The Wearable Style Wars: Jawbone UP, Nike+ Fuelband, FitBit, And Basis

Jen Cohen Crompton

woman wears wearable technologyRight now, there are many with a wearable on their wish list…but there are just as many who are considering a wearable, and asking the question, “Which wearable is best for me?”

After testing a half of dozen options, I’ve offered my opinion in casual conversations and figured I’d get it down “on paper” to share with others who are facing the dilemma.

So here is the first part of the four-part series, which focuses on the fashion and style of each wearable (so listen up Fashionistas and those who are looking for comfort).

The biofeedback wearables I tested include:

  • Jawbone UP band
  • Nike+ FuelBand SE
  • FitBit and FitBit Flex
  • Basis

I rated each product based on the following criteria:

  • Style – of course you need to know if it looks great on your wrist, or if it’s annoying
  • Information tracking – what does it track and what can it track?
  • Information accuracy – was the information track on point, or did it seem there were some inaccuracies?
  • User interface – how easy is it to use, both the device and the corresponding app?
  • Who would use it – who would best benefit from the wearable and why

So, IMHO, here is what I found… first on style.

Jawbone UP Band

jawboneThe Jawbone UP has a sleek, thin wristband and it [now, with the newest model] wirelessly syncs with its accompanying mobile app. I purchased the black band so it would be more neutral. After putting it on, I found that the fit is comfortable and the band easily wraps around your wrist without any complicated clipping. You can also order it to size (small or large) so there isn’t a super long band that could wrap around your wrist three times.

While I wouldn’t coin this style as “fashionable,” I would rate this as one of the more discreet and better looking products. The band is simply a band, and it doesn’t have a display so its only function is tracking movement.

Overall, I didn’t mind wearing it on my wrist since it was lightweight, could be paired with a watch or bracelet, and didn’t get stuck or pull my clothes.

Nike+ Fuelband SE

Nike+ Fuelband SEThe Nike+ Fuelband SE is a fitting rubber band that has a colorful digital display that only shows when the button is pushed and display is activated. The model I tested was black and had a rose gold-colored clasp on the underside and is about a half an inch thick. The band comes in two sizes and does have an extender piece that is easily added to the clasp if the band is a bit too snug.

For style, this band is less discreet than the UP, but fits nicer and can be useful with the time display. It makes a bit of a fashion statement when it lights up and has a wow-factor with the colorful display that shows when you hit your daily fuel goal.

The only negative about the design, is that the clasp sometimes came unclasped and I had to close it. The good thing is that when it came unclasped, it didn’t fall off, so I didn’t run the risk of losing it.

FitBit and FitBit Flex

FitBit FlexThe FitBit is small device that can be tucked in a pocket or bra and tracks movement. It comes with a small case that can be strapped on your wrist (while sleeping), or it can just be attached to your clothing so no one even knows you’re using it. The FitBit has a small display that tracks time and steps and can be viewed with the touch of a button… but that is only until it falls off your waistband and is gone for good (which is what happened to me and I was only about to test the $99.95 device for a few days).

The Flex is the same type of device (without a display), but can be placed inside a rubber bracelet so it remains in a constant place and doesn’t fall off. The wristband is a holder for the device and does not display a time or steps – it is simply some wrist candy that does come in a variety of colors. Overall, the wristband isn’t very attractive, but is also isn’t ugly. The color options make it a little more exciting, and it is lightweight and not very intrusive.

The newest version, the Force is a combination of both – a flexible wristband that has a small display for time and day.


BasisThe Basis wrist watch is quite possibly my favorite, and at the same time, the most frustrating.

The bulky, uncomfortable wrist watch actually hurts my wrist unless it’s in the one exact spot. The floppy and unattractive rubber wristband is too long and it’s wide – not something I want to wear all the time. On that note, I don’t think it is meant to be worn all the time, which would make it more bearable…especially because the rewards of wearing it and collecting your personal data could be life changing. Yes, I said life changing.

