Auto-sleep feature on the Microsoft Band

The title of the blog is actually incorrect, as it’s more of a Microsoft Health feature rather than the Band.

Let me explain, as well as dispel some myths around the feature.

Late last week a new version of the Microsoft Health app was released that introduced the auto-sleep detection feature. Fantastic news, everyone was excited! However after installing the updated app there was no firmware update for the Band. There was a fair bit of chatter about the update not working, or the firmware coming later.

Most nights I sleep about 5-6 hours and it’s enough to get me by. Last week in particular had been a bit exhausting as I’d been in Seattle the week before, had a couple of evening functions and overall was just more tired than normal. I went to bed a few hours earlier on Friday night and thought I’d have a nap, wake up, enable the Band sleep tracking, then go back to sleep.

That didn’t happen. I slept for over 8 hours straight (that’s a big thing for me).

Later that day however when I looked at the Microsoft Health app it showed my sleep for the night before. I noticed though that it said “(Detected)”, as seen in the screenshot below:

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So what kind of sorcery is this? The next night I thought I would test it out and didn’t enable sleep mode. When I awoke and checked the Health app I was disappointed to see that it didn’t record the sleep.

I was however wrong. It had recorded the sleep, however takes a few hours before it shows up.

The reason being is that the data is uploaded to the Microsoft Health service where it analyses your movement (or lack thereof), heart rate, and whatever else and makes the assessment that you have been asleep.

I gotta say, this is impressive functionality. I know others have it, but compared with everything else the Band is capable of doing this is shaping up to be one smart device & service!

Reflecting on 5 years of Paradyne

It was 5 years ago today that Paradyne Pty Ltd was registered as a company. The name was born out of the terms “paradigm shift” and “dynamic” – two key terms which I felt encompassed what lay ahead with the changing IT landscape.

Back then I was an idealistic technically-minded person who had limited business experience, but a lot of ideas about how things “should” be done.

I started Paradyne as an equal partnership with a long-time friend who I had worked with a number of times previously and built a close friendship on. Just over a year later my friend chose to exit the business as our visions were no longer aligned. Unfortunately in that separation I also lost a good friend. While it was an amicable separation we have never spoken again – something I will forever carry as one of (many) costs of starting a business.

Over the past 5 years Paradyne has had its ups and downs. It’s come close to the brink of closing its doors a couple of times but conversely had its high times when I felt like Scrooge McDuck swimming through money in his safe. There’s been moments of extreme stress and moments of pure elation.

One thing I’m proud of is the name and reputation Paradyne has built. We are well regarded within the halls of Microsoft and Telstra, and have also reached into a number of other vendors and partners.

The first time I heard that someone didn’t like us because we kept dominating the Office 365 business and limelight I smiled because it meant we were a force to be reckoned with.

While I’m not writing this blog post from the roof of my superyacht (maybe at 10 years) we have enjoyed a number of successes. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done and the impact we’ve made both to the organisations we’ve worked with as well as the people within them.

I don’t want to waffle on much more so I thought I’d finish up with a list of my business-related top 5 mistakes and challenges as well as wins and accomplishments.

Mistakes & challenges:

  • Hiring the wrong people
  • Staying too cheap for too long
  • Not getting external guidance & mentorship early on
  • Spreading myself too thin
  • Acting without thinking

Wins & accomplishments:

  • Hiring the right people
  • Getting in first on a number of things and being remembered for it. Nobody remembers second (except Buzz Aldrin).
  • Building a business that allows our staff and our customers to work from anywhere, and put family first
  • Being awarded Microsoft Office 365 Most Valuable Professional for the last 4 years
  • Working with some amazing partners and individuals who have driven me to do better

Both of those lists could go on for pages. One of the things I’ve learnt from running a business for the past 5 years is that no matter how much you think you’ve learnt or perfected things, there’s always lessons to be learnt and improvements to be made.

The landscape has changed. When Paradyne started we were an engineering focussed organisation and we built our brand and messaging around it. Nowadays we find ourselves more being an instrument of change – not just to technology but to the way people work and interact with each other.

While the technology continues to evolve, so must we. As people, as a business, as humans we have come a long way in the last 5 years. I am truly excited to see where the next 5 years takes us and what lies ahead.

To infinity… and beyond!