What changes would the "Zeo Sleep Manager" need to increase its marketability?


Hi Zeo Fans,

Although Zeo, Inc. has passed away, there is continued hope that it rise from the dead or that there will be a replacement for it one day. I have talked to at least one person who says that their laboratory is thinking about re-commercializing the Zeo with some improvements to it. In that vein and for those developers who are looking to fill their place and want to get as many ideas on how to make it or another product like it to work for them I have made this discussion thread. I have come up with a few ideas on my own and they are far reaching in scope. I hope to explore, expand, and refine them with your help. As this thread progresses I expect we will hit on subjects that some will think are better suited in other threads, but when taken as a whole these will all have to do with the topic.

There are two more reasons why I have started this discussion. It is my hope to flesh out what direction I think the Personal Mobile Health Industry should be taking in our life. Some of what you are about to read I hope will be taken to other threads and expand on in what is becoming a convergence of mobile personal health and self-exploration. The other reason for this discussion is to work on fleshing out and refining which applications, devices, services I will be using for myself. On that note please feel free to poke holes in, expand on, or add to my ideas and thoughts. ”I do have one request though, if you use this discussion to enhance your product please give me credit for my ideas.” I am not asking for anything in return other than that.

So that there are no mistakes, I am just a user of products, and I have no knowledge or skills in programing or hardware development. As this discussion progresses I will be going back to my previous posts to edit and refine both the content and feel to fit what I believe to be better information and readability. If you want to save the content of my post to insure that your reply makes sense please quote the whole text.

"A Little About Myself"

I was born and raised between Orlando and Sanford, Fl. I retired from the US Navy after 20 years of service. My personal interest in this topic and its related products is what they can do for others and myself. This is based upon my interest in dreams, home construction, and my following health conditions. (in order to reduce reproduction of work I will link to other internet sources that provide better definitions):

Abbreviations and Terms:


  • AJJ: Average everyday Joe or Jane
  • QSU: Quantified Self/Self Help/Understood Self
  • EDU: Educational Institution
  • MED: Medical Practices
  • SCI: Scientific Exploration


"Monitoring Sources"


I thought it was too complicated. I don’t care about the details of my sleep. I care when I go to sleep, how long I sleep and how rested I feel when I wake up. An app that makes measuring those things easy would be good. After all these years, I still use a stopwatch and a piece of paper.

Hi Seth,

I can see that. One of my thoughts was that different people were going to want the program to do different things for them. I was thinking that this would fall under “Communities” for a lack of a better way to put it. I have personally divided them into “Average Joe/Jane (AJJ), Quantified Self/Self Help/Understood Self (QSU), Medical (MED), Education (EDU), and Scientific (SCI).” Each of these communities would be looking to see different things from this product. Having read a few posts on the forums everyone here wants to have easy access to the data so they can play with it themselves. What else in area can you think of that would have been nice to see as a change. As the posts come in I will add my 2 cents also.


Okay, after reading different posts and thinking things over it seems that a topic of conversation should be set up, but in no particular order. I would like to talk about things (please feel free to give me suggestions for topics and I will add them here):

"Product Questions in General"

  • Is the product concept unique?
  • Does it already exist (if so can it be done better)?
  • Does it solve a problem (not just mine but those of other people)?
  • Who is the competition?
  • Is the product up-to-date with the current technologies necessary for efficient operation in order to keep pace in the business world?
  • If not, what needs to be changed?
  • Can advantages be added in to beat out similar competing businesses, services, and products?
  • How?
  • Are people willing to pay for it (and keep coming back)?
  • Can it be sold online?
  • How will the product be priced to compared to the competition?
  • Is there a big enough market for it?
  • What differentiates the business idea and the products or services provided from others in the market?
  • What products or services can be provided?
  • Who is the ideal customer?

The first area I want to talk about is “Who is the ideal customer?” These are who I think the customers are and what some of their needs are.

AJJ – I believe that this is the original target customer. From this perspective I though they did okay, but “Seth” your desire for less is what I was thinking this community would want. Not to say that anyone or even everyone is average, but that most people want it to be simple and sweet. They want quick and easy to read answers on their sleep quality and how to improve it.

QSU - This is the community that I thought would want much more from the product. Easy access to the data for manipulating the data to find correlations to get insight to themselves and to improve their sleep.

