Amazon Alexa is luring health developers, but it will be a while before we use it to call a doctor

If you want to schedule a doctor’s appointment or check on the status of a medication without picking up the phone, Amazon Alexa can help. As of this week, the voice assistant is HIPAA compliant, which means Amazon can work with hospitals and other health providers that manage protective health data to share personal information on an Echo. Currently, Amazon is working with applications on an invite-only basis, and none of the initial six developers link patients with doctors. “It’s tricky,” sai


If you want to schedule a doctor’s appointment or check on the status of a medication without picking up the phone, Amazon Alexa can help. As of this week, the voice assistant is HIPAA compliant, which means Amazon can work with hospitals and other health providers that manage protective health data to share personal information on an Echo. Currently, Amazon is working with applications on an invite-only basis, and none of the initial six developers link patients with doctors. “It’s tricky,” sai
Amazon Alexa is luring health developers, but it will be a while before we use it to call a doctor Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-14  Authors: christina farr, luke macgregor, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, theres, health, wrong, amazon, developers, information, consults, working, luring, alexa, medical, doctor, week


Amazon Alexa is luring health developers, but it will be a while before we use it to call a doctor

If you want to schedule a doctor’s appointment or check on the status of a medication without picking up the phone, Amazon Alexa can help.

As of this week, the voice assistant is HIPAA compliant, which means Amazon can work with hospitals and other health providers that manage protective health data to share personal information on an Echo.

But what users can’t do yet is connect with a doctor or a therapist through the device, and it might be a few years before they can. Currently, Amazon is working with applications on an invite-only basis, and none of the initial six developers link patients with doctors.

Developers focused on digital health have concerns about using home speakers like the Echo and Google Home for medical consults because privacy issues continue to emerge and there’s too much risk in sensitive health information falling into the wrong hands. Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that thousands of employees listen in to snippets of conversations on Alexa to supposedly improve the product experience.

“It’s tricky,” said Robbie Cape, CEO of 98point6, a Seattle-based company that provides virtual medical consults via smartphones and the web. “To uphold user trust, I can imagine that Amazon Alexa would need to confirm they’re talking to the right person, but also that there’s no one else in the room listening to the conversation.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-14  Authors: christina farr, luke macgregor, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, theres, health, wrong, amazon, developers, information, consults, working, luring, alexa, medical, doctor, week


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New Apple Watch is luring baby boomers by focusing on health and wellness

Apple has a new demographic in mind for its new Apple Watch: your parents. On Wednesday, at its product showcase in Cupertino, California, Apple announced a host of new health features for the fourth series of the Apple Watch that are clearly targeted at aging users. The Apple Watch isn’t cheap and could be too pricey for people who live on a fixed income and are already spending huge sums on managing a chronic disease. Apple is starting to work with insurance companies like Aetna, which could l


Apple has a new demographic in mind for its new Apple Watch: your parents. On Wednesday, at its product showcase in Cupertino, California, Apple announced a host of new health features for the fourth series of the Apple Watch that are clearly targeted at aging users. The Apple Watch isn’t cheap and could be too pricey for people who live on a fixed income and are already spending huge sums on managing a chronic disease. Apple is starting to work with insurance companies like Aetna, which could l
New Apple Watch is luring baby boomers by focusing on health and wellness Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-09-12  Authors: christina farr, stephen lam, todd haselton
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, baby, apple, health, focusing, isnt, users, targeted, older, boomers, mind, luring, watch, medical, wellness, user


New Apple Watch is luring baby boomers by focusing on health and wellness

Apple has a new demographic in mind for its new Apple Watch: your parents.

On Wednesday, at its product showcase in Cupertino, California, Apple announced a host of new health features for the fourth series of the Apple Watch that are clearly targeted at aging users.

The device recognizes when a user has fallen and has another feature to detect a heart condition called Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), which is more common in seniors.

