realize that it is more productive to do one thing well, rather than too many tasks at one time.
  3. Give yourself that well-needed time off to clear the day-to-day clutter.

 

Partner Spotlight - Mobile Pay, Inc 

  • Collectively, Mobile Pay, Inc. and Wholesale Payments Group create a catalog of solutions for the public and private sectors for accepting payments and offsetting costs of payment processing.
  • Create full scale relationships with service providers, MSPs, ATM Operators, and processors to enable them to service merchants and institutions with a local presence to support those entities.
  • Services include credit/bank card, and check payment processing, ATM placement and sales/service, free payroll solutions, cash advances, equipment leasing, petroleum and more.
  • Niche markets include government and education, petroleum, utilities, rental payments, POS specific processing, credit/bank card terminal placements and service, eCommerce, and retail.

 

So remember to take time off and tell your boss or client to do so as well. They may come back to you inspired with a new challenge!

Reaching peak performance (or DevFlow) as a developer is not about working yourself or your team raw, it’s about having an awareness in your work.  Flow is great when you have it, but oftentimes hard to replicate.  So here's a hit list of six surprising and easy hacks that should be in every developers toolkit for hitting maximum DevFlow. 

 

1)  Do not commit to impossible tasks.

 

 

This can lead to mental clutter and disables focus.  Multi-tasking is a lie. While computers can switch context with ease, human brains just aren’t wired like that.  According to a Forbes article on multitasking, the term first appeared in an IBM paper in 1965, referring to a computer's ability to process multiple tasks simultaneously.  Focusing on more than one thing decreases productivity by 40% and lowers IQ by 10 points.  Duh.

 

2)  Try white noise headphones to lessen distractions

Ditching extraneous noise can speed the ramp up into flow.  White noise draws and focuses your attention without disturbing your emotional quotient and improves concentration by preventing outside disturbances.

 

3)  Put the phone away!

 

Turn off the ringer and put that "time suck" device out of view.  The average smartphone user checks her device 221 times a day. Some people are so attached to notifications that they experience phantom cellphone vibration syndrome

(yup, it’s totally a thing.) Charge your phone in a drawer so you can’t see those candy-colored notifications pop up to distract you from the task at hand.

 

4)  Collect your data before digging into the code

Searching for data during a coding session can kill the flow, so get your research together before the deep dive. This is just an organisational tip where having your data close at hand can lessen the need to search for the info while you are in the coding moment.  It's about staying in a coding flow to write code, not searching for it.

 

5)  Understand that flow is not always relaxing

 

stand up desks increased efficiency by 53%

 

For a change of pace, increase focus by trying to code at a stand up desk.  According to a Washington Post article, stand up desks were attributed to a 53% increase in work outcome and productivity over the course of six months.  Employees who worked at stand-capable desk sat down on average 1.6 hours less than those at a sitting desk.

 

6)  Allow your brain some buffer time

It often takes 10-15 minutes to get into the Flow, so starting and stopping coding sessions for meetings crushes any semblance of flow.  So when you’re blocking out your productive flow time, make sure to add buffer cushions around meetings to give you time to download your notes and follow up on deliverables before moving on. The next time you get a meeting invite, schedule 15 minute blocks of buffering time around it, in order to prepare, switch tasks, and get in gear again for the next coding push.

 

If you can recognize productivity killers and can be open to some quick hacks--You have a greater chance to reach and stay in a state of DevFlow.

 

So hack-away with these new tools and get in the flow!

Do people say your head is in the clouds? If they do, you’re likely on to something. At least if your head is in charge of your healthcare practice’s technology. Because you’ll be on the cutting edge of adopting this new technology. Check out 3 ways cloud technology is a gamechanger for health services providers.

 

 

1) Administrative costs.

 

20 percent of consumers have unpaid medical bills due to confusing billing processes.

 

No surprise here: inefficient billing practices are revenue drainers. Nearly 20 percent of consumers have unpaid health care bills due to confusing payment processes. And, up to 80 percent of medical bills contain mistakes, which results in a loss of approximately $125 billion annually.

 

up to 80% of medical bills contain errors.

 

Meanwhile, healthcare providers operating in the cloud are enjoying $8 billion in annual savings. Check out how digital payments reduced one provider’s administrative costs by 25 percent, and reduced time spent on submitting claims and processing patient payments by 88 percent.

 

2) Patient service.

Patients expect 24/7 availability from health service providers. Can your patient portal keep up?

