Do companies need quantified self? This was the same technology question people surely asked about cellular telephones after the first was launched in 1973.
When looking through the window of current growth in global data ecosystems, we see more and more progressive glimpses of the future in how people and businesses will connect. Cisco’s research report on The Internet of Things shows that by 2020, 50 billion ‘things’ will be connected to the Internet.
First and foremost, the kingship of all "connection" is essentially to ourselves, and this fact is no better spotlighted than by the work and growing number of devout followers of the Quantified Self movement, otherwise known as "QS."
QS has been around since early 2008 when WIRED Magazine's Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf held the first group in San Francisco, surrounded by an educated bunch of collective souls who simply loved learning about their own life from its data.
These early adopters showed a true desire for tracking multiple aspects of their lives. A handful of experiments started out quite basic with self-invented LEDs, circuits, and handmade wiring, but the advanced projects got off the ground by harnessing the exciting and newly developed IOT styled technologies of that time.
What’s fascinating now in the QS business space however, is the almost zero barrier to entry in which any brand can break into the bandwidth and marketing reach of QS. Let's dive into why tracking via QS can increase organizational bottom line, employee mindfulness, and drive positive change in the business landscape.
Quantified Self drives consumer engagement while galvanizing a brand promise.
When you look across the board at the different athletic and fitness type communities around QS, you'll see the way in which Nike, Apple, and FitBit have capitalized on human movement and physical activity with proprietary, and sometimes collectively shared, best practices of day-to-day aggregation and reporting of human data.
There are millions of people globally currently tracking their own QS with these large brands, and as these iconic logos become increasingly placed in the forefront of the customer’s mind, the social proofing and trust will furthermore become the ultimate veritas.
Quantified Self can improve employee and corporate wellness.
Using aggregated employee data and working with health insurance companies, Quantified Self relationships and smart APIs can provide an extremely affordable healthcare program for medium to large sized businesses. Nike has reportedly launched investments in 10 different startups who've worked to build a service on top of the Nike plus platform. With increasing operational costs on the rise, companies will be looking for future ways to keep attrition rates low while being able to slice operational costs via quantified self.
Quantified Self is the next generation of behavior modification.
Beyond just tracking data and comparing spreadsheets for self-knowledge, Quantified Self meet-ups across the world yield an overarching and sometimes very singular motivation for consumers to use these type of products.
Whether it’s through tracking apps in life-logged activities such as yoga, moods, fitness, nutrition, steps, or anything else you can imagine, the future is proving that end-users will have a powerful way to become increasingly more mindful about their daily actions. Through auto-suggestion and using real-timed and actionable data proofs, a person will now be gifted with a brand new view of themselves which in turn will deliver a much higher probability of personal transformation.
From reverse engineering these data proofs, users can better understand what it takes to change and begin to crystallize new behaviors that will lead to better lives, better emotional experiences with others, and deeper connections with co-workers.
As stated by @johnchavens in his book Hacking Happiness - Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World:
"Quantified Self and the IOT provide multiple ways to reflect on our humanity. They also let others peek from behind our shoulder and see us in ways we didn't recognize before. Being accountable in the connected world with its multifaceted mirrors doesn't need to be scary, just informed."
While most fitness mega-brands are torpedoing funds and development into QS apps and wellness technology, productivity spaces like Evernote and finance apps like Mint are a massive opportunity for companies to use self-tracking to enhance brand promise. This has the power to create a wave of marketing dollars and promotional discipline into a complete package that makes an end-user's daily habits monetized.
This is just the beginning.
QS and wearable technology are capturing mass-interest in other forms of virtual reality such as Google Glass, augmented reality, and other multi-billion dollar investments in the QS space over the next two to three years. Remember the cartoons we watched as kids (or adults) called the Jetsons?
If you own a business or are looking to advance human evolution, the time to look deeper at QS is now.
For over 100 years, technology has been the double-edged sword that has on one hand robbed humankind of exercise, movement, and expression while delivering a higher productivity yield.
Now, with the rise of QS, we can drive business and human evolution together side by side.
About the author: Josh Trent, NASM-CES, CPT, HLC, is a corrective exercise specialist and participatory sports technology expert with over 9 years in the fitness industry. His passion is to accelerate wellness evolution through the power of the Digital Health and Quantified Self movements. You can follow him on Twitter @wellnessforce, or through his website www.wellnessforce.com.
The nuviun blog is intended to contribute to discussion and stimulate debate on important issues in global digital health. The views are solely those of the author.