“Fall prevention, AFib detection and slow heart rate alerts are ideally targeted to baby boomers, where the prevalence of these conditions is much higher,” said Jeffrey Wessler, a cardiology fellow at Columbia University Medical Center. “If, and that’s a big if, Apple can get older populations to properly use the devices, the results could be outcome-changing.”

But getting this technology to seniors isn’t as simple as it might seem.

The Apple Watch isn’t cheap and could be too pricey for people who live on a fixed income and are already spending huge sums on managing a chronic disease. And the user experience, while improving, still has a long way to go before it’s intuitive to those who didn’t grow up on smart devices and touchscreens (check out what happened when this reporter gave a previous generation of an Apple Watch to her 60-something mother).

Apple is starting to work with insurance companies like Aetna, which could lead to the watch being subsidized for millions of people.

In another important step, Apple also said on Wednesday that the new Apple Watch is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for taking an electrocardiogram, or ECG, which measures the heart’s rhythm.

This is likely just the beginning of Apple’s dive into health monitoring and its direct appeal to older users, who are at high risk for a range of medical conditions.

By marketing the device as an “intelligent health guardian,” as Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams described it on stage, the watch offers peace of mind to users and their friends and family members. That could mean a big boost in sales as we get closer to the holiday season and millennials are seeking out the perfect gift for mom and dad.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-09-12  Authors: christina farr, stephen lam, todd haselton
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, baby, apple, health, focusing, isnt, users, targeted, older, boomers, mind, luring, watch, medical, wellness, user


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How Amazon is luring shoppers with its private label business

“Amazon can then turn around and create a private label for a similar product but improve upon it based on what customers say.”When Amazon introduces a new private-label product, it doesn’t go all in. But, perhaps more important, Amazon has utilized a reviewing program called Amazon Vine for many of its private-label goods. Amazon Vine, or Vine Voices, are very active reviewers on the Amazon marketplace who are then invited by the company to participate in its Vine program, which identifies them


“Amazon can then turn around and create a private label for a similar product but improve upon it based on what customers say.”When Amazon introduces a new private-label product, it doesn’t go all in. But, perhaps more important, Amazon has utilized a reviewing program called Amazon Vine for many of its private-label goods. Amazon Vine, or Vine Voices, are very active reviewers on the Amazon marketplace who are then invited by the company to participate in its Vine program, which identifies them
How Amazon is luring shoppers with its private label business Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-06-24  Authors: julio creswell, kyle walsh
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, data, products, luring, label, product, amazon, privatelabel, brands, vine, shoppers, reviews, amazons, business, private


How Amazon is luring shoppers with its private label business

‘Data That No One Else Has’

Amazon’s advantage over traditional retailers is its knowledge and access to data from its platform.

Take word searches. About 70 percent of the word searches done on Amazon’s search browser are for generic goods. That means consumers are typing in “men’s underwear” or “running shoes” rather than asking, specifically, for Hanes or Nike.

For Amazon, those word searches by consumers allow it to put its private-label products in front of the consumer and make sure they appear quickly. In addition, Amazon has the emails of the consumers who performed searches on its site and can email them directly or use pop-up ads on other websites to direct those consumers back to Amazon’s marketplace.

Some of this data is also available to big brands or vendors selling on Amazon’s platform through a program called Amazon Retail Analytics Premium. But it is expensive, with vendors paying 1 percent of their wholesale cost of goods sold to Amazon or a minimum of $100,000 to get access to a database that lets them see to some, but not all, of the data Amazon has compiled.

“Amazon has access to data that nobody else has,” said James Thomson, a former Amazon executive who now works at Buy Box Experts, a consulting firm that advises companies on how to build their brands and sell products on Amazon. “I can’t just walk into a store and say, ‘Excuse me, did you look at this brand of cereal this morning and decide not to buy it?’ Amazon has that data. They know you looked at a brand and didn’t buy it and they’re not going to share that data with any other brands.”

With that data, Amazon is able to conduct regional or one-day price tests, dropping the cost of its goods in certain markets to discover at what price more customers purchase the item.

