I recently took a trip to Northern Thailand to support a volunteer effort at a school that serves a rural hill tribe. The project was backed by three Thai startups Knit by Jib, Drvr and Bangkok Bike Finder. All outstanding startups that value the idea of doing social good and believe that education is a fundamental necessity.
This school itself isn’t
to easy to get to. After taking an overnight train from Bangkok to Chaingmai we still had two days of travel ahead, including the last leg which was a three h
our drive in a 4×4 truck through mountain roads and paths.
While I was visiting this village I was wondering how could I help this school through my specific set of knowledge and capabilities with the Internet of Things, there was just one issue. The village the school serves is completely off the grid, no power, no Internet and just to get a mobile signal you have to travel about 15km. How do you get the benefit of the IoT without actually having Internet, or power for that matter?
Well the power issues is fairly easy to address, this is Thailand after all and sun is one thing we have in abundance. There are a number of low power devices that can run via solar power and can be contained in a weatherproof case of some kind.
Of course there are solution in place for such lacks of connectivity, a device can cache data and then send it back up to the cloud later for analysis. Or a mobile device can be used to query sensors once they are in range to get real time data.
So, the tech solutions are there, now just finding out how IoT can help this school was the key. I spent a lot of time exploring the area around the school and talking with the teacher to assess what the school needs to help provide a better learning environment for the community they serve.
Water is really the primary concern for the school at this point. They can only get fresh water about five months out of the year. Water, being sort of essential for life and all, clearly moves to the top of the list. Knit by Jib is working on a project now that will help extend how high up on the stream the schools water is sourced from; which should allow them to get clean, fresh water year round.
Just because the IoT can’t physically bring the water to the school doesn’t mean it won’t have a role to play. I can envision sensors used for the water tanks at the school to measure level, letting the teacher know when they need to turn the valves on to fill the tanks, or even possibly some sensors to check water quality, I still have some more research to do on this front.
Another issues that the teachers face is nutrition, as the diet of the locals is very limited. It is often the case that the only balanced meal the students get each day is prepared by the teachers at school. To this end the teachers are currently running a school garden where they grow the food that is used in some of the students meals. An automated watering system linked to a soil moisture sensor seems to be a simple project that can be put together to help out in this regard. Of course because there is no electricity in this village the system would have to be solar powered so it could operate consistently, and then that whole system would need to be maintained. All are interesting challenges.
Ultimately it comes down to how much benefit can this school get from technology projects like this. Just installing them could help a little bit, but I am unsure how much benefit it would really be. I have been thinking that the biggest help these projects could accomplish would be as a learning experience for the children and maybe provide some inspiration along the way. The point of these projects and outreach is to benefits the school in its mission to provide quality education to this remote, rural area. I have a lot more thought to put into this before I can decide what, if any benefit can be offered through technology. I will be sure to post more here as I work through ideas.
This article is part of the ‘Think Further’ series sponsored by Fred Alger Management. For more ‘Think Further’ content, please visit www.thinkfurtheralger.com.
The idea behind the Internet of Things is providing connectivity to everyday items. Many of these items are things that we interact with repeatedly throughout the day. While it’s becoming common to see new items come to market ready to be connected to the Internet, collect data and be controlled remotely we are still moving through the integration process for existing items to be brought online.
One such item is the vehicles that we use to move around our environment. The vast majority of us don’t upgrade our cars every year, and the average age of cars on the road is trending upward, which means most of us will be waiting a bit longer before we slide in behind the wheel of a brand new connected car.
Connecting our vehicles to the Internet of Things can offer a fair amount of benefit if the right technology and platforms are put in place; which is why finding ways to integrate connectivity into legacy cars is a challenge worth confronting.
While auto manufacturers can outfit new cars with connectivity, computers and sensors that provide valuable, actionable data for the driver, the owners of legacy vehicles have to find ways to augment their current rides. They need devices capable of tapping into the current on board computers to capture data, they need platforms that can analyze the raw data and convert it into actionable information and they need ways to move it to the cloud so they can access it remotely.