The Basis has some color options and customization, but the watch face is in black and white. It does, however, feature a backlit display and will provide a run down of all your stats when the touch buttons are working (my touch buttons stopped working about two hours after using the product for the first time).

So, that’s it on style… more when it comes to data, insights, and who would like each wearable the best!


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Telecommuting: 5 Ways Companies Benefit

Daniel Newman

Last year, when Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting for her employees, the decision stirred a vigorous debate about whether it’s valid for any business to let woman telecommuting with laptop on lap sitting on a couch at homeemployees work from home.

As I see it, any organization can boost the personal and professional productivity of its workforce through telecommuting. And the more widely it is embraced, the better for the company.

Therefore, it’s a smart move to integrate technologies that make the work-from-home process smoother and more seamless.

Telecommuting success: It’s more than technology

However, simply putting new technology into place and allowing your workforce to telecommute won’t make your business productive. Successful virtual work initiatives still require effective management. Leaders need to engage team members (as if they were physically at the office) and make sure they are kept in the loop, so they remain psychologically and socially connected, even when they don’t share a physical office space.

5 key business benefits

But that said, when virtual work options are implemented appropriately, the advantages are abundant. For example, here are five major ways companies can benefit:

Morale: Happier employees get more done. In many cities, employees deal with a grinding commute, only to sit in an office where they interact very little with their coworkers. Whether the telecommuting arrangement is permanent or just a weekly flex day, the reduced travel and stress can provide a tremendous boost in employee morale.

Talent Acquisition: This can be a significant advantage in both large and small markets, because the best talent isn’t always within driving distance. This is certainly affected by the scope of the position, but businesses that don’t require day-to-day physical access to a shared office can benefit by finding the best candidates, regardless of physical location. Telecommuting lets companies choose from a much larger talent pool when it’s time to recruit for open positions.

Productivity: If you have ever worked remotely you probably know that you can accomplish much more when the conditions are right. At many offices, constant distractions mean less work gets done than the company desires. While face-to-face camaraderie may help employees build relationships, beyond small talk, there isn’t much that can be accomplished sitting in a meeting room that can’t be accomplished from a distance, using collaboration tools.

Flexibility: Trying to bring teams together in the same space and time isn’t necessarily easier because everyone travels to a central office. The technology that companies adopt to enable telecommuting allows teams to collaborate in real time from anywhere members are located. Participants can access teleconferencing, web conferencing and telepresence from almost anywhere. So when people can’t be in the same physical place, the meeting will still go on.

Adoption: I have said this for as long as I can remember: ”Eat your own dog food!” Any business that considers itself a high-tech organization should adopt tools, structures and processes required for successful telecommuting. What’s more, these capabilities should be  promoted as a way the workforce can achieve maximum productivity and work-life balance. Using this technology day in and day out can truly bring the organization closer. And the value of that connection can be priceless, as it translates to better selling, delivery and support of the solutions your customers need.

What other ways can organizations benefit from telecommuting? Does your company allow telecommuting? If not, why? Share your opinions and ideas in the comments below.

Image credit: Stock.xchng

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted with permission from an article written for and published in Commercial Integrator Magazine and republished by Millennial CEO.)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

The post Telecommuting: 5 Ways Companies Benefit appeared first on TalentCulture – World of Work.


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The Final Tally: A Q&A On How 2013 Holiday Shopping Measured Up

Ryan O'Neil

In response to the deluge of tweets, Facebook posts, comments, message boards, and community posts related to holiday shopping, SAP leveraged the power of the SAP Social Media Analytics application by NetBase to boy window shopping during 2013 holiday shopping seasonfollow these social conversations and uncover key insights for retailers and consumer product companies.  Having completed the same analysis in the 2012 holiday shopping season, we were curious what trends we can uncover from social media conversations.  Following are the key questions we raised and what we found.

How did overall social sentiment during the 2013 holiday season compare with 2012?