And while traditional retailers can readily scan their sales data and understand what size shirts and colors sell and which ones don’t, Amazon has hundreds of reviews of competitors’ products on its website, providing customer feedback on how the shirt looked after five washes or how it fit different body types.

“Amazon can analyze those reviews and figure out why customers were dissatisfied with a certain product,” said Cooper Smith, an analyst at research firm Gartner L2. “Amazon can then turn around and create a private label for a similar product but improve upon it based on what customers say.”

When Amazon introduces a new private-label product, it doesn’t go all in. It often uses a technique analysts call “test-and-repeat,” ordering a small batch of product from its manufacturers, testing demand and then, if the product is successful, reordering a bigger batch of product as well as expanding its assortment.

Again, here, Amazon has a big leg up on traditional retailers. Most retailers appeal to one segment of consumer — the budget, midmarket, or higher-end shopper. Amazon can offer a variety of private-label goods, positioned toward shoppers in different categories, says Deborah Weinswig, the founder and chief executive of Coresight Research.

For instance, through Amazon’s Pinzon brand, it offers a queen-size hypoallergenic mattress topper for $40.37. But it also sells a mattress topper through its AmazonBasics private label for $22.99.

Similarly, Amazon sells men’s button-down shirts under both the Amazon Essentials and Goodthreads labels. Analysts at research firm Gartner L2 found, on best-selling products, the Goodthreads apparel cost 60 percent more.

But, perhaps more important, Amazon has utilized a reviewing program called Amazon Vine for many of its private-label goods.

Amazon Vine, or Vine Voices, are very active reviewers on the Amazon marketplace who are then invited by the company to participate in its Vine program, which identifies them as influential reviewers. In exchange for free products, which they disclose receiving, the reviewers agree to write evaluations on Amazon’s site.

Amazon has actively used Vine Voices to help introduce its private label brands. An analysis of more than 1,600 products across ten of Amazon’s private-label brands, including AmazonBasics, Amazon Essentials, Mama Bear, Pinzon, Goodthreads, and others, showed that about half had Vine reviews. Of those 835 products, more than half of the first 30 reviews were from the Vine program, according to ReviewMeta.com, an online tool that helps customers identify inauthentic reviews.

While, for the most part, the Vine and non-Vine reviews were similarly rated, in a handful of cases, the Vine reviews were significantly better. For instance, Vine reviews for Amazon’s Mama Bear diapers and baby products averaged 4.36 stars; non-Vine reviews averaged 3.82 stars.

Amazon Vine is also available to non-Amazon brands, but, specifics around how the program works are difficult to determine because Amazon doesn’t make it public. But many analysts say it is fairly expensive to participate, saying it can cost manufacturers as much as $5,000 to obtain reviews for one product, along with the cost of giving the product away. (The money to participate goes to Amazon; the Vine reviewers receive no compensation beyond the free product.)

A spokeswoman for the company said Amazon does not incentivize positive star ratings or attempt to influence the content of reviews. She also said that the company limits the total number of Vine reviews that it displays for each product.

“What’s happening on Amazon is different than you see in brick-and-mortar stores,” said Kevin Grundy, an analyst at investment bank Jefferies. “There, private label brands might take slightly more than 10 percent market share. Amazon’s private label brands are taking more than 25 percent of the online market.”

Mr. Grundy said when the contract for the AmazonBasics batteries, which are currently made by a manufacturer in the Far East, next comes up for bid, likely bidders could include Energizer and Duracell.

The next frontier? Alexa. Competitors and industry analysts are closely watching Amazon’s voice-operated platform, wondering whether Amazon will use that rapidly growing arena to further steer consumers to its own brands.

In a voice test of various categories using the Amazon Echo devices last year, researchers at Bain & Co., found in categories in which Amazon offered a private-label product, Alexa recommended those products 17 percent of the time. Noting that the private label goods represent only about 2 percent of total volume sold, the Bain researchers said, “the online retailer clearly positions its own private labels favorably in voice shopping.”

