What does my Fitbit say when I am not around?

Three things.

What once was tracked is, still tracked. What once now traced is now more likely to be tracked. In the world of wearables what is, can be and will be tracked is growing. Now the question is should be tracked.

Should you track your sleep? I wonder about that one. I haven’t to date, although I have played with devices that track sleep, I find that to be intrusive and adding pressure to a natural process that doesn’t need pressure. I have enough troubles sleeping sometimes (and sleep takes over enough sometimes that I forget to set the wearable device). Should you track your sleep patterns?

Fitbit and other wearables offer that as an option. So do the many connected bed systems that are out there, track your sleep. Sleep as a competition. But sleep isn’t a competition so again I think it probably isn’t a good idea to track sleep. That got me thinking, the should’ s and the shouldn’t’ s (I know that isn’t a word but you get the idea) of tracking.

Steps are a great thing to track. I have friends that average 20,000 or more steps a day. I try to average between 14,000 and 16,000 every day. I would love to be able to average 20,000 a day but I just don’t have that level of energy anymore.

What else shouldn’t be measured? From the it’s a really bad idea department there are any number of things that we probably shouldn’t track. Plus, any number of things, we should track more. The reality of the Industrial Internet of Things is the concept of tracking not just the manufacturing process but all the way, including the supply chain and post production infrastructure. Once the widget is delivered to the sales system you track it in the warehouse. You build systems that consider what is being tracked and how you will track it. In fact, as we head further into the world of tracking, the performance of devices should be tracked so that the manufactories can evaluate changes in the device effectively. Look, moving the button from one side to the other increased the use of the device by 20%.

Should your connected fork notify the manufacturer that it was used four times in one day?

In fact, based on my premise of “should” and having moved a little to the left of the original premise “wearable and track able” to the broader concept of IoT/CPS and should report. Let’s push that envelope a little. If I buy something such as a cooktop or an oven should it have a sensor? If I am a commercial kitchen and the use of the device drives my business than the fact that it reports back to a central manufacturers system is ok right? I mean if there is something that I can capture that increases the reliability of the system I am using in the kitchen to make money, then in fact I want that data shared. But if the usage data comes from my home stove, I don’t really want that data shared.

The line between the business world and the home world is very clear and one that needs watching. First off from the reality of networks. If your devices are chattering away with a remote server, there is effectively less bandwidth for other things. Less Bandwidth seems like a stupid thing to worry about, unless you are home and its Friday night and Netflix finally has that movie you’ve been dying to see. Then your chattering network will have less available bandwidth for that movie.

What should be reported by the many devices in businesses and homes? What data is relevant to the manufacturer? I have today listed a few things that we shouldn’t report and few things that won’t impact anything by reporting them. I suspect, over the next few days as I mull through this, that I will try and create a list of should’ s and Shouldn’t’ s for data collection. What is good to know and what should probably not leave your home as far as information collected.

IoT/CPS wearable devices producing information on my sleep patterns could, given the company collecting the data, become advertising information tomorrow. Targeted advertising that finds me when I am both awake, and caring about commercials (which isn’t often on the second one). But if I am having trouble sleeping and the new miracle sleep aid can be rushed to my house (because the manufacturer already knew I wasn’t sleeping well and sent one with my name on it to a local warehouse a mile from me) the impulse to have something tomorrow that fixes a problem is pretty high.

Should and Should not, the future of IoT/CPS data collection.

I leave you with this thought. Would you want your car to report the fact that you were speeding (repeatedly) on your drive home? Or that you cut off three or four other drivers to your insurance company? Insurance as a service, your car tells them what to charge you.


Wondering what my Fitbit says about me when I am not around…