Patients are accustomed to 24/7 availability and service from their banks, their retailers, their dog groomers –you get the picture. They’d like the same level of access and service from their healthcare providers.

 

In this new digital landscape, healthcare providers need to deliver Internet-based services that connect healthcare professionals with patients, to talk about upcoming procedures, aftercare, and medication management. Providers are increasingly turning to cloud solutions to modernize their legacy apps and IT infrastructure to make this happen.

 

3) Scalability and efficiency.

Getting up and running is half the battle and again, cloud technology claims the edge here. Cloud deployments typically take only 3-6 months, compared to the 12-month timeframe to implement an on-premise solution.

 health care cloud spending is expected to reach $9 billion

Healthcare cloud spending is skyrocketing, expected to increase from $3.73 billion in 2015, to $9.48 billion in 2020. And companies that offer the solutions health services providers are seeking will undoubtedly reap the financial benefits. Will yours be one of them?

When it comes to eCommerce, consumer behaviors are changing fast. Gone are the days when customers had the patience to key in details like payment cards, billing, and shipping addresses. Increasingly, consumers demand easy-to-use payment solutions that allow them to check out in seconds. This is especially true on mobile devices, where tapping details on a small screen is tedious and error-prone.

 

For merchants, responding to this shift is critical. According to comScore, $22.7B in online purchases were made from mobile devices in Q4 of 2016, up 45% from the same period the prior year confirming continued strong growth in mobile payments, and greater than 50% of these payment transactions involve the use of stored credentials. The increased use of stored credentials suggests that consumers are seeking easier, more streamlined online payment methods, even on the first customer interaction.

 

Introducing Visa Checkout

Visa Checkout is a simple service that makes it easier to pay online.  Once users set up an account, they can quickly make payments from any device including a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. Visa Checkout works with major credit, prepaid or debit cards across all devices. 

Visa Checkout can help drive higher conversion by potentially eliminating the login friction for online shoppers. Registered users can speed through checkout with biometric authentication in participating merchants’ mobile apps and, if the user has linked his/her Google Pay or Samsung Pay to his/her Visa Checkout account, use biometric authentication in mobile web. Returning users can also choose to stay signed in on trusted devices. All of these capabilities help provide a convenient, password-less shopping experience.

 

From a merchant perspective, adding support for Visa Checkout is easy. In partnership with Visa, Vantiv is expanding our portfolio of supported Digital payment solutions to include Visa Checkout for merchant websites and Android and iOS apps to provide customers with more convenient ways to pay online. 

For merchants there are several potential benefits:

  • Improve customer convenience and loyalty
  • Reduce abandoned shopping carts and increase conversions
  • Convert more first-time shoppers by avoiding the requirement that they set up profiles on your website or mobile app in advance of a purchase
  • Avoid potential errors and administrative costs owing to incorrectly keyed shipping or billing details

 

Worldpay Integration for Visa Checkout

Visa Checkout integration on Worldpay will initially be for online purchases on our high-volume core processing platforms. Worldpay's Visa Checkout integration leverages eProtect, a solution that provides added security for merchants, a streamlined integration experience, and an opportunity to reduce PCI scope by avoiding the need for merchants to handle sensitive card data in their applications. 

“Worldpay's commitment to provide businesses of all sizes a solution to enable seamless digital commerce complements Visa’s vision to make payments accessible to everyone, everywhere,” said Vish Shastry, Vice President, Digital Products, Visa Inc. “Visa is excited to deepen our partnership with Worldpay through Visa Checkout and make payments simple for both merchants and consumers.”

 

By leveraging eProtect, impact on existing merchant back-end systems is minimized allowing merchants to get to market faster with minimal disruption to existing operations.  From a back-end payment processing perspective, merchants can handle Visa Checkout transactions just as they would transactions involving a traditional payment card as shown below.

Figure 1: Worldpay simplifies payment integrations and reduces PCI scope by avoiding the need for merchants to store card data in their systems

“We are delighted to be partnering with Visa on this important initiative,” says Scott DeAngelo, Worldpay’s Head of Product. “With Visa Checkout, customers can quickly make payments from any device. Merchants processing with Worldpay can take advantage of a straightforward integration that can help improve conversions, sales, and the bottom line.”

To help merchants quickly get up and running, Worldpay has a dedicated developer community for Visa Checkout on its Vantiv O.N.E. developer portal.  Once logged into this free resource, developers can learn about the technology, explore code examples, and discuss implementation details with Worldpay and other third-party developers and industry experts.

