2013: The Year of Wearable Computing and Data-driven Healthy Lifestyles
It’s been six months since I made the cliché New Year’s Resolution…lose weight, get in shape- you know the drill. This is an annual event for millions of us who sign up for weight watchers and gym memberships in early January and are back to former routines by February.
This year, however, will be different for many because 2013 has been dubbed the year of wearable computing and explosive growth has already been noted in the fitness and health technology space. “Wearable computing is emerging as the type of significant technology shift that will drive innovation in the way personal computing did in the 1980s or mobile computing and tablets are doing currently”, said Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker at the All Things D conference.
MyFitnessPal, a mobile application for tracking calories, launched their API in 2012, enabling other applications and wearable devices to integrate data to and from MyFitnessPal. Since the launch in October of 2012, the number of API calls to the application have doubled each month through present date. The majority of the calls are bidirectional- meaning to and from wearable devices such as Jawbone Up, Fitbit Devices and GPS enabled activity-tracking apps such as Endomondo and Runtastic.
Several of the wearable devices, including the Fitbit and Jawbone Up, are supported by web and mobile platforms that also have their own partner ecosystem featuring integrated applications and devices. Stiff competition exists in the health and fitness space to convince consumers to make their platform the “Hub” of their healthy lifestyle data.
Wearable devices and integrated data from multiple sources might seem overwhelming to some, but for tech geeks like me- it has brought a new enthusiasm and renewed motivation for that healthy lifestyle we sign up for every January. I have my fitbit flex counting my daily steps and recording my sleep on my wrist and reporting my data (via Bluetooth) directly into MyFitnessPal, which is managing my daily calorie allowance on my mobile device. The cool factor is that when I workout, run or simply have a really active day running after my kids- the Fitbit platform automatically increases my calorie allowance in MyFitnessPal and I treat myself to something sweet!
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Gamification meets fitness. It's a good combo.
As more and more businesses/people move towards outcome and impact based assessment of what they do as opposed to output and actions based, gamification will soon meet business/work, if not already 🙂