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Inside Daily Brief (Aug 15th, 2017)

According to North Korea’s state media, Kim Jong-un has decided not to fire missiles toward Guam at this time. After reviewing his plans and considering it, he said he would rather "watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees.” However, he warned that the U.S. should “not test” North Korea’s patience. Last week, President Trump said that “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely." Guam Homeland Security Advisor George Charfauros says that there will be no change in the threat level to the U.S. territory. – NPR

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A statue designed to commemorate Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia was taken down by demonstrators last night. The statue had been in place since 1924, and it was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. People who took part in demonstrations as the statue was removed held signs reading phrases such as, “F*** Trump” and “Black Lives Matter.” Police allegedly chose to film the crowd, rather than immediately disperse it, in order to make arrests later. “I love it,” said local activist Jackie Wagstaff. “It should been done a long time ago.” – ATLANTIC

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Air Berlin has filed for bankruptcy protection. Germany’s second-largest airline has been reporting losses for years and recently saw its key shareholder, Etihad Airways, withdraw funding. "Lufthansa has played a canny waiting game over a number of years and is now well-placed to cherry pick those parts of Air Berlin's operation that suit it best without buying the whole loss-making enterprise," notes Jonathan Wober, analyst at CAPA-Centre for Aviation. Berlin has granted Air Berlin a loan of $176 million to keep its planes in operation for the next three months as it works through bankruptcy. – REUTERS

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Target has expanded its next-day delivery service, Target Restock. The program, which opened to select customers this past June, is now available in markets including Denver, Colorado and the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. Unlike Amazon, Target does not require customers to sign up for an annual membership like Prime in order to use Restock. Restock orders placed by 2 p.m. on Monday through Friday are delivered the next day; Amazon’s Prime Pantry does not adhere to Prime’s two-day delivery schedule. The Target program is still in the testing phase. – TC

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Grace Mugabe, the first lady of Zimbabwe, will officially be charged with assault. She is accused of attacking 20-year-old Gabriella Engels with an extension cord. "She flipped and just kept beating me with the plug. Over and over,” Engels said. “I had no idea what was going on. I was surprised ... I needed to crawl out of the room before I could run away." South African police minister Fikile Mbalula says Mugabe is not under arrest because she fully cooperated with authorities and handed herself in to officials. However, a case has been opened. – REUTERS

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Syrian rebels say they shot down a Syrian military jet near the country's southern border. The army had recently seized border posts in the area. "It was downed in Wadi Mahmoud in eastern Sweida countryside,” said Saad al Haj, spokesman for the Osoud al Sharqiya rebel group leader. “The wreckage fell in the area and we think the pilot has dropped in a parachute. The search is going on to find him.” Reuters could not independently confirm reports of the downed plane, and Syrian officials could not be immediately reached for comment. – REUTERS

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Thousands of protestors were waiting for President Trump in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan on Monday when he arrived home from his vacation. People shouted chants such as “Shame! Shame! Shame!” as the presidential motorcade approached the building. A nearby group also staged a mock “die-in” funeral for American values. A smaller congregation of pro-Trump supporters were in attendance, waving flags and shouting, “Make America Great Again.” Police set up fencing around the building for protection. – NYDN

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Amazon has launched its first “Instant Pickup” locations at five college campuses. These locations are designed to give shoppers a place to immediately pick up items after ordering them online, ultimately reducing delivery times. Ripley MacDonald, Amazon's director of student programs, notes that the service functions similar to a vending machine. "I want to buy a can of coke because I’m thirsty," he says, as an example. "There’s no chance I’m going to order that on Amazon.com and wait however long it’s going to take for that to ship to me. I can provide that kind of service here.” – REUTERS

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Editor's note: This piece on the Internet of Things wearables market was written by editor/curator Josh Molina. It first appeared in our Inside IoT newsletter last month, and is an example of content that's usually exclusively available to our Premium subscribers

Just like the rapid advancement of the smartphone over the last two decades, the market for wearable IoT devices is exploding. Despite some early missteps, the demand for these devices is not expected to cool off anytime soon.

