Focus & Digital Balance

Blogging about Digital Detox, unplugging and healthy lifestyle in our hyperconnected world

an important change

UPDATE:

( OFFTIME ) by TheAppLab

On September the founders of the Berlin startup ( OFFTIME ) published an open letter announcing the removal of their successful Offtime-App from Android and iOS stores as more and more mainstream adopts solutions which the team pioneered – meaning to mark the end of the startup’s story. But now, this story continues…

TheAppLab S.L. (a subsidiary of Entertainment Solutions, S.L.)  and OFFTIME GmbH are proud to announce that TheAppLab is taking over ( OFFTIME ) and commits to further develop and enhance the project as a contribution to digital wellbeing. The idea and the strong demand by ( OFFTIME ) users deserve it!

Among this massive world of amazing applications that enhances our lives, ( OFFTIME ) went beyond the limits: just a brilliant idea converted into an app to take care of our time and define the boundaries with people able to say “NO, THANKS. It’s my TIME”. The perspective and features that ( OFFTIME ) has pioneered since 2012 have been included in Google’s recent Digital Wellbeing announcement, Apple’s Digital Health initiative and Tencent’s initiatives on addiction.

TheAppLab is born out of Entertainment Solutions (ES) team, committed, hands-on, deep tech professionals who fully support the values behind ( OFFTIME ) and therefore decided to take over it as a part of their strong commitment with 21st Century Society development:

  • ES team has been growing IT Solutions since 2006, from the very first European Hotel that decided to deploy IPTV technology in 2007 thanks to ZAFIRO (formerly INGEsuite).
  • And now, ES strongly believes digital wellbeing is necessary with advanced time management tools taking care of our private lives. Therefore, TheAppLab is taking over and showing both respect and gratitude to ( OFFTIME ) team.

( OFFTIME ) by TheAppLab will continue helping you to make quality time for your family, friends and yourself. Time is not gold, time is life and TheAppLab is pleased to help us all to create a better life.

The development continues: ( OFFTIME ) will now be reworked to include new valuable features. Smartphone users demand better work-life-tech-balance solutions, having a say when it comes to a healthy digital lifestyle. Now and in the future ( OFFTIME ) will be at your side , feel free to come and bring us your suggestions.

 

Miguel

Founder & CEO Entertainment Solutions

 

Alex and Michael

Co-Founder ( OFFTIME )

 

 

 


Dear Offtimer,

We’re writing to let you know about an important change.

We’re extremely proud to say that over the last few years, OFFTIME has made a significant and lasting impact on the technology sector. The perspective and features that OFFTIME has pioneered since 2012 have been included in Google’s recent Digital Wellbeing announcement, Apple’s Digital Health initiative, and Tencent’s initiatives on addiction. Needless to say, many more companies are following suit.

Beginning with our modest crowdfunding campaign, it’s been quite the journey for us. Since then, we’ve been involved in numerous public engagements, research and talks, achieved recognition as one of Google’s Best 100 Apps of the year, been cited in over 1,500 news articles, and our solutions have attracted over two million users while creating more than 2250 years of undistracted time. After creating the momentum that we did, seeing big tech companies adopt and promote the ideas and features we cultivated is the latest progression.

Now that Tencent, Google, Apple, and other large tech companies have made our core functionalities available on their platforms and apps, we’re announcing today that we are shutting down OFFTIME for iOS and Android. From here on out, the app will no longer be available for download, while existing users will be able to continue using the apps for the next few months until they fade out.

The magnitude of this milestone should not be overlooked. While we may be shutting down, we truly believe these initiatives symbolise an important transition in the tech industry’s worldview. It’s changed from,”if you have a problem with our product, don’t use it” to, “as tech companies, it’s our responsibility to design products in a way that puts people first”. Tencent, Google, and Apple embracing digital health in this way signifies the strong consumer demand for these features, and their tangible, far-reaching benefits. We hope that this empowers employees of other tech companies to advocate for humane technology and positive ‘post-tech’ changes. In an industry that’s still largely focused on capturing and retaining the attention of its users, these features serve as a novel competitive advantage.

While the features announced by the big tech companies only cover basic functionality, this is certainly the first step in the right direction – a path that contemplates what consumers want and we as humans need, and incorporates these ideas into the design of their products. It’s also a promising step towards tackling issues like fake news, mental health, loneliness, inequality, and addiction. The fact that the big tech companies have picked up the baton and begun this journey for themselves should be celebrated. Not least for the fact that there’s more awareness and discussion around this topic than ever before, as well as more resources available to make further progress. Behavioural addiction and manipulation on scale in relation to technology is a gigantic challenge for the individual and our society as whole today.

We’ve always called for technology that supports its users rather than exploits them. We envisioned how some of the first technical features and non-technical approaches embodying this ideology would look. Now it’s up to others to continue pushing this frontier. Some of the current competition was sparked by our work, while others, like Levi Felix, Tristan Harris, Kevin Holsh, and Fred Stutzman started at around the same time. Therefore, we’re happy to see that initiatives such as Time Well Spent/Center for Humane TechnologyEthicalOS, and many others will continue to engage with these vital issues in their own ways.

This is still the dawn of our digital revolution – an age where technology is at our core, both as individuals and as a society. We urge you to keep thinking critically about the role that technology plays in your lives. We remain hopeful, and are looking forward to a future where the industry genuinely has the individual’s and humanity’s best interests at heart.