MED - Doctors I thought would be looking at the data in both a data file format and a data stream format. With the data file format they would be able to build long term data correlations and the data stream would provide close monitoring feasible.

EDU - Professors and Teachers alike I think would also like access to both data formats for project.

SCI - Scientists I think would also want access to both data formats for research.

With all these general communities around that I found using the Zeo, I think we need to ask some more questions.

  • What does each community need?
  • How do we give it to them?
  • Do we do it with one product or more?
  • What products do these communities already use?
  • Do we do it by ourselves or with others?
  • Can we take advantage of what is already out on the market to enhance our product?
  • Can we enhance other products with ours?
  • Can it be addressed in the APP?
  • How do we meet the needs of each community?
  • Can we make the hardware do everything the communities need it to do?
  • If the hardware and firmware can do what the communities need, how do we make the APP give them what they want or need?
  • Are the different communities going to want to see the same thing or even in the same way?

I believe that the APP is the place that most everyone is going to interface with the Zeo, but not the only way and we will have to explore that also at some point. Let us start with one APP to rule them all.

  • If you use just one APP, do you make it install differently for what they want?
  • What if they change their mind later?
  • How would they keep the data so far and use it in a different install?
  • Does having it install differently make it more than one APP?
  • Does it make sense to do it were it is one install and you can pick and change your “user interface” (UI)?

From my point of view, the AJJ community is looking for answers to be handed to them on a platter. I see this as do not think about it too much; get the answers quick, and easy. This is all find and dandy, but I can only think that three types of these people will use the Zeo and of those, only maybe one will keep using it. The one person I think that will keep using it just wants an every night quality check and will really be the only person who will try to change any of their sleeping habits. This I think is the biggest reason why Zeo, Inc. went under. The market is just not big enough to support it.

Therefore, with this in mind the APP would need to be easy to use, understand, and require a minimum of interaction. If we go with an APP that you can change the UI, but all the information and capabilities the other communities will need then I think you have the APP you need.

The next group is the QSU community. I think we are looking for the data to try to figure things out four ourselves. Kind of like an exploratory outing into our sleep. We like the displays and advice, but the data and ways to manipulate that data is what we are looking for most. As a community, we are expanding and we would use the device the most and for the longest period of time I think, buutttt…We want to easily compare the data to other factors. The unfortunate thing is that by ourselves and with the AJJ community, it was not enough.

The EDU, MED, and SCI communities are what is needed to add to this picture to make the Zeo viable on the market. They need more than what was provided before also. The data that these groups will need fall into a few categories.

  1. Historical - the more historical data there is the easier it is to find the patterns that evolve.

  2. Streaming Data - or a data feed that can be watched as it comes in and is a high enough sampling rate to be as close to real time as can be done.

  3. Comparison Data - this falls under three distinct areas. Area ( a ) is correlating data from other devices, ( b ) correlating data from other subjects, and ( c ) environmental data.

Keeping these things in mind the APP needs to be able to provide this information and in a usable format for each community. To do some of this you will need a computer. Having a way to use a computer to get a direct Bluetooth feed with both storage and pass-through capabilities would be best.

The Zeo provided single line (source) EEG, EMG, and EOG data. This kind of data is used by MED, EDU, and SCI in sleep studies. The big differences being that a Polysomnogram provides many more source lines.

Polysomnogram: This test records several body functions during sleep, including brain activity, eye movement, oxygen and carbon dioxide blood levels, heart rate and rhythm, breathing rate and rhythm, the flow of air through your mouth and nose, snoring, body muscle movements, and chest and belly movement.

EEG (HTML)(GOV): Electroencephalography shows brain electrical activity.

EMG (HTML)(GOV): Electromyography shows muscle electrical activity.

EOG (HTML)(ORG): Electrooculography shows eye electrical resting potential.

ECG (HTML)(GOV): Electrocardiography shows the hearts electrical activity.

SpO2 (HTML)(ORG): Is an oxygenation measurement.

Actigraphy (HTML)(GOV): Is used to monitor body movement.

Looking at these along with others that I am still learning about provide a better picture of our sleep. What I am personally trying to do is use a few devices to simulate this. I think that if the Zeo comes back to market that it needs to be able to import these kinds to provide a better correlation analysis for better sleep. I am slowly getting the following devices together for this.

