We all instinctively have a "gut feel" for how much we sleep, exercise, drink, etc. but studies consistently show that our gut is an unreliable measuring stick. Basing personal decisions on this flawed insight leads to poor feedback loops and poor results. This is where the value of tracking comes in. Being numerically explicit about our behaviors and our body's measurements starts to build a baseline of where our bodies really are, what effects them, and by how much.
The important benefits of tracking is not a new concept to high-end athletics. Tracking metrics have been a core part of almost all competitive sport teams for decades. However, for the average person, the effort involved in executing a metric-based tracking regime was significant which meant it was the preserve of a small fringe of over-achievers, cronic pain suffers, or similarly motivated groups.
Today all that has changed as a result of advancements in science, affordable sensors, ubiquitous mobile computing, and better software analytics and visualisation tools. This combinatorial set of changes has critically effected three aspects to tracking:
- The process of tracking has been made far easier
- The increased accuracy of the data gives it far greater utility
- The quantity of measurements that can be tracked by the individual
We are entering a golden-era of personal data. What was once the pervue of olympic athletes (e.g., achieving new physical boundaries) and large retailers (e.g., tracking customer buying behavior) has suddenly become available to consumers in a way that they can consume it effectively (e.g., easy to use, cost effective, demonstrable value, etc.). In order to thrive in this new era, however, we will need better ways to manage this data. LifeGadget will provide the following critical features to trackers:
- Allow consumers to switch between tracking products without losing their data
- Provide the visibility that comes with having all data on a single platform
- Allow individuals to maintain data ownership
- Ensure the growth of personal data does not increase the effort required in managing and owning this data.