We observed quite a few changes, specifically relating to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. First, Cyber Monday continues to be the clear winner in consumer sentiment year-over-year. However, the additional shopping hours appear to have helped improve consumers’ emotions about Black Friday, as sentiment for that day grew leaps and bounds in comparison to last year.

Consumers were feeling the love for Black Friday much more this year, with an average sentiment increase of 72%. It has also drastically changed in consumers’ eyes when it comes to convenience, increasing from a -7% sentiment in 2012 to 63% this year. Similarly, Cyber Monday continues to gain favor among consumers year-over-year. In the 13 days leading up to and including Cyber Monday, average consumer sentiment increased by 19% over last year. Perhaps not too unsurprising, though, is that price still remains king for Cyber Monday based on consumer sentiment, which reached 99% for that topic in 2013.

Were different holiday topics trending socially in 2013 compared with 2012?

There were a few standouts. For one, big-box stores received more than double the volume of mentions they had in 2012 on Black Friday, with a 156% increase year-over-year. The year also saw a drastic increase in social media chatter for online stores on Cyber Monday, more than doubling its 2012 mentions (at a 130% increase year-over-year). Department stores continue to lose favor in consumers’ eyes on Black Friday: The category dropped 25% in consumer sentiment between 2011 and 2013. On the positive side, the Black Friday comeback award goes to the apparel category, which increased its consumer sentiment in 2013 by 1,900% from 2012.

While online retailers gained greater ground in consumers’ social conversations, volume of conversations around specialty stores on Cyber Monday dropped significantly between 2011 and 2013, possibly indicating price remains a key value for consumers.

How did social traffic levels compare year to year?

This year (2013) was definitely a year of social conversations with the start of holiday shopping. Not only were more consumers participating in social media conversations, but retailers were using social media to expand their reach and offer specials to consumers still looking for the best deals over the weekend.

Total volume of social mentions of Black Friday increased nearly 500%, while social mentions of Cyber Monday increased nearly 300% compared with 2012. With stores opening earlier this holiday season and more shoppers armed with mobile devices, retailers and consumers had more opportunities to chat about the deals being offered.

Although the volume of mentions around both Black Friday and Cyber Monday increased greatly this year, the spread between the two days remained similar to 2012, in which Black Friday had 70% of the mentions.

Were there correlations between social sentiment and traffic on top spending days of 2013, and how did this compare with top spending days of 2012?

Mobile, online and social are all contributing factors to the trends we’ve seen over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping period.

Deals and savings associated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday started early this year, with many stores kicking off their sales on Thanksgiving Day. And though consumers may have expressed some negative sentiment about this action, that didn’t stop them from taking advantage of the early deals. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that in-store traffic on Thanksgiving increased 27% compared with 2012.1

The huge jump in social media mentions may also be a result of a shifting consumer base. We’re currently in the middle of the “changing of the guard,” both technologically and generationally. We all know that millennials are set to overtake baby boomers as the primary spenders in the retail world. Accenture research helps solidify this takeover and estimates that millennials will account for approximately $1.4 trillion in spending by 2020, or about 30% of total retail sales.2 This tech-savvy, social-media-engaging force is growing increasingly mobile, and retailers are going to have to keep up with them.

While “mobile” consumers and “in-store” consumers are now becoming one in the same, the lines between Black Friday and Cyber Monday are also continuing to blur, with sales now increasingly being offered jointly both online and in-store. Shoppers participating in Black Friday deals this year often did so online. According to comScore, online sales on Black Friday topped $1 billion for the first time.3

Possibly the most insightful and useful discovery from this year’s holiday shopping analysis is that power of social media and how this technology is transforming the retail industry, the retailer-customer relationship, and the consumer buying process.

Explore more from our analysis and the Black Friday/Cyber Monday infographic that depicts our detailed findings.