  1. Zeo - which I have that provides EEG, EMG, and EOG at point of contact.

  2. Zephyr BioHarness 3 (HTML)(COM) - which provides HR, HRV, BR, Temp, and movement. With this, I should be able to find heart and breathing rhythms. The temperature and movement will be for comparison purposes.

  3. Nonin Onyx II 9560 PBT (HTML)(COM) - this I also have and this will provide me with SpO2 and pulse comparison.

  4. Lark Pro (HTML)(COM) - will provide Actigraphy, which I hope to compare with the movement data from the BioHarness.

  5. System One (HTML)(COM) Philips Respironics CPAP with Bluetooth - which if I can get this to replace my current CPAP I will be able to monitor the flow of air through my nose and mouth and maybe if I get the right one I can also monitor snoring.

These are just my efforts to monitor my sleep physically, but if these devices can be used to import more correlating data in to the Zeo APP you have a mini sleep lab. Even if you can bring in just one of these types of devices data in you can get a better picture of your sleep.

This is a lot of money to dish out on oneself, but this is just for me. On the other hand being able to import data from these would be just what the QSU, MED, EDU, and SCI communities would be looking for when quantifying sleep. There are some other things I plan to add to my monitoring and these are as follows.

  1. CubeSensor (HTML)(COM) - indoor environment monitoring.
  2. Weather Station (HTML)(GOV) - outdoor environment monitoring.
  3. News Feed, Dream (HTML)(COM) & Cognitive (HTML)(COM) diaries, and Move (HTML)(COM) - all for possible influences.
  4. Food and Exercise diaries (HTML)(COM) - for health factors.

When looking at all the communities together and what the Zeo was meant for then you can see how all of these can tie in and help with correlation. Tying these in requires one of two things. Either making them to work with your product or finding ways to tie them in. Tying them in makes more sense from a startup company’s point of view than making them yourself. API’s and SDK’s provided by these companies can do the trick. On another side of this coin providing API’s and SDK’s to other companies to do the same only makes sense. By doing this we reduce the programing requirements for our product and increase its marketability. Another option to consider is application add-on’s that others write that add functionality to our product.

Sleep being what the Zeo is all about means providing everyone with the tools to change their sleeping habits and environment is quite essential. This also means that you have to insure that the product meets the needs of all the communities through studies and tests. All of these communities provide opportunities for testing products and they provide feedback.

Speaking of feedback, you need to bring in feedback from as many different sources as possible to insure you stay up with the times and needs of your market. This comes from MED, EDU, SCI, QSU, and AJJ. These come in the formats of Journals, news articles, studies, magazines, feedback on your product homepage, and distribution points.

One of the things that the Zeo was advertised as was a way to wake up better also. On that note, we are talking about the alarm and ways to wake someone up. First, let’s talk when we wake up. When we are talking sleep and when we want to wake up, we are talking about two things “When and How” we wake up I think.

  1. I have to be up by a set time.

  2. I want to get up after I get so much sleep.

  3. I want to get up after I get so much sleep, but no later than a set time.

The first item the Zeo handled fairly well, but it could have used the second two too enhance it some more. Next is the way it could wake you up.

  1. Waking you up at your lightest sleep level.

  2. Waking you up with a different sound.

  3. Waking you up with light.

  4. Waking just you up with a vibration that will not bother anyone else.

Again, the Zeo did the first one well enough, but the others could be used to enhance the product also. With emerging technologies, this could be done quite easily. Sound is a matter of finding a sound that is pleasant to wake up to and not jarring. Alternatively, the opposite if you have problems waking up in the first place. The light part can be done via the phone or another technology like the Philips Hue (HTML)(COM) light bulb. Even though the Lark capitalized on the vibration side of things, ideas cannot be patented, so incorporating this into the product does not seem to bad an idea.

Hello again Seth Roberts,

I have been thinking about what you have said and I think that I know of away for people how just want what you are talking about and everything else. The way to go about it first would be to pick what you want to see. Say you just want the Sleep start, length, and the sleep score with an option to quantify it with a how you felt. It is a matter of picking things you want to see kind of like tiles and then placing them how you want to see them.

I think if things are set up with some presets for each community and a custom that combines everything each community has with some extras.