To learn more about how Visa Checkout and Worldpay can help improve your online sales, Contact Worldpay or visit our Vantiv O.N.E. developer community at https://developer.vantiv.com/community/mobile.

Tom Bronson, the President and CEO of software developer Granbury Solutions, strongly recommended The Oz Principle to me, and I’m thrilled he did. The book presents important and easy-to-recall principles about accountability that can be applied at your organization faster than you can say “yellow brick road.”

 

Coincidentally, the week I finished typing my notes on the book, a Vantiv reseller partner asked me to create an Accountability Workshop for his team. The Oz Principle will serve as a great foundation for that. Here are 28 of my favorite quotes and concepts from the book:

 

[Editor's note: I am not associated with Partners in Leadership, the organization behind The Oz Principle. The quotes below are sourced directly from the book which you can purchase here.]

 

  1. While greater accountability may not cure all of the world’s ills, it does provide a sturdy foundation on which you can build long-lasting solutions.
  2. The Wizard Of Oz’s main characters gradually learn that they possess the power within themselves to get the results they want.
  3. Cultures of failed accountability have weakened business character, stressed ease over difficulty, feeling good over being good, appearance over substance, saving face over solving problems, and illusion over reality.
  4. The latest, most up-to-date management concepts and techniques won’t help if you’ve neglected the basic principles that empower people and organizations to turn in exceptional performances.
  5. How many industries will fall victim to their own denial by continuing to pretend not to know what will one day appear obvious?
  6. Shift from “tell me what to do” to “here is what I’m going to do, what do you think?” — a truly profound and empowering approach to getting results.
  7. Most people view accountability as something that happens to them when performance wanes, problems develop, or results fail to materialize.
  8. New definition of accountability: A personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results. This definition includes a mindset or attitude of continually asking, “What else can I do to rise above my circumstances and achieve the results I desire?”
  9. In addition to representing his or her function, each team member accepts responsibility for overall team results. “We got focused, rather than frustrated, and we made it happen, despite the odds stacked against us.”
  10. If you find yourself continually surprised by your performance appraisals, we suggest you seek more feedback about your performance, not just from your superiors, but from others who you respect and trust.
  11. All too often people view unhappy circumstances as accidents of chance; yet when they find themselves in more pleasant circumstances, they automatically take credit for a job well done.
  12. Truly owning the circumstances that you face requires you to make a link between what has happened and all the factors contributing to the problem, however much that linkage may implicate you.
  13. The benefits of owning your circumstances more than compensate for the heart-wrenching effort involved.
  14. Focus your efforts on removing the obstacles standing between you and the outcomes you desire. Unhappy consequences await those who fail to do so.
  15. Ezra 10:4 – “Arise, for this matter belongeth unto thee … be of good courage, and do it!”
  16. “Under the bludgeoning of chance, my head is bloody, but unbowed. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” – W.E. Henley
  17. Identify the uncontrollable issues you face, separating them from the controllable ones. This way, you can avoid complaining or worrying about what you cannot affect.
  18. As the world endlessly changes, so must we.
  19. Accounting for progress: an after-the-fact discussion to measure progress towards results.
  20. Below The Line people: Report only when asked to do so; justify or explain their activities; run and hide when it’s time to report; blame others for lack of results; react defensively to suggestions for improvement
  21. Above The Line people: Report regularly and thoroughly; analyze their activities in an effort to determine what more they can do to get results; stand and deliver when it’s time to report on their circumstances; welcome feedback
  22. Regardless of your current position in your organization, you can encourage people to climb out of the victim cycle and ascend the steps to accountability.
  23. Train everyone from the boardroom to the mail room to understand the crucial relationship between accountability and results.
  24. By taking accountability for our own success, success will follow. “Only if we can look at ourselves first will we have any chance of turning around these poor sales numbers.”
  25. It’s surprising how much talk and how little action surrounds a communication problem.
  26. Joint accountability for people development should exist between employees and their organizations. Individuals at all levels of an organization should take charge of their own development.
  27. By failing to confront poor performance, organizations unwittingly foster feelings among people who do perform poorly, but don’t know it and thus can’t affect improvements, as well as among people who must pick up the slack because of the poor performance of others.
  28. Make confronting performance a daily habit.

 

If you’d like to talk more about how to improve accountability at your ISV organization, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv partners to help them clarify their vision, hire the best team, develop staff, establish best practice systems, improve customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.