Two months ago I purchased a wearable device – the Fitbit charge. This is my experience the first month of wearing it 24/7.
I had been considering purchasing a fitness tracker for sometime, as I have used a pedometer in the past and it has definitely made me more active rather than sitting on the couch in the evening in front of my laptop and the TV. However, I didn’t really think about it too seriously and decide what device to purchase until a friend of mine got a Fitbit Surge. It looked really cool and I immediately came down with a case of tech envy. But I couldn’t justify the $350 price tag on it. So I compromised.
Being able to “compete” against my friends is a good motivator to get moving. Or at least it was while the weather was nice – finding it a bit harder now that it is dark in the evenings or often wet during the day and I can’t get out for a walk. There is only so much pacing you can do around the house.
Do I worry about the data that a corporation now has about me. They know my weight, when I normally sleep, how much activity I do during the day, if I’m going for a walk I will often track it using the GPS function on my phone so they know where I live and where I normally walk. Then there is the tie in with My Fitness Pal – if I track my food the two apps share information about me between each other. I’m not concerned about this. But I know that a lot of people might find it intrusive.
They might be convinced that the government could use this information to spy on them. To know where they were at a certain point in time. But this concern is not just valid regarding wearable technology – these days this information could be gained from the cellphone that pretty much everyone carries with them every where. There are also perhaps legal implications around this data being collected about you. There was a case in Canada 3 years ago where a cyclist hit and killed a 71 year old pedestrian. GPS data gleamed from his fitness tracker showed that he was speeding and had gone through several stop signs prior to the accident occurring.
But if this data was shared it could also be useful. Imagine if the council could see and track how many people were using a walking track – they could use this data to justify upgrading the facilities, and then track if the money was well spent by measuring if there was an increase in the use of this facility. They could judge if the bus stops were in the right places based on where people walk to and from.
Then there are the health sharing benefits. Imagine a device that tracked your blood pressure and your doctor was able to view real life data rather than relying on a measurement at a point in time while assessing your health.
But back to me . . . I think it’s time I went for a long walk. I’m only 3/4 of the way through my 10,000 steps for today.