I was thinking today about some questions that should be asked of each community. Most of it is kind of general and leaves lots of room for explanation.

  1. What proof do you need to have to convince you that this product works as advertised?
  2. What do you need to see to get you to use this product?
  3. What do you need this product to do to get you to use it and make changes in your life to get better sleep?

“Are there any questions that I should add to this list? What changes to the questions could be made to get better answers or to get the answer that the makers of this product need?”

Hi Michael, This is a fine discussion to start here, but if you repeat the same post in lots of threads it causes confusion. I’ve erased the others… Thanks for contributing, just like to keep things clean.

1 Like

Hi Gary,

The idea was for people in other areas that relate to this thread would know it was here. I posted in these areas because they are areas of interest that are related in one way or another. As an example I found a person on the internet who had combined data from his Lucid Dreaming APP with the Zeo to show how the Lucid APP was hitting the mark on when to trigger a signal for him. On another I found that an APP had been designed to work with the Zeo to do the triggering. So keeping this in mind I went to other threads to see if I could get them to come here to discuss hardware, firmware, and software changes that could be applied to enhance the Zeo if it comes back to market. I also believe that it would spark ideas on integration of their interest areas in other interest areas. I know that by correlation of data we have learned things that we thought just didn’t happen.

Take the idea that evolution was very slow. By data correlation it has been found that evolution is happening all the time. The example I am speaking of is during famine. The lifespan of humans who had survived the famine was found to be longer and as their children had children the lifespan reduces again. This was a clear example of evolution in quick action.

If you look at the links I have placed in my posts and the ideas I have talked about so far it is going to lead to how these can all be used to correlate information with interactivity between them.

In keeping with the idea that ideas can come from anyone I follow at least one other thread and it is all about keeping the Zeo’s that are currently out there usable. Zeo shutting down: export your data (HTML)(COM) - there was the idea that it would be nice to see how heart rate data related to sleep. While doing research on the internet I found that there is relation to both the different stages of sleep and how well you sleep. Being able to combine this information in a easy to see and correlate visual is just as important as having the data to manipulate to find things out about them individually and then re-correlate the information. In this way we can find out much more.

Hi Michael, I hear you. What I think you should do is keep the discussion here, and occasionally post in other threads and in your tweet stream, etc. with one or two lines that link back to the main discussion of this topic.

Hi Gary,

That was kind of my thought, but I guess I did it with very poor execution. That being said I will see if I can come up with a very short and simple line with a link back that will keep things as uncluttered and with as little confusion as possible.

Here is a little follow on for the heart rate variability and its relation to sleep quality. Although this is just one study is does show some correlation and further study could be needed, but doing this ourselves is what we are about. With this in mind looking for these correlations using the Zeo could be made easier and could also improve the accuracy of the ZQ score for those who have the capability to monitor both. By adding in the capability to import this data and analyze it who knows what we could learn. Here is the link to one study: Reduced heart rate variability predicts poor sleep quality in a case-control study of chronic fatigue syndrome. (HTML) (GOV)

Hi everyone,

I know I have not posted in a little while, but I have been doing so online research on the Zeo. What I am working on is trying to find all the message boards and reviews to collect data on what people wanted and complained about. As I compile them I will post links and files.

So, in my research I found that one of the reasons, but not the only reason that Zeo went under was that the business model they were working under was not working for them. This is also one of the topics that I plan on talking about here. I have been talking to an app writer about how they plan on changing how their the business model for their app. As it stands they have two versions of the app. One version is free and the other is a single time payment. This model is not working any more and so they plan on having a three stage model with the afore mentioned stages, but with the addition of a subscription version. As I understand it this was just one of the things that Zeo, Inc. was looking at needing to do. I can only guess that figuring out how to do it just was not working for them. So, at some point I want to discuss how to come up with a business model that would work for Zeo to be able to remain viable in a changing market.

