Tag Archives: wearable technology

Google Pixel Buds Translate 40 Languages in Real Time

Language can be a great way to unite people, but it can also be a great barrier when people speak different languages. After all, not everyone speaks multiple languages fluently, and it can definitely be hard to navigate or do business in a country when one does not understand that language.

In the sci-fi classic book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, traveler Arthur Dent had the use of a ‘babel fish’ to translate all alien languages. (The small, yellow fish when placed in the ear can help the listener instantly understand anything said, in any form of language.) Now, it seems that real-life is imitating science fiction with the recent announcement of Google Pixel Buds.

The blue-tooth ear buds have many functions similar to other ear buds (assistant, messaging, music, etc.) but they also have one striking new feature – the ability to translate language in real-time when paired with the Pixel 2 phone. Languages included are Arabic, Swedish, French, Japanese, German, Chinese, and many more.

Here’s how it works: Tap and hold down the right earbud, thereby activating Google Assistant (paired with a Pixel 2 phone in your bag or pocket).  Then, ask for help speaking a language. This then activates Google Translate, and you speak the phrase you need translated. The translated phrase appears on the phone screen and is read out of the phone speaker. The person you are speaking to then holds down the mic button and speaks the answer, which is then translated directly into the ear buds.

Voilà!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show a video of the Google Pixel headphone launch event: https://youtu.be/Q5bA12koB-g
  2. View product information: https://store.google.com/us/product/google_pixel_buds?hl=en-US
  3. Poll students: Who would be interested in using these? Why or why not?
  4. Other translators and devices also exist. Have students research other models and compare with Pixel ear buds.
  5. Discuss target markets and market segmentation.
  6. Have students develop a target market profile for this device.
  7. What should the marketing plan be for the new ear buds?

Source:  Google, The Verge, CNBC, New York Times, other news sources.

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Google Glass Evolves and Repositions

Remember Google Glass? Google Glass had a short life; it was pulled from the market in 2015 amidst complaints about technology, usefulness, price, and privacy. The original product was focused on consumers as wearable technology. The glasses had a smart heads-up display and camera, allowing users to connect to data and share information and images.

However, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) has now relaunched the product as Glass Enterprise Edition (EE). The new Glass EE is being repositioned into the enterprise/industrial market as wearable tech for workers. Alphabet has been testing Glass EE at locations for companies including Boeing, General Electric, Volkswagen, Samsung, Sutter Health, and DHL.

The Glass EE looks similar to the original, but has a better camera, extended battery life, faster Wi-Fi and processor, and has a new red light that turns on when recording. The electronics are now modular in the shape of a pod which can be detached and reattached to any frame, including safety goggles.

How useful are they? GE reported a 46% decrease in time for certain activities, and 85% of the workers believe the system will help reduce mistakes. Glass EE is sold exclusively through Glass Partners. Prices vary depending on the software customization, customer support, and training.

It’s tough to reposition a failed product, but Glass EE seems ready for an entirely new market.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Review Glass EE product: https://www.x.company/glass/
  3. What products are competitors (direct and indirect)?
  4. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for Glass. Start with the original Google Glass, and then reposition for the Glass EE product.
  5. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  6. Debrief exercise.

Source: Wired, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, other news sources

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Drink Up!

water

Do you drink enough water during the day? Sure, you might intend to drink up regularly, but intentions don’t always match actions. The problem came to a head for an entrepreneur in Minnesota when she continued to experience headaches. The problem, not drinking enough water. And, as often is the case, a problem sends consumers in search of new solutions. Thus, the Hidrate Spark “smart” water bottle was developed.

This is no ordinary water bottle. It features an innovative design and technology that tracks how much water is consumed, lights up when it’s time for more water, and also connects to smartphones and wearable devices such as FitBit. The Bluetooth-connected app records the customer’s height, weight, and activity level. Using location, the app adjusts water goals based on temperature, humidity, and elevation.

The BPA free water bottle holds 24 fluid ounces, has a battery life of one year, and even includes a “don’t leave me behind” tracking – just in case you forgot it behind.

So, go ahead and drink up!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Look around the classroom at the various types of water bottles carried by students. Poll students about how many water bottles they have, and if they believe that they drink enough water.
  2. Show the Kickstarter campaign and videos: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/582920317/hidrateme-smart-water-bottle?ref=nav_search
  3. Show the Hidrate Spark Web site: http://hidratespark.com/
  4. Since water bottles are ubiquitous, this product can be used to illustrate the importance of product differentiation.
  5. Discuss environmental scan factors: social trends, economic trends, technology, competition, regulations.
  6. Divide students into teams and have each team complete an environmental scan for this product.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune  

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