Connectivity and capacity
The medium to connect vehicles to the Internet making them part of the Internet of Things is a fairly obvious choice. The almost ubiquitous nature of mobile networks around the world makes them ideally suited for the task. Of course mobile coverage, as wide reaching as it has become, it’s not 100%, which is why an opportunistic approach would have to be taken. Using mobile networks when coverage is available; which for most of us would be the majority of the time. Jumping on known and trusted Wi-Fi networks when possible. The last option would be buffering data when there is no network available, sending the data later when a connection can be established.
Providing connectivity to legacy vehicles in this way could be established in a few different ways. The primary option would be to embed a SIM card in the device being used to capture the raw data from the vehicle so it could connect directly to mobile networks when they are available. This would require a mobile data service plan of some sort, but since the amount of data would be relatively small the cost would be low and the capacity for use cases such as this could be moved to a legacy 2G or 3G mobile network as to not impact capacity on more advanced networks used for handsets and other devices requiring more bandwidth.
The second option would be to embed Bluetooth technology into such devices and pair them to the drivers’ smartphone to take advantage of the existing data plan. This solution would likely provide a cheaper alternative and would make it easier to identify different drivers depending on which phone was used. But, it would not have the benefit of offloading capacity from the handset network. This model would also be dependent on the driver having his or her own smartphone, having Bluetooth activated and having to ensure it is paired with the device.
Where Mobile Comes into Play
Though the drivers smartphone might not be the ideal choice to provide connectivity for a connected vehicle they do have a role to play, and an important one at that. Like many devices that fall under the Internet of Things umbrella there is not always a way to directly interact with them. The devices being used to make a legacy car a connected car fall into the same category. The device likely won’t have any physical output or input method; this is where the smartphone comes into play.
In much the same way the smartphone enables us to interact with other smart devices it will likely take on the form of the user interface for a car that has been augmented with connected technology.
In many ways the smartphone is the perfect choice to act as the user interface for the Internet of Things. It’s a device that is common and one that the user is familiar with. In most cases the interactions with the smartphone are intuitive and become second nature to the user.
Familiarity and pervasiveness are not the only reasons that a smartphone is the perfect fit to drive the user experience for a connected vehicle. Having the user interface based on a smartphone makes it easy and convenient to communicate with the user.
Wearables Are a Nice Fit
One of the great aspects about the Internet of Things is that interactions are not limited to a single device and a human. A key feature being that multiple devices can work in concert to improve the user experience. To this end wearable technology seems to be the best fit to further augment the connected car experience.
It is easy enough to start simple, an RFID or power harvesting NFC chip embedded in a ring or smart watch to unlock or start a car. That technology is already well developed, easy enough to implement in a vehicle and serves to accomplish a well-defined function. Replacing a traditional key for something smaller and more functional would be a welcome benefit for most, and if paired with a second factor authentication like some biometric marker could add another layer of security.
But there is no reason to stop at simple wearables when talking about interactions with the connected vehicle. Wearables that offer augmented reality could improve the drivers experience but also their ability to operate the vehicle safely. By displaying dash information directly in front of the driver preventing them from having to take their eyes off the road. There is no need to stop at displaying dash info though. Augmented reality could also take up the role of providing additional safety information about things like road conditions and weather to help the driver make better decisions in real time.
The Smart City
Our cars are just part of the equation, and connecting them another. Much in the same way we can count on interactions with other tech like smartphones and wearables to enhance the experience we can also look forward to our vehicles interacting with the very environments we use them to traverse.
The visions of smart cities are far and wide, everything from how buildings are powered to the way trash is collected and streets are cleaned falls under this umbrella. But lets think how our cars interact with the smart city of the future.
