Nivedit Majumdar Nivedit Majumdar

Bridging the gap between Smart Devices and the Quantified Self

The Quantified Self movement, along with Lifelogging, is creating quite a revolution within itself: who would have guessed that a simple task of keeping records of fitness activities would lead to such an impact. Based on this one movement, there have been a plethora of developments in the world of smartwatches, wearables, sensors and even in the app markets: as more and more applications are now being targeted at activity tracking.

However, another revolution that was brewing was that of the Internet of Things. Now while that applies to connecting all devices to the internet and helping in the generation of Smart Home technologies, it is interesting to note that there can actually be a valid correlation between the two concepts of IoTs and Quantified Self.

And this underlying relation is the focus of my article here. How fitness trackers and other devices that are connected to each other can actually aid a person in the process of Quantification.

HOW IOT MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP OUT

The Internet of Things would involve more devices connected to each other and constantly collecting data. If a personal aggregator could also be included in the network, it would help the user in terms of flexibility, by bringing in a module in the equation.

In fact, here’s a statistic which shows the growth of Internet of Things in terms of bases installed. The consumer segment is particularly prominent, as it is growing. This just shows that there is a scope of inclusion of IoT devices in the network in a very useful manner.

emberify_iot_units_installed_by_category
(Data Source: Statista)

DATA COLLECTION FROM EVERYWHERE

The whole purpose of the Quantified Self movement is the collection of raw data, analysing it and presenting it in an informative manner to the end user. While the process of analysis and presentation might not seem relevant here, the process of data collection is actually quite interesting.

The arena of sensors is one aspect which is relevant in this regard, but even more so is the sheer number of IoT devices which can actually prove useful. Be it smart weighing machines (mostly from dedicated companies such as Withings, but even Xiaomi is coming into this market with a cheap weighing machine which can connect to smartphones via Bluetooth), smart blood pressure monitors, health analysers and comprehensive health monitors: all these devices can take in more data than your average wearable.

The pyramid below depicts the flowchart of activities that might take place in Quantification of data. Funnily enough, this same chart can also apply for the Internet of Things, wherein electronic smart devices will sense your everyday activities and apply context to analyse the data and provide valuable results.

emberify_qs_iot_pyramid
(Terminology Source: DUPress)

Why is this important? For starters, the process of quantification involves data collection for self betterment, and this cannot be done by simply taking into consideration the fitness and sleep data. Smart weighing machines and monitors can add more dimension to the data collected: quantifiable numbers in the form of weight statistics, blood component levels, pressure etc.

SOME STATISTICS

• This statistic denotes the shipment of wearables over the last two years and a projection for this year. The numbers are growing, specially in the healthcare segment. This can only imply the growth in interest of fitness trackers and health monitors.

emberify_shipment_of_healthcare_smartwatch_wearables
(Data Source: Statista)

 

• Here is a projection for the worldwide shipment of fitness gadgets till 2018. The numbers are bound to increase, and this can only be fuelled by the Internet of Things.

emberify_forecast_shipment_of_fitness_gadgets_worldwide
(Data Source: Statista)

THE FUTURE

Beyond mere electronic devices, the future of wearable technology holds immense potential in the field of Quantification. Wearable fabrics and tattoos can actually monitor data at a more personal level. Of course, that is the future. For now, let it suffice to say that smart devices – not just smartphones and wearables – can actually make the process of quantification more comprehensive.

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