An API Driven Quantified Self
17 Sep 2012
I’m immersing myself into the fascinating new world of the Quantified Self (QS). If you are not familiar with what QS is, according to Wikipedia:
Quantified Self is a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person's daily life in terms of inputs (e.g. food consumed, quality of surrounding air), states (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental and physical).
As I do with other areas, I start my research by doing a roundup of companies who offer QS products and services--which helps me define the space. Within an hour I easily found 50+ QS device manufacturers, some of which were complete with API driven integration platforms-- way too many to list in a single roundup, but here are a couple of better known companies:
- Fitbit - Fitbit is a health and fitness tracking device
- RunKeeper - Runkeeper is a device for tracking, measuring, and improving your fitness
- Withings - Withings provides connected body scales, blood pressure and baby monitors
- Zeo - Zeo has sleep tracking and management devices and apps
These QS platforms represent a whole new opportunity for the API industry, one that will drive the next generation of healthcare innovation. Self-quantification starts with data collection, followed by visualization, then cross-referencing and the discovery of correlations--all three opportunites for APIs.
Devices can use APIs via cell and wifi to transmit data for collection and storage, while also allowing app developers to use the same APIs to help end-users manage and visualize their data. Then, when appropriate, use the same APIs providing access to other systems and providers who can then cross-reference and discover correlations within individual or groups of users.
It is exciting to think about the possibilities around QS. New ways to gather data about our health and the environment around us in real-time, but also be able to understand this data in the most meaningful way possible, in a way that impacts the most important thing to us--our health!
Devices + APIs + Cloud = Exciting Opportunities!