1. Prosper Insights for the National Retail Federation. December 1, 2013.
2. Accenture, “Who Are the Millennial Shoppers? And What Do They Really Want?”, June 2013.
3. comScore, “Black Friday Billions: $1.2 Billion in Desktop E-Commerce Spending Marks First Billion-Dollar Online Shopping Day of the 2013 Holiday Season,” December 1, 2013.

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Financial Market Risk Management: Is No Bank Really Too Big to Fail?

Terry Moffatt

In the half decade since the nearly disastrous global financial collapse of 2008, not much has woman at stock exchangebeen done to address the risk management issue of some banks being “too big to fail.” For the most part, governments have taken little action to mitigate the risks these massive banks represent by trying to break them up into smaller entities. Some legislators are so wary of the influence these banks have on local economies that taking any action against the most massive financial institutions is considered risky enough.

To be fair – and maybe a little naïve – there are indications that the largest of these institutions realize that “banking with abandon” won’t be forgiven the next time things go bad. One sign is the investments banks are making in a capability that the TABB Group, a financial markets research and strategic advisory firm, calls “risk in high-definition.”

Too smart to fail

According to a paper published earlier this year, Risk in HD technology – including out-of-the-box products – provides end users with current, real-time risk analytics and information across a broad band of enterprise-related areas including valuations, liquidity, and counterparty exposure. This unparalleled data convergence provides market participants with real-time insights into microlevels of risk data.

With more clarity, institutions benefit from enhanced detail and greater transparency while allowing a holistic view. Risk in HD has the potential to change the way risk is viewed by enabling a continuous, real-time analysis of an institution’s risk profile.

And while we can cross our fingers that all of the too-big-to-fail banks will make the best use of this technology, the good news is that it’s affordable and customizable for use by all those big-enough-to-be-a-problem institutions too.

Mitigating risk mitigation software

In the report, the TABB Group highlights three important features that financial institutions should consider when shopping for software. They include:

  • Customizable – Risk in HD software and support must be easily customizable to each institution and its specific needs.
  • Configurable – The system must suit the needs of the individual asset class to be analyzed and maintained. It must be able to collect and analyze radically different data structures in real time.
  • Adaptable – Risk in HD systems must be able to adapt to new data types, message formats, and both structured and semi-structured data. Updating the system to enable it to capture new data formats and types must be quick and easy.

To learn more about Risk in HD and the technology that supports it, read the TABB Group report.


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Mobile Phones Set To Reduce Banking Branches In 2014

Tom Groenfeldt

This is the year that mobile banking will really make a dent in branch networks, according to IMG_0814James DeBello, CEO and president of Mitek, a company that is helping make that happen. It introduced remote deposit capture — take a picture of a check with your smartphone and send the image to your bank. Now it is introducing mobile account sign-up, so you can open an account from your phone or tablet without ever setting foot in branch. Just shoot images of the front and back of your drivers license.

With the emergence of “mobile first” and “mobile only” consumer segments, financial institutions will need to tailor marketing strategies to address their unique requirements, Mitek said in its 2014 predictions. “A growing population of consumers will abandon traditional banking relationships altogether, opting instead to never set foot in a branch. The new year will mark the tipping point where organizations start to market directly to mobile-only users.”

That will require making the process easier. DeBello said that 90 million Americans tried to enroll in banking through digital channels and 25 percent abandoned the process. The company thinks imaging will make mobile banking more attractive because it won’t force customers to do much on their small phone keypads.

By the end of 2014, 90 percent of the US population will have access to mobile deposit, said DeBello. Using a mobile phone, users can take pictures of a bill pay stub or a credit card balance and transfer them to another bank or pay bills with images.

“We believe that mobile banking will be adopted by 60 percent or more of smartphone users by the end of 2014.”

“We have passed the tipping point and will see continued adoption,” agreed Mark Ranta, senior product marketing manager at ACI Worldwide, an electronic payments firm. “Adoption numbers far surpass what we expected at banks,  and we think the numbers will continue their meteoric rise.”