In a truly smart city our cars will talk to each other as well as the roads, crosswalks, tollways and parking structures. Vehicles will communicate with each other, knowing how far they are and keeping a safe distance while staying informed of communicating traffic patterns, as they are experienced in real time. Sensors in the road will feed back information about their current state so the car can calculate how the surface temperature will impact tire performance. Crosswalks will send out signals informing cars of pedestrians in the walkway so they slow their approach.
One of the biggest benefits our connected cars will bring us in the smart city of the future will likely be in how we store them, also known as parking. Our cars, once connected will be able to communicate with the smart cities parking meters and parking structures so we know where the nearest available parking spot is. There won’t be any more guesswork, no more slowing driving around the block with the hopes of maybe, just maybe finding a spot. Just by preventing people from that action of slowly driving around looking for a parking spot a great deal of traffic could be mitigated, making the smart city a much nicer place to drive your connected car.
More Than Just an Alarm
Like with anything connected to the Internet, security has to be more than just considered, it has to be implemented from the ground level. Connectivity opens up vulnerabilities, as the cars we drive become more computer and less steam engine security means a lot more than keeping a thief out of the drivers seat. The data generated by the vehicle has to be kept just as protected, if not more.
The cars systems need to be isolated to help prevent attacks on the data and the drivers themselves. As exciting as any new technology is, it is not without its weaknesses. If these weaknesses are allowed to be exploited it could cause significant risk. This is why security for any connected device needs to be paramount.
Tying it all Together
As the Internet of Things continues to bring connectivity to more devices the picture becomes clearer. The connected car will reach far beyond the dashboard and the inner workings of your ride. Sure, the connected car of the future will be able to help us improve driver behavior to be safer and friendlier to the environment, but it will also work with other tech as part of process. It will work with our wearables to make the driving experience easier and safer, it will communicate to us through our mobile devices giving us updates on how our car is doing when we are away from it and it will talk to the city it is in to help us stay safe and save us time.
Connected car technology has a long way to go, and it will come in waves. New cars will have it integrated right from the sales floor, while older cars will be augmented with a number of devices. Since cars are staying on the road longer, a trend that is likely for the foreseeable future it’s a good idea to put standards in place sooner rather than later so cars from different eras of connectivity can still talk to each other and their surroundings.
The benefits that the Internet of Things will bring to the car are clear, getting there will be the challenge. There are a lot of moving parts to the puzzle for the connected car; but as they begin to fall into place the possibilities will be infinite.
The other night I ordered a pizza for dinner, big surprise, right. But, it got me thinking; how could a little bit of IoT technology improve my pizza experience. We have all seen the lame Pizza Tracker that Dominos uses in the US that basically gives you an estimation regarding where your pizza is in the process. Dominos can do this because their shops are very standardized, but it’s still just an estimation, at best.
Retail and food service are really a good fit for customer facing Internet of Things solutions; it’s just a matter of finding the right mix to put in place. I think here I will lay out a proposal and even though I am framing this around pizza delivery there is no need to think of it in such a narrow view, if done right it could really apply to any food delivery, but who doesn’t love pizza.
Any pizza lover knows that crafting the perfect pizza starts with preparation. Since we don’t have edible sensors just yet we need to think of a different way to track a pizza as it’s made and how to offer feedback to the customer.
Lets imagine a system that links the order to the pan that your pizza will be cooked in. From the moment you place your order that pan will be tracked in the shop. Now just tracking the pan through the shop isn’t enough, we need other sensors in place so that when the pan is in proximity to them we can see how the data relates to each other.
Now that the dough is in the pan the next step is to bring it to the prep station, it goes from sauce, to cheese, to toppings all before entering the oven. Each of the containers holding the individual toppings could be fitted with weight sensors. When the pan linked to your order comes to rest in front of each section the information showing the weight of each ingredient used could be displayed. Your pizza gets 100g of sauce, 200g of cheese, 55g of black olives and 43g of mushrooms before it’s placed into the oven.