An Unfair Advantage?

Early last year, the Yale Law Journal published a note that was simply titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.”

The essay, written by a law student named Lina Khan, argued, essentially, that the current framing of the nation’s antitrust laws have not evolved to deal with the market power of technology giants like Amazon.

Just a few weeks earlier, The Capitol Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based news service that examines business and regulation, published a story arguing Amazon risked antitrust enforcement by the Trump administration for using its algorithms and platform to promote its own products over “those of merchants that are dependent on Amazon’s platform and with whom Amazon competes.”

The articles fed into a growing debate among economists and lawyers around whether Amazon is displaying monopolistic or anticompetitive behavior in its marketplace.

Amazon has two strong defenses when these issues are raised.

At least since the 1970s, courts have been very skeptical of antitrust plaintiffs who can’t show that the challenged conduct would cause prices to go up or quality to go down. In this case, Amazon can argue, quite vehemently that, through its platform, consumers are paying lower prices, say legal experts.

And while Amazon’s brands have quickly gained market share on its platform in some areas, in other segments, such as apparel, they account for less than 1 percent of the inventory sold. And when broadened out to include brick-and-mortar stores, its online share of the battery market equals less than 5 percent. Until Amazon’s share of the total market starts to reach closer to 40 percent or more, it is difficult to argue there is an attempted-monopolization case, say legal experts.

But if its private-label business grows as analysts expect it to do, could it face a legal challenge of whether it is a “monopsony”? In a monopsony, a large buyer controls a large proportion of the market and drives prices down.

“If Amazon is not making its competitors available on voice and Alexa, well, that sounds like possible exclusionary conduct to me,” said Mr. Sagers. “If a federal court could be convinced that there is a market for in-home, voice retail distribution and that Amazon controls it, then I think Amazon could be looking at a monopsony case.”

Still, others argue a dominant question in any sort of antitrust action has been whether the company’s actions or a planned merger would harm consumers.

“You have to show that the end game is some sort of consumer harm, either through higher prices or lower quality,” said Herbert Hovenkamp, an antitrust professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Wharton School. “And so far, Amazon doesn’t even show up on the radar screen when it comes to consumer harm.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-06-24  Authors: julio creswell, kyle walsh
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, data, products, luring, label, product, amazon, privatelabel, brands, vine, shoppers, reviews, amazons, business, private


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Microsoft is luring A.I. developers to its cloud by offering them faster chips

As the cloud battle heats up, Microsoft is taking a unique approach to silicon that it says can help developers more quickly perform artificial intelligence computing tasks. Microsoft announced that the chips will be accessible for the first time on Monday at the Build Developer conference. According to Microsoft, these chips will enable faster processing of images with AI models than what’s available from Amazon Web Services or Google’s cloud. Those companies and others like China’s Alibaba off


As the cloud battle heats up, Microsoft is taking a unique approach to silicon that it says can help developers more quickly perform artificial intelligence computing tasks. Microsoft announced that the chips will be accessible for the first time on Monday at the Build Developer conference. According to Microsoft, these chips will enable faster processing of images with AI models than what’s available from Amazon Web Services or Google’s cloud. Those companies and others like China’s Alibaba off
Microsoft is luring A.I. developers to its cloud by offering them faster chips Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-05-07  Authors: jordan novet, source, scott eklund red box pictures
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, ai, faster, processing, chips, available, fpgas, microsofts, microsoft, offering, cloud, developers, luring, project, units


Microsoft is luring A.I. developers to its cloud by offering them faster chips

As the cloud battle heats up, Microsoft is taking a unique approach to silicon that it says can help developers more quickly perform artificial intelligence computing tasks.

An initiative called Project Brainwave lets developers in Microsoft’s data centers use field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), which can be customized even after they’ve been plugged into servers. Microsoft announced that the chips will be accessible for the first time on Monday at the Build Developer conference.

