Every week, Ken Whittaker, Director of Engineering, and Neal Cook, Director of Support at Front Rush, review recent tech news, offering analysis and banter about changes in tech.
Neal: Greetings my fellow earthlings!
Ken: Hey Neal, I hope you had a good week!
Let’s get right to it today. Have you ever heard of a company named Amazon? I know you didn’t want to talk Amazon in this week’s blog again, but, as Mugatu said in Zoolander “Amazon is so hot right now”.
Ken: Ha! Yeah, Amazon has definitely not been keeping a low profile the past few weeks. But that’s a good thing. The fact that it’s a household name says a lot about what they’re doing and what people expect from them.
Neal: Amazon made the headlines again this week when it was reported that the e-commerce giant was getting into the Healthcare field – which is a $3 trillion dollar a year industry. Amazon has dubbed this new lab ‘1492’. Health care seems like an easy shoo-in for them, it’s ripe for improvement, and they already have the resources to create some awesome things. Think about it, Amazon already has data and server space up the wazoo, they are heavily invested in artificial intelligence and machine learning, if those are applied to healthcare, the possibilities are endless.
In the near future, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Echo (Amazon’s in home speaker assistance) could take a pin size sample of your blood, quickly analyze your DNA and that jazz, then Alexa would say to you “Ken, you glucose levels are low, eat some sugar. Also, it looks like you might have cancer, I’ve set up a doctors apt with the best cancer doctor in Philadelphia, your blood results and health history have already been transferred to her”.
Ken: Loving the technicality of those statements. What you described would be awesome, but I don’t think any of us know if that’s the direction they’re going to go in. I think if they start with making people aware of their choices and help us all live better lifestyles, that would be a tremendous start. Especially with the acquisition of Whole Foods, I guess we shouldn’t be as surprised about the report regarding this secretly rumored ‘1492’ team. Of course, just as people are concerned with privacy and HIPAA compliance, Amazon will definitely have it’s cards laid out if they want Alexa to ready your blood samples. If people are concerned with Alexa listening in on their conversations, I don’t think they’ll be keep to submit DNA.
Neal: I agree with your point on making people aware of their unhealthy lifestyle patterns and what steps you can take to not only feel better in the short term, but also, what you can do to prevent future illnesses. The healthcare industry as a whole needs to do a better job at preventive care, not just curing you when you are sick, or giving you drugs that do nothing to fix the root cause of the problem.
Let’s do a complete 360 now and talk about something that we can also use our magic ball to predict. The future of a fan experience at a live sporting event. A Huffington Post article gave their thoughts on how sports tech can improve the fan experience. As a sport and rec major at Temple, we often chatted in our classes about the future of live sports. Let’s face it, with jacked up ticket prices, super HD tvs, instant replay, and the comfort of being at your own house, it’s going to take some really cool innovations to get fans to want to shell out their hard-earned dollars to continue to support their team in person.
I’m going to throw the magic ball at you now (DUCK!), as you have a knack for blending current tech trends with the future. What do you think can be done to improve fan experience at stadiums?
Ken: Stadiums – especially MLB for example – have implemented features in their mobile apps that let you order food from your seat and have it delivered to you. Some might call that lazy, but if you paid $x for the ticket, why would you want to go wait in line for 25 minutes while the game is going on? I think other things – such as the huge super HD screens at stadiums (even surrounding them in a basketball or hockey arena) are helpful, but somewhat primitive. I think forcing technology into the stadium experience should be done with caution. It’s a hard balance, because on one hand you don’t go to the game to play on your phone or other smart device. While I obviously love technology and integrating it where appropriate, there’s a time and a place for everything. It’s an intriguing dilemma: the at home experience is as good if not better in many cases than the in person experience. I think the focus should be – what can you do at home that you can’t do at the stadium? Lay sideways on a 3 person couch? Well that’s not really feasible with crowds of 50k people. I think part of the issue is that the in stadium experience is immersive. You go to the stadium for that event, but, at home you are likely doing something else. I’m sure not many people sit in one place for 3 hours from start to end. In my opinion, technology isn’t the inhibitor here.
One interesting concept will be to see if stadiums begin to use Augmented Reality (AR) as a way to hook fans in while at the stadium. If you’re unfamiliar, augmented reality is basically showing digital objects on a screen that don’t exist in real life. For example, sometimes it’s not easy to find out how fast the last pitch was or how many timeouts are left on the screens at the stadium. With AR, you could use your phone to get that information displayed on the screen on top of the live action. Of course, this technology is still being expanded – and fans don’t want to go to a game and put on a bulky headset or look through their phone camera just to get info they have on a TV screen at home – but I think AR has a lot of potential to blend technology and improve the fan experience.
Neal: You read my mind. There’s always the possibility that one day Virtual Reality (VR) get’s so good, you can actually be on the field with the players like you are fully suited up.
That about wraps it up for this week. Steadfast, until next time!
Ken: Looking forward to next week!