The next step in the process is where the magic happens; your pizza is cast into the oven. At this phase you may want to know how long it is cooking for and at what temperature it’s at. However; it is conceivable that some shops may not want to divulge such information, trade secrets and all. In those cases I guess just time in the oven would have to do.
How it Holds Up
After the pie is taken from the oven and boxed we are going to want to keep track of how it’s doing. Of course we are going to want the pizza delivered hot. To that end having the pizza box report back the temperature inside so we can gauge how hot the pizza is and how much it has cooled while it was out for delivery would be fantastic.
Most food delivery gets sent out in some type of thermal packaging to keep the food from losing too much heat in the process. I would say in most cases this is going to be enough. If active heating is used to keep the food warm then it could dry out during the delivery, just like if your food is left under the heating lamps at a restaurant before your waiter brings it out to the table. If this were the case then perhaps a humidity sensor would be a nice touch as well, though to be honest I have never ben delivered a dry pizza, this might come more into play with other foods though, fish perhaps?
Location, Location, Location
Now we get down to the delivery, this is where that sweet, sweet pizza is transported from the shop to your door. Back in the US they come via car; here in Thailand normally the pie arrives via scooter with a hot box on the back. Either way the solution is pretty much straightforward. One option is that the vehicle can be outfitted with a telematics device that provides GPS location, but considering most delivery people use their personal vehicles to deliver your pie that is an unlikely solution.
The second option, which is far more feasible and more likely, would be to have a smartphone app for the driver that knows which orders they have been assigned and reports the location of the pie as the driver traverses his route. The shop could even make use of geo-fencing to notify the customer once the driver has left the shop with their order and ping the customer again once the pizza is within a specific range of their home.
So, now we have ordered the pizza, it has been made and out for delivery, it gets to our door and now we have to pay for it. But damn, you forgot to go to the ATM to get cash. This is the last step before we can enjoy that pizza, before we can sink our teeth into that hot, doughy, cheesy goodness. The Internet of Things offers us one last solution to make this payment painless. Of course there are a number of devices on the market like Strip and Square that can be plugged into a smartphone to swipe a credit card. But why should we have to actually handle the card.
The best option for the payment of our piping hot pizza would be to use Near Field Communications (NFC), it’s fast, secure and simple. It used to be that only Android devices could play with NFC, but since Apple has begun to include the technology in the iPhone and paired it with Apple Pay its ubiquity makes it a great choice. The delivery person could hold either a phone equipped with an app that accepts payment or have a completely separate device for accepting payment, then email the receipt directly to the customer. Fast, easy, and now we are ready to eat.
Sinking Our Teeth In
A system like the one described here might be a ways off for your average pizza shop, and even still unlikely for big chains but the idea is novel. I think some aspects of this system could be implemented in the food service industry for a variety of uses. The bigger idea here is that the way we use IoT is limited only by our imaginations. Connectivity vastly enhances what “things” can do for us and how we can use them. Tracking a pizza from pan to mouth might seem like a small thing, but I hope this is the connected future I have to look forward to. If we can do this with pizza, just imagine what else we can accomplish with larger issues.
About a year ago I started to use a piece of wearable tech to track my activity levels. I picked up a Jawbone up from a shop in Bangkok and with that my wearable journey began. Like any new relationship things started off great, I unboxed and charged my Jawbone and would wear it every day. And I stuck with the everyday use for about 3 months, until it stopped working.
My Up Jawbone is on the shelf…
Once the Jawbone stopped working I reached out to the company via twitter and they were all over my request for a replacement. They shipped one too me here in Thailand, no questions asked. Once it arrived in the mail I started to wear the Up again, and things were going well, until it started to irritate my skin while jogging. I tried a few lotions and some other possible solutions, but the more I wore the device the worst it got.
