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Interview with Nadeem Kassam about Biometric Devices

Nadeem Kassam is a serial entrepreneur and investor who has been focusing on innovation in the health and wellness arena for over a decade. He is a Director at Zynik Capital and founder and Chief Alliance Officer for BASIS, a revolutionary new biometric device. Nadeem’s passion is to make wellness more socially appealing through technology and is a recognized thought leader in this space. If you are interested in learning more from Nadeem Kassam you can visit his blog at www.nadeemkassam.com/blog.


Here are the 5 questions with Nadeem and his answers:

1) Biometric devices like heart rate monitors and accelerometers have been around since you began your journey into exploring health and wellness technology over a decade ago; what has changed in the last 12 months that has made biometric devices much more interesting than they have been in the last 12 years?

Technology is accelerating at an exponential rate, and so everything from batteries, to Bluetooth, to the smartphone ecosystem have become cheaper, faster, and smaller. Also, the space is heating up, from cool start-ups and new entrants like Jawbone, Nike+ and others, increased awareness and technical talent, and – very important – increased venture capital dollars are being allocated to our sector. We used to talk about “when” the mobile space would hit and now we are talking about how fast it is going to explode and then mature…

2) Biometric devices have not yet “crossed the chasm” but they seem to be getting close. In your opinion, what are the signs to look for that will indicate we are reaching the tipping point of mass adoption?

I really like that you’ve asked me “when” will mass adoption occur and not “if”. People like you know it is just assumed, I love that. The signs will come from the press, evident on the wrists of Middle America like the white earphones of the iPod, and when mass amounts of “consumer” health data actually begin to influence healthcare in this country.

3) Do you believe this market will ever consolidate in a similar fashion to digital audio devices and smart phones? Or is the assortment of data available from our bodies large enough that there will always be a need for a large number of biometric device manufacturer types to focus and specialize in specific areas of interest (e.g. weight, movement, blood glucose, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.).

It has been my vision for almost a decade that, “in the end there can only be one.” I don’t mean just one company standing, as I believe there is a lot of space in this huge industry for strong competitors. I mean, that at the end of the day, humans are only going to want one biometric device strapped to their body. I believe the wrist is the natural place for that device. This device will fit within an ecosystem of the smartphone, and the PC/TV, as these devices continue to learn how to interact with our bodies to give true meaning while entertaining us on the way to personal and social well-being.

4) Aside from your involvement with the BASIS device which is extremely exciting, what in the biometric space is on the horizon that excites you the most? In addition, where do you think the industry can do better?

The stuff that excites me the most, unfortunately, I really can’t talk about yet. But let’s just say that medical technology is advancing so fast, that invasive techniques are becoming more passive. But to give you an answer, I find it exciting that the day in which we have consumer devices that are truly medical grade, but possess a user experience that rivals Apple, is not that far away. I’m also very excited about the merger between mind and body and how new technologies will bring what has traditionally been known as ‘biofeedback’ into the mainstream.

It’s not so much what our industry could do better … We are still in the early stages and we are just figuring out collaborations between great companies. Awesome organizations have emerged like Rock Health to foster entrepreneurship in this space and Steve Krein’s StartUp Health program that has been set up to not only foster friendships and synergistic relationships in this industry, but also to help grow the industry as a whole. As a product of our industry’s lifecycle, we are working on what we can do better, and it’s exciting!

5) Borrowing from David Hansson, how do you plan to ‘put a dent in the universe’? When you are done leaving your footprint, how do you want to be remembered?

If there is one thing that I have learned from my father it is that you are never done, it only becomes grander, more enjoyable and relaxed as you get older. I want to be remembered as a great father, leader, and philanthropist to those that knew me, and as a radical spark of change for those who did not. I want to help make a powerful impact on health and wellness in the world and will use fun and entertainment to do just that.

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