It was a great journey. We’re thankful for all the support we received from our users, investors, mentors, team, friends, and families – and for the chance to work on something bigger than ourselves. In the end, it’s all about staying human in a digital age.

All the best from Berlin,

Alexander and Michael,
Co-Founders

September 2018

Smartphones won’t make your kids dumb. We think.

iphone _ offtime _ digital detox _ unplug _ just enough

Like many parents, Sandy is concerned about how much time her 18-month-old spends in front of screens. Weighing up the available evidence, Olivia Solon explains that she might be worrying too much.

Jessica’s tiny fingers dart around the iPad, swiping through photos to get to a particularly entertaining video: a 12-second clip of her dancing clumsily to Beyoncé’s Single Ladies. The 18-month-old taps “play” and emits a squeal of delight.

After watching the video twice, she navigates back to the home screen and opens up the YouTube app to watch an episode of the colourful animation Billy Bam Bam. Halfway through, she moves onto a Yo Gabba Gabba! game, which involves anthropomorphised fruits making their way into a character’s belly.

When Jessica’s mum, Sandy, tries to take away the iPad, there’s a tantrum that threatens to go nuclear: wobbly lip, tears, hands balled into fists and a high-pitched wail. “She does this a lot,” says Sandy. “She seems to prefer the iPad to everything else. Sometimes it’s the only thing that will keep her quiet,” she adds, frantically waving a pink fluffy unicorn in an attempt to appease her daughter.

Like many parents, she’s worried about her child’s obsession with screens. She wants to know which activities are best, and how much time spent on screens is too much.

It’s six years since the launch of the iPad and, with it, the rebirth of tablet computers. The academic research simply hasn’t been able to catch up, which means it’s hard to know the long-term impact on young brains of being exposed to tablets and smartphones.

The concern among some experts is that these devices, if used in particular ways, could be changing children’s brains for the worse – potentially affecting their attention, motor control, language skills and eyesight, especially in under-fives, for whom so much brain development is taking place.

Technology companies and app developers are throwing their marketing prowess at the problem, slapping words like “educational” and “e-learning” on their products, often without any scientific basis. So what are parents to do? Continue reading

The Right To Disconnect & Digital Detox – Adjustment of Labor Law in the Digital Age

Amélie - unplug _ digital detox _ offtime

Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain / (c) Claudie Ossard Productions via Youtube

In France a new adjustment of the labor law makes it’s way through the parliament: the right to disconnect. If you work in a company of 50 employees or more – and not in the consulting and IT industry only as it was previously – your company has to install tools that allow you to disconnect during your free time. Tools such as VW that power down their Blackberry servers, delete emails as with Daimler or the usage of our ( OFFTIME ) apps. The amendment has come about because studies show that in the digital age it’s become increasingly difficult for people to distance themselves from the workplace during their off hours. This new law allows people to get the full advantage of their time off. Something we can only support and also found supporting evidence in our studies. People who take Offtime can better detach mentally, relax and have a more work vigour which translates into a higher productivity.

Article 25 – Adjustment of the Labor Law in the Digital Age (Artikel L. 2242-8): Continue reading

Shared Offtimes – A Smart Way to Invite Your Friends to Put Their Smartphone Away

201605 _ OT _ Offtime _ Invite people to digital detox and unplug

Looking for a smart solution to free your surrounding from being clued to their screens? You found it! You can now invite your partner, friends, colleagues and kids to a shared Offtime. Check out our latest release that allows you to invite other people to your Offtime (Version 3.0+ on Android, Version 2.0+ on iOS). The ones who have Offtime already installed get a direct push notification directly to their screen that they just have to accept in order to go into an Offtime with you, everybody else gets a charmant email that you would like to give them their attention with a link to download the app and accept the invite. At the end of the shared Offtime an overview is shown with who stayed for how long. You’ll be surprised about the magic effect this has!

Enjoy your shared Offtimes!

// iOS
// Android

201605 _ OT _ OFTIME _ INVITE TO A DIGITAL DETOX

Offline-Places and Spaces

Solitude Focus Sharing Unplug Comic

We’re listing and looking for ‪#‎Offline‬ places – you know: places which are analog and where there is really no or very limited network connection, internet or are technology-free zones – in Berlin, Germany, EU or the US. Permanent and temporary, existing because of technical gaps or social norms, on the countryside or in the city. Do you know any? If so, please drop us a line via on@offtime.co or @getofftime.

Some of the places we know already: Continue reading

Beyond Digital Detox and Singularity – How to stay Human in the Digital?

How to be Human in the Digital - Postdigital Posttech PositiveComputing - DigitalDetox - Anlaog

How about designing our environment and technology as we wish and need? We have the honor to give a little keynote at the CeBit next week Wednesday, 16.03.2016. For this I condensed our ideas and thoughts a bit more, here is an exclusive preview. Please let us know when your at the CeBit too, so that we can catch-up (we still have some free entrance, let us know if you need any – first come, first server).

Beyond Digital Detox and Singularity – How to stay Human in the Digital?

Continue reading

Offline-Places

Solitude Focus Sharing Unplug Comic

We’re listing and looking for ‪#‎Offline‬ places – you know: places which are analog and where there is really no or very limited network connection, internet or are technology-free zones – in Berlin, Germany, EU or the US. Permanent and temporary, existing because of technical gaps or social norms, on the countryside or in the city. Do you know any? If so, please drop us a line via on@offtime.co or @getofftime.

Some of the places we know already: Continue reading