So, just before the six-month mark I fell into the category that most wearable tech users do, and that is I stopped using, and at right around the same time. Even though I was committed to using it continuously when I got it, and I did find real value in the way it allowed me to track my activity and the gamification of my data against my friends who have the device that wasn’t enough to motivate me to keep using it. A few small issues lead to me shelving the device once and for all.
I still wanted to track my activity levels as I spend most of my time at a desk, or table, or some other place where I can work on my laptop or tablet; either coding, writing or reading. Since I was no longer hot on the idea of an activity tracker as a wearable I had to figure out how to approach it.
Pacer allows me to keep track of my activity without an extra device!
The one item I always have on me is my smartphone, which was the gateway device for the Jawbone anyway. In reality, my iPhone has all the sensors it needed to do the job of the Up, I just needed to find an app that would fit the need and that provided me a good user experience. After much researching and some trial and error I ended up going with an app called Pacer. I just let it run in the background on my phone and it takes advantage of all the sensors in my phone to keep track of my activity level for me and allows me to look at trends and analyze my activity. It also allows me to create groups of friends and we can track our progress against each other and having fun with it.
Ultimately this experience reinforced the idea that single use wearables will have a very short market life. The pervasiveness of smartphones that are packed with sensors and have a massive library of apps available will be their demise. Now my wrist is no longer irritated and I still have all the benefits of the wearable without the hassle of having to put something on every day.
I recently made the trip from Bangkok to Chicago to take part in a CompTIA Network+ Subject Mater Expert (SME) exam development workshop. The Network+ was one of the first industry certifications I had earned and it played a part in getting my career on the track it is today, so I was excited to have been invited to participate in the workshop and be part of that process from the other end.
The focus of the workshop was developing and reviewing questions for a new version of the Network+ exam and making sure they were appropriate for the level of the exam and that they mapped to specific knowledge and skills which CompTIA is looking to test the candidates on.
I was always impressed with CompTIA exams and the value they bring to the industry, but after having taken part in the exam development process I am even more confident in the quality and value of the CompTIA exams.
A lot of things impressed me about the weeklong workshop, and I wont list them all, but I will touch on the key points that really highlight why the experience was so outstanding and why it reinforces to me the quality and value of the exams.
Though this workshop brings together industry experts to tap into their knowledge and develop the exam the workshop itself would not be possible if it were not for the outstanding and professional staff at CompTIA, which organize and run the workshop. They run the workshop efficiently and effectively from start to finish all while maintaining a vibrant and relaxed work environment; which from what I can tell is a direct reflection of the overall culture at CompTIA.
I cannot say enough good things about the staff at CompTIA. Without exception, every single individual that I interacted with impressed me in so many ways and on so many levels.
The second factor that really enhanced the whole experience for me was the quality and diversity of the SMEs that were brought into help with exam development. It was clear that a great deal of effort had been made to find highly qualified individuals from varying backgrounds, all with expertise in a different subset of Network+ objectives.
Each SME at the workshop wielded some impressive knowledge and had the experience to back it up. Some might think that there would be a lot of ego floating around in a group like that, but nothing could be further from the truth. Each of the SMEs knew what they were experts at and knew what they didn’t know, that lead to a working environment were people were openly helping one another and contributing to the groups goal.
If you read this far you already know I thought this was an enjoyable and rewarding experience. For me the enjoyment came from working with knowledgeable and professional individuals for a week. While the reward came from being able to utilize the knowledge and skills I have gained over the course of my career and be able to contribute something that will be part of someone’s journey in the IT field, I have been able to contribute back to something that was one of my first steps in the industry and now the work I have done will be reflected in the same step for the next generation of networkers and IT professionals, and just thinking of that makes me pretty happy!
A while back I had a brief exchange with @TereSense on Twitter about the direction that wearable tech has to take in order to offer true value to the consumer, which really got me thinking about the topic.
Wearable tech is at a great stage in its development the popularity of smartphones and the utilization of technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) have allowed us to utilize our smartphones as the gateway for countless wearable tech devices.
