QUANTIFIED SELF: THE NEW NORM

QUANTIFIED SELF: THE NEW NORM

By Jack Cheethan

Jack found his passion for mobile and technology five years ago at the School of Communication Arts 2.0 based in London. It was here he founded his first technology startup and currently runs a boutique polling agency in London. With a keen eye always on the technology scene he strives to stay at the forefront of the industry.

 

I have been an avid user of wearable tech devices ever since discovering the Nike Fuelband in 2012. Since then I have owned a Fitbit, a JawboneUP and I currently wear a Jawbone UP24. I’m now anticipating the UK release of the UP3. 

 

Wearable tech is a catalyst for the much talked about Quantified Self movement. Understanding your body’s physical/mental state allows you to make small changes to your lifestyle to improve your health and wellbeing. 

 

There is a lot of talk about the Apple Watch at the moment and with good reason. Apple has always shaped the technology landscape with every product they launch. The way in which they monitor the industry and wait for the right time to launch a product is key because timing is everything when it comes to innovation and technology. Bluetooth has been around since 2002 but only in the past few years have we seen real value in what Bluetooth can offer us and it’s crucial to many of the wearable tech products, allowing them to communicate with your devices quickly and efficiently. 

 

In my eyes, Jawbone is at the forefront of this Quantified Self movement. The UP3 will be capturing a users heart rate which (when applied to physical data) could really inform a user about their health and current fitness levels. No longer would we base physical health on the way we look but actually the way our body behaves. Jawbone also has a great visionary strategy, after analyzing the way people measure what they eat with apps such as ‘myfitnesspal’. They looked at what users really wanted to quantify and discovered that the majority were interested in foods that affected their bodies in more extreme ways, i.e. caffeine, alcohol, glucose. Users are more open and conscious about how much caffeine they drink and so this was a clear starting point for Jawbone. The UpCoffee app, allows consumers to seamlessly quantify their coffee intake and relays instantly the current caffeine levels in their body and therefore when they will be ‘sleep ready’ - directly improving the quality of their sleep. With new technology available an app measuring glucose levels is not far behind. 

 

The release of the Apple Watch has, like all new Apple products, made the new industry more mass market. They have helped educate consumers on the value and changed people’s opinions of wearable tech. Once we 

 

"NOW THAT THE ROOT OF THESE BEEPS ARE MORE ACCESSIBLE WE WILL SEE OUR PHYSICAL RELATIONSHIPS SUFFER AS OUR DIGITAL PERSONAS BECOME MORE POPULAR AND CHARISMATIC THAN OUR PHYSICAL SELVES.”

know how active our bodies are or will be, technology can help us decide what food to eat and when to eat it, aiding us all with our health, fitness and dietary goals. The next step is data, once this kind of data can get into the hands of health professionals and doctors imagine the possibilities of diagnosing early conditions before we even have symptoms. 

 

Wearable tech should not be treated like a new device but an extension of a primary device, at the moment this is the phone. Mobile phone users can check their devices up to 200 times a day, the Apple Watch acts as an extension of this. People started wearing watches back in 1810. They were built to be glanced at, giving information quickly to its user. The Apple Watch is similar but adds a layer of interaction. Any complicated digital task the user will complete on their primary device with a screen five times the size, but the watch allows the user to quickly dismiss/reply/accept/obtain information at glance of their wrist. 

 

The increase in these devices will also have an affect on the way we interact in the physical world. Mid-conversations we are already seeing friends and family become distracted the second their phone makes a sound. that the root of these beeps are more accessible we will see our physical relationships suffer as our digital personas become more popular and charismatic than our physical selves. No longer will we remove temptation by keeping our phones in our pockets, but we will ease our cravings by glancing at our wrists. 

 

To conclude, I have already witnessed friends who feel that their friend on the other side of Whatsapp is more interesting than their friend they are sat opposite to in Starbucks. The appetite for our digital communication is only going to worsen as the access to these platforms lose more and more friction. Technology companies need to prioritize how the consumer behaves with their products in all their innovation. Consumer behavior and interaction was key when introducing wearable technology to the market because it was so new. As these products get more and more cemented in society and the technology becomes more advanced and engaging, we need to make sure they don’t take over from our physical life but work seamlessly alongside it. //