My Quantified, Connected Self
Every morning at the blissful hour of too-early o’clock, millions of us awake to the sound of an alarm clock. I bet you can agree that no alarm’s sound is blissful, right?
Not exactly and, in fact, mine is not terrible, which is why I plan to embrace mornings in 2020 (proud to mention it’s Week 3 and counting) amongst other home/work advances.
Understand, on most motivated mornings I’m gently awoken by a wrist vibration from my Apple Watch 4. My wife is thankful for the lack of disturbance, instead opting for our '3-year-old alarm clock' named Sara. From there, the day is filled with personal data.
One of this industry’s biggest desires is for clients to share their transactional data, as granularly as possible, with the enviable goal to measure activity X’s impact on metric Y. And in most cases, they aim to demonstrate things like incremental lifts in sales, foot traffic, engagement, clicks, etc. - let’s say as a result of paid media activity - so they can refine and optimise for the future. To be clear, a successful analysis most always requires organised and smart data inputs to generate actionable insights.
I like to utilise the same type of analogy when it comes to smart homes, IoT technology and wearable biometric tracking du jour: if I’m the 'client' and the data aggregators are the 'agencies', the more data I develop, the more there is for them to work with, right?
It’s win-win value exchange at its finest. Many people are rightfully protective over their own data, though I’m a believer that cautiously making more of my data available to aggregators - barring major risks - will help them provide me with useful information about myself and my environment, as well as actionable insights.
Especially when there is a promise of revenue upside for those involved.
· The Pillow app provides me with a sleep quality rating for last night’s slumber. Apparently, I’m a 'lark' (early morning person), garnering the highest quality of sleep between 10:35pm and 5:15am. Yet, I rarely listen to the app’s suggestion.
· Apple health reads the heart beat from my underwhelming workout on an outdated piece of cardio equipment. On weight training days, the Strong app tracks weight lifted, intensity, volume, workout time and repetitions.
· Sara, my little one, vehemently commands Alexa to “play the ‘chicken dance’ on Spotify,” and to turn the kitchen (Hue LED) lights to red as though she’s preparing for some bizarre toddler-cult ritual dance.
· MyFitnessPal, which I aspire to update religiously with each calorie consumed, tells me the quesadilla I just finished is high in sodium. Luckily, I’ve reached my daily protein intake goal.
· My smart scale from Withings keeps tabs on my weight, and logs them into the Nokia Health app.
· In the evening, Nest Protect warns me it’s detected smoke levels while burning a steak on a soon-to-be-thrown-away-cast-iron-pan. I should have acted on the warning before that one.
As an early adopter of all these things filled with high hopes, I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of utility and insights therein. The data seemingly sits there - disconnected, waiting to be used. Below, a small wish list for anyone looking to make Sascha Lock’s life better, while making brands’ advertising stronger.
· Prove to me that working out reduces stress levels and makes me more productive at work. Bonus: share that data with my employer to encourage people to work out during the day.
· Show me the correlation in sleep quality, home temperature, genre of shows watched, and my diet, then make a recommendation on how to improve sleep.
· Trend my weight fluctuation against sleep, big life moments, work calendar, environmental factors like pollution, and calories.
· Pinpoint early signs of an illness to help me prevent diseases months before they start. Imagine a world where our internal diagnostic data points are served to devices on our bodies or homes, then analysed by a virtual AI-doctor. Pretty cool, right?
- Bonus: connect me with the best real-life physician who has dealt with other look-a-likes to myself.
· Tell me which environmental factors have the biggest impact on an action (ambient temperature, surrounding noise levels, number of devices used within household, toddler yelling at Alexa).
· Customise creative copy and visuals of an ad based on what I ate that day.
· Change the tone, look, and feel of creative based on the show I am watching, or song I’m listening to, in that moment.
· Optimise media placement based on people I’m sitting next to looking at the same screen, to create a halo on that person as well.
We’re living in a 'privacy paradox' type of world: brands and tech companies struggle to balance personalising user experiences with respecting their data privacy. So, me being me, I’d like to see an increased focus from key players in the intersection of data and insights to enrich our lives 24/7, while communicating brand and product benefits.
And, in my perfect world, I’d really like to hear Sara ask Alexa to play a different song sometime soon. That might be her New Year’s Resolution in 2021.
Sascha Lock is VP, media, at AMP Agency