Cisco hopes to drive more use of video conferencing products in meeting rooms -- it said only 7 percent of meeting rooms in the world have video conferencing -- by learning from consumer markets. New products and services aim to make the products cheaper and easier to use. They'll also tie in products like phones and tablets that most people have with them during meetings.
Why Appirio issued Jawbone fitness monitors to employees
There are plenty of consumer tools that jump to mind as useful for boosting productivity at work. Smartphones, tablets, and apps like Evernote and DropBox.
How about fitness monitors? Appirio thinks so.
It has issued Jawbone UP monitors to 200 employees as part of an internal fitness and wellness program and said that benefits include increased productivity and employee satisfaction as well as the more tangible insurance savings.
Appirio is working with Jawbone on new features that will let it aggregate user data as well as tie corporate information into the Jawbone dashboard. In about a month it expects to have completed integration that will feed Jawbone data into Salesforce and Chatter, also.
The roots of the initiative go back to the very start of the company.
“We’ve always had an athletic and competitive culture,” said Chris Barbin, co-founder and CEO of Appirio, a seven-year-old business with around 700 employees who help enterprises migrate to public cloud services. From the start, the company would coordinate activities like working toward marathons.
Earlier this year, however, the company decided to formalize its fitness activities into a new program. Dubbed CloudFit, it includes offering employees Jawbone UP fitness monitors and hiring a “virtual trainer” who uses Chatter to set workouts, offer advice on nutrition and offer encouragement.
“It’s been fascinating to watch,” Barbin said. “The combination of a social network on Chatter plus the virtual trainer plus the data we’re getting out of the UP band has driven some very cool results in a short period of time.”
Appirio considered the Nike FuelBand but settled on the Jawbone UP because of its longer battery life and because it collects sleep data. “For me, that’s important because I don’t sleep well,” he said. “My personal goal this year is to sleep more. It drives more productivity.”
Appirio also picked the UP because Jawbone was willing to work with it on aggregating data and integrating with corporate systems.
For now, workers can monitor their activity and sleep data through the standard Jawbone dashboard. There, they can create teams and comment on each other’s progress. They can sort data about their team to look at who logged the most activity or had the best sleep.
“There’s a little competitive vibe that kicks in,” Barbin said. “I get grief from people because my sleep patterns generally stink. And one of my cofounders, Glenn [Weinstein], says if he has to walk his dog at the end of the night he’ll do that to one-up me” in terms of total activity for the day.
Appirio is working on integrating corporate data into the dashboards so that it can organize teams around the company’s structure. That would allow it to set up competitions between work groups or between offices in different regions of the world.
In addition, Appirio is working on automating ways to aggregate data. Currently, it’s doing that manually by exporting the data to Google Docs where it can manipulate it. By doing so, it learned that one-third of employee Jawbone UP users have lost 10 pounds since they’ve had the monitors – a little more than two months. Barbin also discovered that his UP team, which includes 75 members, has walked more than 10,000 miles since the program started.
Google Docs and Google Sheets are getting more useful for consumers and enterprises with the addition of third-party tools that enable neat new functionalities.