According to Microsoft, these chips will enable faster processing of images with AI models than what’s available from Amazon Web Services or Google’s cloud. Those companies and others like China’s Alibaba offer an assortment of chips, ranging from graphics processing units (GPUs) from Nvidia to Google’s homegrown tensor processing units (TPUs).

Microsoft says another advantage to using commercially available FPGAs, manufactured by longtime partner Intel, is that companies will be able to set up similar technology in their own locations, and not be limited to working in the cloud. That’s part of Microsoft’s strategy of providing more flexibility to customers.

“It’s not like we’re sacrificing performance or a competitive angle by going with the FPGAs,” said Doug Burger, leader of Project Brainwave. “I think we are owning our own destiny.”

The chips will initially be available within Microsoft’s Azure machine learning service for 42 cents an hour. Over time, Microsoft will give developers direct access to the chips, said Burger, who is also a distinguished engineer at the company.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-05-07  Authors: jordan novet, source, scott eklund red box pictures
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, ai, faster, processing, chips, available, fpgas, microsofts, microsoft, offering, cloud, developers, luring, project, units


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Golf is trying to shed its image as an old man’s sport and is luring bloggers to push that message

Dieck, 26, is among a handful of social media influencers hired by the PGA Tour to tout the sport to younger audiences during the Northern Trust tournament this week. Dieck’s social media peers will include other fashion writers, foodies and mommy bloggers. Millennials are showing their interest in golf in other ways, which is clear by the popularity of gaming company Topgolf and the PGA Tour Superstore. “We’re in the business of golf,” said Preston McClellan, senior manager of digital communica


Dieck, 26, is among a handful of social media influencers hired by the PGA Tour to tout the sport to younger audiences during the Northern Trust tournament this week. Dieck’s social media peers will include other fashion writers, foodies and mommy bloggers. Millennials are showing their interest in golf in other ways, which is clear by the popularity of gaming company Topgolf and the PGA Tour Superstore. “We’re in the business of golf,” said Preston McClellan, senior manager of digital communica
Golf is trying to shed its image as an old man’s sport and is luring bloggers to push that message Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2017-08-22  Authors: michelle castillo, getty images
Keywords: news, games, cnbc, companies, luring, message, tour, know, old, image, senior, mans, push, media, pga, golf, trying, social, week, world, shed, sport


Golf is trying to shed its image as an old man's sport and is luring bloggers to push that message

Alexandra Dieck is known for touting the latest fashion trends on her blog Lexicon of Style. Later this week, she’ll be tackling a rather unexpected subject: golf.

Dieck, 26, is among a handful of social media influencers hired by the PGA Tour to tout the sport to younger audiences during the Northern Trust tournament this week. Dieck’s social media peers will include other fashion writers, foodies and mommy bloggers.

“We are creating a totally new experience in addition to great golf that is inherently more social and fun, and we want more people to know about it,” said Julie Tyson, PGA Tour’s senior vice president of championship management. “We are widening our circle of storytellers to include influencers we know our fans already look to for insights and information.”

While golf is not traditionally thought of as a sport for youngsters, 26 percent of those who play are between the ages of 18 and 34 years, and they collectively spend about $5 billion on the sport, according to a study by the National Golf Foundation.

Millennials are showing their interest in golf in other ways, which is clear by the popularity of gaming company Topgolf and the PGA Tour Superstore. But for the sport to grow, it needs overcome the image that it’s only for rich, white men.

“We’re in the business of golf,” said Preston McClellan, senior manager of digital communications at the PGA Tour. “It’s an everyman sport. It’s not an elite sport. It’s not something you have to go to a country club to enjoy.”

On the pro circuit, youth is winning. Of the top 10 golfers in the world, eight are under age 35, according to the official world golf ranking. Fans are getting used to the names Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2017-08-22  Authors: michelle castillo, getty images
Keywords: news, games, cnbc, companies, luring, message, tour, know, old, image, senior, mans, push, media, pga, golf, trying, social, week, world, shed, sport


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