True innovators love to defy conventional wisdom and are often laughed at before they are lauded. Visionaries see things differently, and many of today’s leaders are using analytics to change the way we see things, too.
Take basketball, for example.
Every made basket counts for 2 points, unless the shot is made from behind the 3-point line, because it is considered to be a more difficult, lower-percentage shot.
The conventional wisdom has long been to place more emphasis on taking the higher-percentage, 2-point shot. However, over the past decade, the truth behind that convention has been thrown into question.
Why? It’s simple math. Let the numbers explain.
Let’s say that two teams were to take 100 shots each in a basketball game, and Team A only took 2-point shots and Team B only took 3-point shots. What would their odds of winning be?
Well, if Team A made 50% of their 2-point shots and Team B made 35% of their 3-point shots, then Team B would win with 105 points compared to Team A’s 100 points. This seems like simple math, but for years it went overlooked, until an innovative thinker by the name of Daryl Morey began to change the way people view and play the game of basketball by exploring the analytics.
This philosophy has since been dubbed “Moreyball”—similar to Billy Beane’s “moneyball” approach to building a winning team despite financial discrepancies between baseball teams. Now, teams are shooting 3-point shots at a higher rate than at any other point in basketball history.
What changed the game?
People took analytics seriously.
Apple, one of the most innovative companies in history, has begun taking sleep analytics seriously. They recently made a splash when they acquired the Finnish company Beddit, one of the world’s leaders in sleep-tracking technology.
Imagine if Apple could revolutionize the way we track sleep how they revolutionized the way we listen to music or how Daryl Morey changed basketball play by using analytics. Apple’s jump into sleep analytics could be a game changer when it comes to how we look at the way we sleep. And how easily we can access all the data at our fingertips.
Apple is already integrating health data in their tech with their integrated HealthKit system on iPhones; it features a sleep section on the first screen. Considering we pretty much take our phones with us everywhere now—and with the mainstreaming of wearables—people are now PART of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Why is the Beddit acquisition a big deal?
Sleep itself is a big deal.
Sleep and health in general are topics that are very personal and visceral for people. Everyone worries about it because it's an unknown--Am I healthy? Am I doing the right things, making the right decisions?
And sleep is a daily issue--good or bad, it shapes the start of your day and affects the rest.
We all want more, love sleeping in and taking good naps; even if we ironically also love bragging around the coffee pot how overtired and overworked we are. And yet, sleep is something of an unknown too--we're unconscious when we're doing it, so... having concrete, quantifiable data about our sleep is kind of revelatory.
Sleep experts tell us for better sleep not to take our screens to bed with us, for us to wind-down and to remove the blue light, but while we're sleeping, technology could be getting info from us, rather than the other way around.
Until recently, we’ve been able to do very little research on sleep habits outside of anecdotal assessments and primitive levels of sleep tracking. The sleep-tracking technology developed by Beddit that Apple was so interested in acquiring is able to assess your sleep by measuring total sleep time, resting heart rate, respiration rate, how long it took you to fall asleep, how many times you got up, and the amount of deep sleep achieved.
As one of the world’s brightest business minds, Peter Drucker, famously championed, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
Up to this point, we’ve been unable to adequately measure our sleep patterns, which has made getting better sleep harder to achieve.
The Center for Disease Control reports that 50 – 70 million Americans suffer from some sleep-related disorder, and “people experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.”
If we are able to track sleep more efficiently, it could lead to better sleep and a decrease in disorders and illnesses stemming from a failure to get good sleep. This is why there was such a buzz in Silicon Valley at Apple’s serious entry into sleep tracking, as arguably no group of individuals understands the value of tracking sleep more than the moguls of Silicon Valley.
But it’s not just titans of industry and those suffering from sleep disorders who will benefit from sleep tracking. Everyone sleeps, and everyone will benefit from sleeping better.
Now, let’s go back to the Drucker quote. We’ve established the importance of tracking sleep. Once we measure it, how do we improve it?
Just like the payoff with basketball--the stats show that the higher-risk 3-point play pays enough more to be more worthwhile, despite the risk…
What's the math on sleep?
We see the risk (health issues, job performance, etc.) and benefits, and now we see companies like Apple gathering that information--the prescriptive sleep analytics that says, ‘your optimum sleep x is achieved by action y.’
Apple’s data tells us how to make optimum sleep happen.
But knowing your ‘sleep numbers’ doesn’t stop with the numbers on your phone or wrist. Other sleep innovators are integrating their technology as well...
One company, Chili Technology, is doing the math on the benefits of sleep temperature. Their innovative product called the ChiliPad has changed the game for controlling sleep temperature.
Chili Technology understands the importance of sleep tracking and sleep temperature and has long respected the work of Beddit, the two companies have collaborated over the years. Chili Technology is constantly incorporating it’s temperature-controlled products into the sleep-tracking ecosystem and has several products in the pipeline that will integrate with Apple’s technology.
The same way it’s difficult to see why players took so long to measure the perceptions and percentages for the obvious value in 3-point shots, we may look back and wonder why it took so long for us to wake up and get our heads in the game when it comes to smarter sleep.
In the meantime, forward-thinking companies like Apple and Chili Technology are standing on the 3-point line to take a shot.