Nivedit Majumdar Nivedit Majumdar

Lifelogging and The Quantified Self

One of the most fundamental traits that humans have is the process of monitoring past records. Something as simple as keeping track of old grades as a milestone, and then aiming to score better. Old performance records, and aiming to improve upon them. Sales records, number of apps sold per quarter, you get the picture.

Likewise, there’s been a radical generation of interest in the arena of tracking health data. In this day and age of constant fitness concerns, it pays to monitor your health stats. And in this regard, wearables and specific software applications are proving their mettle in silently monitoring all that you do, and accordingly giving you notifications.

We’ve spoken a lot about related topics in our articles on the Wearable Market, the Internet of Things and Fitness Tech. But here, let’s take a look at the concept which is fuelling the entire wearable scene.

The Quantified Self Movement, or Lifelogging, is the crux of my article here. It’s a topic that’s close to all of us here at Emberify, and it has been the driving force behind developing Instant. In this piece, I’ll be diving deep into the world of sensors, wearables, and how they can monitor and influence our habits.

SENSORS IN HEALTHCARE

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust 

We’ve come a long way from simple health monitors. Pedometers, ECG monitors, Blood Pressure monitors that were limited to mainly medical practitioners have now given way to varied sensors. We are now in an era where everyday gadgets are now equipped with the requisite sensors to gauge most health factors.

Take for example a simple inclusion of a health monitor in some phones. No more having to rely on blood pressure monitors, people can now check the stats on a phone. Simple, no hassles.

And again, with the advent of a multitude of fitness bands and smart watches, keeping track of the steps, miles run and calories burnt has been more convenient and efficient than ever. Aided with a diverse gamut of applications which track the data collected by the fitness band, one can gain a lot of information and advice as far as health monitoring is concerned.

HIGH EFFICIENCY, ZERO HINDRANCE

Fitness bands and other wearables all aim at doing one thing – maintaining a roster. The sensors constantly gather data regarding the user’s physical activities. And again, it’s quite interesting to take a look at the technology that goes behind making these wearables.

Low power consumption sensors, with the inclusion of sleep modes along with the advent of low power consuming Bluetooth standards, ensure that the user doesn’t need to constantly hunt for a charger for the wearable.

Another important factor to consider has been the overall portability of these health tracking wearables. The small size of the fitness band has made it more convenient to the end user, due to which keeping the wearable on at all times isn’t a hindrance at all.

TRENDS TO CONSIDER

• The wearable market is truly booming. The Wearable Device market value is projected at about $12.6 billion in 2018 and the technology market forecasts aren’t far behind either.

emberify_projected_market_value_for_wearable_devices_technology
(Data Source : Statista)

• Besides the value, another thing that should be considered is the quantity of shipments. The statistics for 2013 – 2015 depict an accurate picture in this regard.

emberify_shipment_of_healthcare_smartwatch_wearables
(Data Source : Statista)

• From these statistics, forecasts can be made regarding the number of shipments in the near future.

emberify_forecast_shipment_of_wearables_worldwide
(Data Source : IDC)

 

emberify_forecast_shipment_of_fitness_gadgets_worldwide
(Data Source : Statista)

• According to a report from TechNavio, the smart fitness and sport wearable device market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25.4 percent globally and the smart fitness and health services market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 29.9 percent from 2014 to 2019.

LIFELOGGING: KEY OBSERVATIONS AND FORECASTS

All statistics considered, it is quite evident that the whole concept of lifelogging is truly a game changer in the field of technology. It is turning out to be a causative factor for the development of quite a few software applications as well as dedicated hardware.

Some observations can be enumerated as:

1) Lifelogging applications are the in thing.

Like I’ve said before, developers are developing applications which use the resources of your phone to monitor your day-to-day routines.

Where there aren’t smartphones, there is a range of dedicated hardware being designed. Cameras equipped with GPS, recorders and the quintessential fitness bands are all playing their part in the equation of lifelogging.

2) OEM presence.

Now, since there is obviously a lot of interest in the field, it is bound to attract a lot of big companies, and that is exactly what has been happening. OEMs have been now expanding their R&D divisions to develop wearables and other devices specifically for lifelogging.

Moreover, private players are also making their presence felt. The funding received by various startups in this arena signifies a rise in popularity of the entire Quantified Self movement.

I could go into a whole list of companies, but at this juncture it would suffice to say that almost all smartphone manufacturers are signing up for developing lifelogging centric hardware.

3) The Social Angle.

There are two aspects to this entire trend – one is the process of actually recording the data and maintaining the roster. The other is the social facet, wherein the users are given the option of sharing their data with people on social network.

This can prove to be quite significant for remote advice from a dietician or trainer based in another city. Dedicated communities are also present where members share their stats and help out / advise other members. All in all, a global environment is now becoming localized, thanks to a simple ‘share’ button.

4) Measuring emotions? Coming soon!

The boundaries of lifelogging can be extended to not only measure heart rates and calorie counts, but also emotional data. Research is being conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to basically develop a device which takes the skin temperature readings to assess a user’s moods for various times of the day.

emberify_depiction_lifelogging
An insight into lifelogging devices. (Image Source : Pinterest)

WHERE DOES INSTANT COME IN?

Instant – the application from our team here at Emberify aims at bringing in a new aspect altogether to the overall notion of lifelogging.

It doesn’t measure the calories burnt, or miles run. Instead, it focuses on a very fundamental and important trait – time. Instant tracks how addicted we are to our smartphones. It keeps track of the number of times you’ve unlocked your device, the total number of minutes you were active on it and also which applications you have been using actively. It also tracks how much time you spent in walking or travelling.

Now why is this significant? In a day and age where the lines between the real and virtual world are being blurred, we often tend to forget the importance of physical interaction in the real world. Moreover, studies have shown that smartphone addiction would lead to quite a few problems.

With Instant, Emberify aims at addressing this very characteristic. It maintains a roster in a graphical format, so that one can curb down on the smartphone usage accordingly. Moreover, you can share the data via social networks, so as to get apt advice when needed. With lots of plans in the works for expanding and bringing in more features, Instant can prove to be an efficient lifelogging application! With Instant time can be quantified- practically.

CLOSING COMMENTS

Lifelogging, or the Quantified Self Movement, ultimately has one purpose – self betterment. By employing technology in the form of dedicated hardware and software, lifelogging aims at improving the lives of consumers, simply by maintaining a database of the relevant statistics.

Personally, I wish to see devices becoming more intelligent in the future, so that the wearables can not only record, but also analyse and accordingly advice regarding the data generated. That would be truly revolutionary, and at the rate of innovation lately, that day doesn’t seem too far off!

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