Wearables come in all shapes and sizes, for a wide cast of people, and even pets. Data-collecting gadgets come in in the form of watches, wristbands, shoes, hats, bicycle helmets, jackets, jewelry, anti-slouch wearable patches.

Like so many Internet of Things items, however, the products are in a state of evolution. Manufacturers are trying to balance convenience with necessity, all while making wearables fashionable and inconspicuous.

"You are at the edge of a new revolution, where from the cell phone, digital technologies, together with all kinds of sensors and actuators and apps and software are moving from your devices onto your body," said Joanna Berzowska, associate professor and chair of the Design and Computation Arts Department at Concordia University, during a 2016 Ted Talk. "Wearable technologies are your future. You are poised at the edge of this really, really exciting and really scary technology revolution."

You've probably heard a lot of mixed information about the state of wearables so far. Some consider them a massive flop. The recent shuttering of fitness wearables manufacturer Jawbone, the first company to produce an activity monitor worn on the wrist, led many to wonder whether the market wasn’t as strong as the hype had predicted. Indeed,  a couple of years ago, everyone who was into fitness trackers was wearing a Fitbit. Some consumers shifted away for the more versatile Apple Watch. Intel, who made the Basis smart watch, recently decided to move from selling the products to focusing on augmented reality. The Galaxy Gear smart watch had a  30 percent return rate after six months.

But these early missteps aren’t necessarily predictors of the wearable market’s future.  According to the International Data Corporation Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, the worldwide wearables market reached a new all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2016.  Shipments reached 33.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016 a growth of 16.9 percent from the same quarter the year prior. Overall shipments for the entire year grew 25 percent because new vendors entered the market. In 2016, about 102.4 million wearable devices shipped around the globe.

If the past is any indication, the wearables industry will move past the fads and into the essentials. For example: We don’t have new cars with giant fins on the back anymore because car manufacturers realized that consumers cared more about fuel efficiency than ornamental features. The future of wearable tech could shift from what's fashionable and fun to what's going to make you healthier, or even save your life.

Smartwatches are expected to play a huge role. Global analyst firm CCS Insight estimates that 43 million smartwatches will be shipped in 2017, with sales doubling over the next four years to 86 million units in 2021.

"It's clear that companies like Apple and Samsung have recognized the success of performance fitness watches and have implemented more and more fitness features into their smartwatches to broaden their appeal,” said George Jijiashvili, wearables analyst at CCS Insight. "There's currently an air of cautious optimism among smartwatch makers, especially as sales of fitness bands appear to have stalled.”

The next generation of wearable devices may be able to warn you that you’re  catching the flu or coming down with some other illness

Health monitors have emerged as the next generation of wearables. While Kickstarter campaigns to fund the next snazzy wearable will continue, large medical corporations will fuel the future of wearables because there's a financial benefit to collecting the information. Health data allow doctors to build better patient profiles and predict then diagnose and treat disease, much sooner than before. Eventually, humans could even swallow smart pills, that will relay data from the insides of our bodies back to an app and a medical professional for analysis.

“The promise of wearables is in the ability to detect and therefore treat illness at an earlier stage,” according to a 2017 report from Stanford Medical Center. “…there’s a market opportunity for healthcare organizations to enter the wearable market by delivering FDA-compliant, HIPAA-compliant devices producing medically robust and relevant data.”

Going forward, just like the smartphone, wearables are going to get smaller, more efficient and provide greater value for customers. Companies have an incentive to embrace better, more fashionable wearables because all of the data collected provide robust advertising opportunities once linked to smart apps. Whether it's a major company such as Apple, or medical institution like Kaiser, the data collected will bring immense savings, and profits, and ultimately convenience and better health.

Like everything with the IoT, however, the industry and its products are rapidly evolving. While some companies will abandon wearables in favor of other priorities, there's far too much value in connecting the human body to a computer and using the data collected to improve people's lives.  

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