Over 100 million wearable medical devices were shipped to consumers around the world over the last three years, according to ABI research. "Wearables aren't just a consumer phenomenon; they have the potential to change the way organizations and workers conduct business," writes J.P Gownder, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
Wearable intelligence is the next chapter of the mobile revolution in emerging technologies. Conservative estimates show that the wearable electronics market will represent more than $2-billion (U.S.) in revenue worldwide by 2018.
Companies can now capture big data through copious numbers of devices, creating productivity gains but also creating privacy and security challenges. Vivametrica, a Calgary-based data analytics platform company, examines data from wearable sensor devices for the assessment of corporate health and wellness programs. Through their services, they are creating a bridge for a healthier population and greater satisfaction in the workplace.
After years of working together on award-winning clinical research and bio-statistical methods, doctors Richard Hu, Christy Lane and Matthew Smuck determined that usage of activity monitors and data set based research would enable insights into health and wellness as individuals and as an aggregate of the company.
With strong support and continuous advice from the startup community, including Innovate Calgary and Startup Calgary, Vivametrica, which started operations in early 2014 and has now over 10 employees, has caught the attention of investors, businesses and health and wellness programs across the city.
According to a Conference Board of Canada report, on average, employee sick days result in $7.4-billion in lost wages a year. The Public Health Agency of Canada found employees who are physically active take 27 per cent fewer sick days and 14 to 25 per cent fewer disability-due-to-injury days. Spurred on by statistics such as these, Vivametrica is well positioned to invest in proactive wellness initiatives alongside corporations.
Vivametrica recognized the need to collect the reams of data originating from these devices, but also to organize and interpret them. However, the need for security and privacy of the information being collected, processed and archived was also paramount, particularly if wearable, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT) are going to harmonize to even a greater extent in the future.
Vivametrica constructed a device-agnostic data system to acquire, standardize and analyze data from wearable technology. Essentially, the platform and its design attributes run equally well across more than one platform. Vivametrica's algorithms ensure that reference data sets are based on population, adhere to regulation and are integrated and linked to other data sets, providing the individual with secure private insights into their health condition. Any commercial or institutional data usage of gathered data is only done in an anonymous and aggregated fashion with the express consent of the individual.
To create a culture of confidence in privacy and security for those collecting and transmitting data, the consent of the individual is obtained if information is to be collected by means of a wearable device. The Privacy Act with strong layers of security authentication is strictly adhered to and privacy controls for conducting research, audits and evaluations are in accordance with the Act.
With a sharp focus on transparency, innovative technological solutions and active employer-employee engagement, Vivametric has become an integral part of the enterprise wearable internet revolution in conjunction with the health and wellness ecosystem. Investors from Calgary and Toronto have shown confidence in the startup and the first seed fund round was oversubscribed in 21 days in Oct. 2014. The first product was launched in Nov. 2014 and Canadian and U.S. pilot programs are being developed with clients in the manufacturing, financial, oil and gas, insurance, education and health sectors. They are looking to expand their team and are currently seeking a second round of funding to support further development. Vivametrica has been presented the A100 One to Watch award and the Top Venture Prospect at Startup Calgary launch party.
Sharaz Khan is a management information systems instructor at the Haskayne School of Business.
This is the latest in a regular series of case studies by a rotating group of business professors from across the country. They now appear every Tuesday on the Report on Small Business website.