One of the things I have been talking about in my RIA Engineering and Computer Science Speaker Series lectures (“Show Me Your Data and I’ll Tell You Who You Are“) is the ever increasing number of web connected devices we can use to collect data about different parts of our lives ranging from exercise to home security. This is the internet of things, Once the data streams emerging from a number of these devices are put together we can start to draw a very rich picture of a person activities, preferences and intentions. In this post we will describe some of the most interesting data generating devices we have come across in recent months.
Many of the earliest successful IOT devices are related to exercise and physical activity. From the fitbit to the Apple Watch there are a plethora of activity trackers that can measure and assess movement and exercise to help us keep track of our activity and motivate us to reach our potential (a nice overview of the top devices is available at GearPatrol). At the extreme end of this trend are Sensoria’s Fitness Socks which are embedded with pressure sensors and record the details of every footfall.
For the home there are new devices being made available every day that collect data frame a surprising breadth of activities. The Withings Body is a weighing scales that records weight and other associated measures such as muscle mass every time it is stepped upon. The Drop Smart Scales is a weight scales with associated apps that helps users cook and also records a stream of data on ingredients used, recipes followed etc. Once you have cooked a delicious meal using the Drop Smart Scale why not eat it using the HapiFork. The HapiFork is designed to encourage users to eat more slowly but also records data on the time taken to eat a meal, the intervals between forkfuls and the total number of forkfuls eaten. Finally, once dinner is finished the amount of rubbish thrown away can be recorded using the Genican which can also generate a shopping list to help you replace whatever you have thrown away.
If you would like to generate data from the other important people in your life two novel items stand out. The Pacif-i is a Bluetooth connected baby’s soother that provides a steady stream of temperature readings from your baby direct to your phone. Alerts can be generated when particularly high readings occur and a history is maintained allowing you look for patterns. The FitBark is a fitness tracker for dogs. Much like a Fitbit the FitBark tracks a dogs activity, the quality of their sleep and can alert owners to early health warnings.
Much of the time when people talk about the magic of big data they are really just talking about the same old data analysis that we have been doing for years (Big Data…..Marketing Magic or The Real Deal?). One thing that definitely is new in the last 5 to 10 years, however, is the number of devices from which we can generate data about ever more aspects of our lives. Exciting times ahead!