Here is the article TechCrunch (HTML)(COM)

Here are some articles to think about for this topic:
Choosing The Right Business Model For Your App (HTML)(COM)
The 9 Business Models of the Web (HTML)(COM)
9 Deadliest Start-up Sins (HTML)(COM)
Startup Suicide – Rewriting the Code (HTML)(COM)
Hardware is dead (HTML)(COM)
You Found Your Product-Ma rket Fit. Now What? (HTML)(ORG)
Four Startup Challenges that Technology Can Help Solve (HTML)(COM)
Bolt Unveils 7 Hardware Startups at Its Boston Accelerato r (HTML)(COM)
Strangling Innovation : Tesla versus “Rent Seekers” (HTML)(COM)
Developing Strong Product Teams (HTML)(COM)
The one cost engineers and product managers don’t consider (HTML)(COM)
Hardware is hard – just ask Apple or Samsung (HTML)(COM)
A start-up is about doing EVERYTHING before you are ready (HTML)(COM)
The Next Big Opportunit y for Startups (HTML)(ORG)
Practical Tips for Overcoming Resistance (HTML)(ORG)
Are Robots The Next Big App Platform? (HTML)(COM)
A VC: Handing Over Your Company To Someone Else To Manage (HTML)(COM)
Dreams that Warn of Breast Cancer (HTML)(COM)
The Secret to Your Success? Make Others Successful (HTML)(COM)
Why Productive People Get Up Insanely Early (HTML)(COM)
At Last, a New Business Model for Tesla (HTML)(ORG)
Don’t Give Away Your Board Seats (HTML)(COM)
Make Good Decisions Faster (HTML)(ORG)
The Art of Guerilla Usability Testing (HTML)(COM)
Big data is healthcare’s biggest threat – and also its likely savior (HTML)(COM)

1 Like

So, in thinking about the software side of things I have been using to APPs that show 2 different sides of a similar need. The APPs are Health Mate (HTML)(COM) by Withings and MyFitnessCompanion (HTML)(COM). Both provide you information about yourself, but for the most part in 2 different ways. Health Mate for the most part gets its information from other APPs and websites. This information is for the most part preprocessed before it is imported. This provides lots of information on various aspects of your health in one place. MyFitnessCompanion on the other hand gets most of its information directly from the devices you use. Both of these are good ways to show the information, but different people are going to want to see it in different ways. So, Keeping that in mind this is the idea that I think needs to be followed. By taking a page out of these 2 APPs, we can provide more ways for people to use the APP.

Okay, I want to talk a little bit about the hardware for the Zeo Sleep Manager Pro and Mobile. I think that to provide a better picture of what could help a person get better sleep means a change in the hardware and a better use of the hardware. Let’s start with the Pro. The Pro for all intents and purposes is a keep at home base station. It should be able to provide more than what it was originally designed for. I am not saying that it did not provide what it said it did, but it could have done more. For its form factor and size there could have been more inside doing more for you. As an example take a look at the following two devices CubeSensors (HTML)(COM) and Netatmo (HTML)(COM) these provide a look into other areas of your sleeping environment in a size that could fit in the Pro. They would provide an insight to other aspects of what could be affecting the sleep of those who are using the Pro. Another item that could have fit in the Pro could be something like the following device: Sami (HTML)(COM)
Looking at the new innovations in mobile phone the phones could provide the similar if not comparable in capabilities these could be used for the Zeo Mobile in place of the Pro base station.
Next, let’s look at the head band. Things that could be added without a large increase in size would be a mic and bone conduction to detect snoring and a set of accelerometers that could detect head tossing. If you add these in, they can give you more things to look at to see what is affecting your sleep and to use to provide a better ZQ number.

Thanks for getting all this information together in one place!

That might be true, but what you learn will be fundamentally flawed: Thou shalt not use correlation to infer causation. This is the first problem you’ll have to face when using your approach.
The second problem (related to the first and inherent to ‘big data’), is that every parameter you add increases your chances of finding a false positive.

Check out Seth Roberts publication on Self-Experimentation as a source of new ideas!

Has anyone found a source for a replacement sensor and headband yet?

Not sure why Zeo never marketed the data to drug companies to make specific drugs for sleep disorders. After many overnight sleep studies, I’m sure the data collected on my Zeo was fairly comparable to the clinic data, and a lot cheaper. My doctor could have sent me home with ZPSC, and saved big bucks.


There is another thread that is in this forum that some people have found some replacement items that work for the electro pads, but beyond that not much else. There are a couple of devices on the market that read brainwaves, but they do not provide the same service. When I am at my computer next I will post a link for the other forum thread.