A pattern is starting to emerge over at Jawbone. The wearables company has always billed its UP fitness monitor as a lifestyle tracker, but lately it’s starting to live up to its own hype, pulling in data from some unusual sources have that little to do with your daily exercise regime.
Last week it announced a partnership with quantified canine startup Whistle Labs to connect its UP app to Whistle’s eponymous dog activity tracker. And on Wednesday it announced a deal with quantified driving outfit Automatic Labs to perform the same integration with its after-market car module.
Jawbone and its partners are positioning these partnerships as being multiple facets of the same gem. Jawbone isn’t just aggregating data from different gadgets in the internet of things; it’s also explaining how the time you spend in your car and with your dog affects your own activity.
For instance, the UP app won’t just tell you that you drove two miles to the grocery store; it will tell you how many steps you would have taken if you had chosen to get off your beaded seat cover and walked to the store instead, according to Automatic’s blog. On the canine side, the UP app won’t just record your walks with Rover, but also tell you much longer your runs are with leash in hand and how restful (or fitful) your sleep patterns are when your Great Dane spoons you in bed.
While this is all interesting data up to a point, there’s only so much useful information you can glean from it. After a while, it might just seem obvious. Yes, UP, I’m a lazy bastard. Why don’t *you* walk the mutt to the f*$&ing liquor store instead?
But I think the most interesting aspect of these deals isn’t the recombination of data — rather, it’s the fact that Jawbone is aggregating data from multiple gadgets into a single app. UP and many other fitness trackers have already done this for obvious health-related apps and devices like Runkeeper and the Withings wireless scale.
Photo by Gigaom
The not-so-obvious data sources, on the other hand, make UP more useful for generating a snapshot of your day, regardless of whether it helps you shed pounds or fend off your next coronary. Why not let UP bring in data from your DVR or Netflix about how much time you spend in front of the TV daily? Or talk to your connected kitchen appliances and Foursquare to see how often you’re eating in versus out, and just what kind of junk you’re shoving into your mouth on a daily basis? If UP can make inferences by comparing those different data sets, all the better. But for me it’s enough that it’s just all there in one place.
Let’s face it, we’re connecting more and more devices and sensors to our smartphones, but we’re forced to access the information they glean from individual apps. Deciding whether to invest in a new internet of things gadget often boils down to whether you want to deal with another isolated data set in a completely new interface.
I’m an avid Whistle user and I have an Automatic Link in my car, but until now I’ve really had no interest in buying a fitness tracker. If Jawbone keeps connecting to more internet-of-things devices, though, I’ll definitely be getting an UP24.
Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
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- Analyzing the wearable computing market
- Connected world: the consumer technology revolution
- Who matters in the Quantified Self movement, and why
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