Category: Big Data

The downside of wearable fitness technology

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 16 days ago

It’s almost the time of year for making New Year resolutions, and as always, fitness goals will top most lists. With so many fitness products and technologies available, there are no shortage of tools to help to those goals come to fruition. As reported by Investor’s Business Daily, Morgan Stanley “expects wearable device shipments to increase from 6 million units in 2013 to 248 million in 2017.” Samsung has issued its own research, saying “it expects spending on technology such as smartwatches and fitness trackers to increase by 182% this Christmas, compared with last Christmas.”  So is there a wearable fitness device on your wish list—or shopping list—this year?

The options are starting to feel endless. According to Wired, “As of September 30 [2014], there were 266 wearable devices on the market (including 118 fitness wearables), with 23 slated for release before the year is out.” Most fitness trackers monitor activity, steps, calories, sleep, and more. Popular devices come from FitBit, Jawbone, Garmin, Samsung, Microsoft, TomTom, and other technology and sports equipment vendors. Fitness bracelets, for example, monitor everything from your heart rate to your sleep cycle, providing a range of metrics that can be analyzed on smartphones and/or computer applications.

What to do with all this data? Users can decide to increase the amount of time they exercise, add more walking steps to their daily routine, adjust their hours of sleep, or recalibrate their calorie intake. The metrics these technologies provide are intended to help users eliminate the “mystery” behind meeting their own fitness goals, whatever they may be.

But what most consumers don’t realize is a potential big downside to these smart devices: the potential loss of privacy. While the average consumer may think that the data collected lives on their device or in their app, it really lives on servers owned and maintained by the device providers. For this reason, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has called these devices a “privacy nightmare.”

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The case for a corporate sustainability dashboard

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 month and 14 days ago

A recent article in MIT Sloan Management Review, "Bridging the Sustainability Gap," details the challenges businesses face in getting investors to recognize--and presumably reward--sustainability efforts. In essence, corporate sustainability efforts are growing in importance, but mainstream investors do not yet view them as relevant. The challenge, as laid out by the article, is that for investors to care, companies need to be able to measure and report on their sustainability initiatives and results. But why measure something few people seem to care about? It's a classic, chicken-or-the-egg dilemma.

The article states, "With modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) technologies and software, it's a solvable problem if management has the will." So maybe now is the time for companies to build and rely on a sustainability performance management dashboard. Corporate dashboards are used throughout many large enterprises and mid-sized businesses to measure, monitor, and make decisions on data for managing finances, operations, risk, and more. If you can measure it, and have trusted data to rely on, chances are you can create a dashboard for it. 

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“Unreally” engaging online learning

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 4 months and 19 days ago

Imagine, if you will, that you are sitting in a conference room in Kendall Square on Friday, October 26, 2012. Hurricane Sandy has swept through the Caribbean, ravaged the east coast of the U.S., and is barreling towards New England. Domestic and international flights are being cancelled by the thousands.

On Tuesday morning of that week, MIT Sloan Executive Education is expecting over a hundred executives to attend a hot new program on managing in the era of big data. If you cancel, which surely you must, you will not be able to reschedule this for many more months.

This is the scenario Dr. Peter Hirst, Executive Director of Executive Education, MIT Sloan School of Management presented to attendees of the MIT Technology Review Digital Summit. The Summit, which took place in mid-June 2014, examined tomorrow’s digital technologies and explained their global impact on both business and society.


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Will big data go away?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 6 months and 13 days ago

That was just one of the many questions debated during the “Big Data, Analytics and Insights” session at this year’s MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, held in late May 2014. The panel was moderated by Professor Tom Davenport, Fellow with the MIT Center for Digital Business, and included Barry Morris, Founder & CEO of NuoDB; Darrell Fernandes, CIO of the Professional Services Group at Fidelity Investments; Don Taylor, CTO of Benefitfocus; and Puneet Batra, Founder of LevelTrigger.

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Information diffusion: planned not random

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 months and 13 days ago

Thanks to the data revolution—big data coming at light speed from internal and external sources—we have moved beyond the Internet era into the information era, and according to experts, the data revolution is going to make the Internet revolution look like a movie trailer to the main attraction.

But what does this mean for the future of business? How will the information era change business organizations? According to Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor of Information Technology at MIT Sloan School of Management, organizations that can diffuse the outside and internal communication streams into crucial information delivered to key employees will be the most productive and the most profitable.

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Big data shouldn’t mean business as usual

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 months and 19 days ago

The big data gold rush has become a stampede. Technology vendors are racing to bring big data solutions to the market, and companies with a never-ending flow of data are looking to big data to make better sense of their business—and to generate better value as a result.

The challenge is that amidst all this hype, the true value of leveraging big data may be lost as companies continue to operate as “business as usual.” As Tom Davenport, Fellow with the MIT Center for Digital Business, shared in a Booz & Company article, “A lot of [companies] aren’t really thinking differently about what to do with Big Data. Instead, they’re simply asking, ‘How can we use these technologies to save money?’”

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Pitch perfect: Using human signals to convince and persuade

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 8 months and 3 days ago

The art of the business plan pitch could fill volumes of b-school literature. But what if the real secret sauce had less to do with content and everything to do with delivery?

Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, Director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, has conducted research around the power of unconscious forms of communication. The tools have revealed subtle patterns in how people interact, enabling Pentland and his colleagues to predict outcomes of situations ranging from job interviews to first dates to pitches for funding.

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