“I think the trajectory of tablet and smartphone use is going to continue at a torrid pace,” said DeBello. He also expects wearable devices to enter mainstream use much faster than most industry experts are predicting. One of the big switches as this mobile banking evolves is the use of the camera, and apps, to replace the keyboard.

“We are trying to address usability. It is all about eliminating keystrokes, digitizing data without typing it,” DeBello explained Banks can’t just take their paper or online enrollment processes and ask people to fill in the blanks on a phone’s tiny screen. Instead, Mitek can read documents and then it depends on its bank customers to write the apps to make the information from the image capture useful.

“The mobile-only consumer is a new phenomenon,” said DeBello, who used to work at Qualcomm’s Internet Service Division. “We anticipated this a decade ago, but what people didn’t anticipate was that it would be to the exclusion of desktops and laptops. No one is growing that business. People are depending on these mobile devices only, and they don’t want to go to a branch.”

For traditional banks, which already have a weak grip on customers, this could be a huge headache. Customers can snap their current statements, whether bank accounts, credit cards, insurance or even mortgages, and instantly compare them to other offers and then immediately transfer the balances or the business.

US Bank branch in ChicagoThink your mortgage is too high?

“You aren’t going to enter data or call a call center; people are busy,” said DeBello. “People with today’s lifestyles want it quickly and conveniently. Now you can snap a picture of your statement and get a counteroffer from a mortgage provider, insurance carrier or a credit card.”

JPMorgan Chase was the first national bank to offer mobile deposit, DeBello said, and they picked up new customers as a result. Reviews on the app stores had comments from customers of other banks who said they would switch if their bank didn’t offer mobile deposit soon.

“But if you are slow and don’t address mobile, you will lose,” he added. Mitek launched mobile deposit in 2008, it began gaining users in 2010 and by 2013 it had 20 million users.

English: Ellen DeGeneres in 2009.“I think that in 2014 it will be part of the regular vocabulary of banking. You can’t have a bank without mobile and mobile deposit.” Qualcomm figured new technology would take eight years from launch to mainstream adoption, he added, but mobile is moving faster. He provided a link to Ellen DeGeneres doing a monologue about depositing checks by phone on her daytime TV show.

Besides saving customers time, mobile deposit saves the banks money, because it is about $4 cheaper to take a deposit by phone than by teller. While traditional banks are working to meet new regulatory requirements, new bank initiatives like Ally and American Express Bluebird that are less encumbered can move ahead fast with mobile.

Peter Roe, an analyst at UKTechMarketView, wrote about mobile banking: “There are two fundamental principles to the payments industry; it is a scale business so volumes are vital and it is dependent on partnerships and good cooperation between industry players. These fundamentals create an interesting dynamic as innovative ideas and technology are injected by new companies into a usually staid and slow-moving industry, populated by large, comfortable and slow-moving incumbents.

Roe thinks the appeal will be greatest among millennials — who will eventually become the mainstream — and among people who just don’t like to deal with banks. Now they can use their mobile phones to deposit checks, pay bills and transfer money to friends and family.

The effects of mobile banking will extend beyond finance, according to a study that ACI Worldwide conducted with 5,200 mobile consumers in 17 countries.

“People who owned a smart phone changed their financial shopping and payment behavior,” said Michael Grillo, another senior product marketing manager at ACI Worldwide. “They were more willing use the phone for shopping, for banking, to purchase goods or search for better deals. As people continue to purchase smart phones and get more comfortable with them, we will see an evolution in the types of activity they use them for.”

“The smartphone creates a new dynamic for the user,” Roe wrote in his report. “The experience is much better than on-line for quick transactions (e.g. buying a train ticket, rather than buying a holiday). With its increased functionality and the fact that it is always close by and always switched on, the device has become central to the management of many people’s personal lives.”

2014 should be a challenging one for banks trying to keep pace with mobile users.


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