I have already written about the need for design in the wearable space for CMS Wire so here I will talk about the functionality that will need to develop in order for wearable tech to be a real game changer.
There is no doubt that the large number of wearable devices we see in the market today will be integrated into more sophisticated devices as the footprint of chips are reduced and their power consumption can be constrained.
Right now the vast majority of the devices we use require another device, most commonly our smartphone to act as the gateway and provide Internet connectivity. While this in itself is not an issue for the most part, it limits the overall functionality to require that it constantly be tethered to a host device of some sort.
One of the more popular types of devices right now are fitness and health trackers, It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to imagine that these functions will be intergraded into a far more functional smart watch. Though such a device would offer far greater functionality and usability it will stiff suffer from the same major deficiency, that it must be tethered to a gateway device to offer its full range of functions.
As wearable devices develop greater functionality it will really make sense that they are able to live without being tethered to another device. Once that is the case wearable devices may very well begin to outpace and even replace mobile devices.
Another one of the factors that is currently holding back a wider range of wearable functionality is the limitations on the user interface. For the most part now we are constrained to interact with our wearables through our smartphone or in a manner similar to our smart phone where we have to make physical contact with the device in some manner.
Though Siri has been a feature on the iPhone for some time now, it still lingers around as more of a novelty than as a serious UI consideration. Though I think Siri is a move in the right direction, and it does seem to have improved since it was first integrated with iOS in 2011 there is still a long way it needs to go before it is considered viable as a UI replacement.
When a UI like Siri can offer the same type of control and experience as physically interacting with a device can then it is time to think about applying it to wearable devices and allowing them to take over much of the functions that our smart phones do today.
Of course talking to your device is not always going to be an option, so other non-verbal forms of interfacing with the device will need to be developed to go along with a verbal UI. The real key will be creating a UI or combination of UIs that allow the user to interact with the device without seeming awkward in any way. Until then, if you see me out someplace seemingly talking to myself please just assume I am trying to interface with a device and not just crazy!
I guess I had not really ever thought of myself as an Internet of Things thought leader but Onalytica published a report highlighting the top 100 Internet of Things Thought Leaders, I was very surprised to find out that I am number 10 on their list.
The whole idea is a lot to take in, I am still digesting it.
Right now we are still at the beginning stages of the Internet of Things; there are a lot of “things” connected in one way or another, but there still has not been a larger, more cohesive Internet of Things built. We are getting there, a little at a time, but we are not there yet. At this stage there are a few issues that are really slowing down the growth of the Internet of Things, once we get past them we should start to see the true value of IoT come to light.
The primary issue stopping the Internet of Things from really taking off is that it’s just not standardized yet. There are a lot of great products out there, but the big issue remains that they do not talk to each other or work on the same platform, and that is something which holds back the larger framework.
There is really only one way to get to the point where everything can talk to each other and work together and that is through standardization. Standards need to be developed and agreed upon in order to move the Internet of Things forward. The issue here is that this process takes a long time. There are a lot of players and moving parts which need to come into alignment. But once we get there I can foresee a boom of acceptance in the IOT space.
The second major issue I see right now which is stopping the Internet of Things from reaching its full potential is that not every connected product that hits the market offers a real service. From where I stand its great to have a product connected, but if that “thing” is not providing me some service or doing something for me then it really has no value to add to my everyday life.
So, lets assume we work past these two issues that I think are holding the Internet of Things back, and we will work past them at some point, probably at some point in the near future. But now that they are out of the way, what is the real value that will emerge from the Internet of Things?
As we begin to connect more parts of our life to the Internet of Things and those things begin to talk to each other and work together they will facilitate us not having to take on so many manual tasks in our day-to-day lives. What will just a small part of that day look like?
Our refrigerator will confer with our cupboard to determine which ingredients are available and send a list of potential recipes to our phone for us to choose from. On the way home from work that day our car will schedule its next oil change and add it to our calendar. When we arrive home the front door will know we have arrived and unlock when we are just a few steps away. As we walk into the house it is at the perfect temperature because the thermostat knows we like it a little cooler downstairs when we first get home. As we walk into the kitchen to start cooking the home sound system turns on some jazz because it knows we like something a little funky when we cook. As we begin to pull the ingredients out of the refrigerator the heath monitor built into our smart watch tells the tablet on the counter to adjust the portion size of the recipe because we did not hit our target exercise goal for the day. As we begin to put the ingredients together the oven turns itself on and begins to preheat. After dinner as we leave the kitchen and move to the living room to watch some TV the lights turn off in one room and on in the other to help us save energy. Then as we settle in to watch a show that the TV recorded because it matched our viewing habits the room dims the lights automatically, saving energy and creating our desired atmosphere.
If we get to the point where my above scenario is an actuality the real value from the Internet of Things will come in the form of us having to spend less time in our day planning for it and more time actually doing the things we want to focus on. And doing it all while our connected devices help us to save energy and money while living a healthier life.
These are the attributes I think the Internet of Things can deliver on, but before we can start to get there we need to work towards standards and openness of platforms. Once we take that first step in helping devices work together on common platforms the rest of the pieces will fall into place, and we will be living better for it.
I recently picked up a Jawbone Up to play around with and see the impact that wearable tech could have on my fitness routines. I had given some serious thought to which wearable I would end up with, ultimately I went with the Jawbone because it had a simple design, it slips on and off with ease and doesn’t look like I am sporting a large piece of obtrusive tech on my wrist all day long. I had actually planned on getting the Up24 so I would have an actual connected device, but I just couldn’t find one around Bangkok, so after an exhaustive search I decided to settle on the Up.
Once I unboxed the Up I got it charged and downloaded the Up app for my iPhone. I was already using RunKeeper which connected with the Up app to correlate my step count along with my logged and recored runs and the walks tracked with the pocket track feature.
There are a number of apps that connect with the Up app to more closely track your daily activity and offer additional insights, some for weight, some for diet and various other activities. for me most of them require far too much interaction to really be useful. I dawned this wearable tech to help me track my daily activity without having to keep a manual log, so to have to manually enter every bit of food I eat seem counter intuitive.
Don’t get me wrong, There are plenty of apps which connect with the Up app which I think offer real value, the Run Keeper app for one lets me see how my runs and walks line up with my tracked steps. Sleepio seems to offer a good service for improving your sleep patterns, if you want to pay for it and the Withings connected scale is a great idea to keep track of your weight without having to manually log it. However; since I don’t have the Withings scale and I don’t want to pay for Sleepio I will stick with just Run Keeper for now.
I have written about this before, several times, but if a wearable device is just going to track data for me then it’s ultimately worthless in the long run. To offer me real value and develop habits for sustained use the device itself has to have processes in place to help me change my habits and improve whatever metric I am using it to track.
The Up has such a feature, if I am sitting idle for to long I can set the Up to vibrate, letting me know to get up and walk around for a few minutes. Right now I have it set to go off every hour if I have been inactive. I find this interval has worked out well for me. Most times I will be sitting at my desk and the Up will vibrate, that will be just enough to prompt me to get up and walk around the building for a few minutes. Since I enabled this feature I have noticed that my step count has increased about 10%, this is a noticeable increase I can contribute to this specific feature on the Up.
So far I have gotten accustom to wearing the Up on a daily basis, its easy to slip on when I wake up and I hardly notice it during the day. I like being able to see how many steps I have walked and track that against the previous days and goals which I set for daily activity. The activity reminder has worked out well for me, helping me boost the amount of steps I am taking in a given day. Though all of this has been a nice benefit to wearing the device, I have to think that as smart watches become more advanced and can offer a larger range of features and services bands like this will begin to loose market share to those devices.
At the end of the day I see benefit to using the Up for now, I like the features I have explored and I will keep using it for the time being.