How A Health Insurance Is Using Wearable Data To Motivate Its Customers

What Happened
CSS, one of Switzerland’s biggest health insurers, is testing a pilot program to incentivize or, depending on your perspective, penalize its customers based on fitness data. Launched in July, the program tracks the movements of 2,000 volunteers on a daily basis using digital pedometers. The goal is to better calibrate insurance rates based on individual data. Currently, the monitoring can only legally be used on supplementary insurance, but the company reportedly would like to expand it as part of the Switzerland’s mandatory basic coverage.

What Brands Should Do
Fitness trackers and the quantified self movement have grown in tandem, which in turn, generate a vast amount of health data that the healthcare industry can use to improve their service. In fact, CSS is not the first insurance company to utilize fitness data: Oscar Insurance launched a similar test program in the US last year. The company gave away Misfit fitness trackers and rewarded users with Amazon gift cards based on their personal stats. Besides insurers, more healthcare companies should figure out how, within legal bounds, to incorporate fitness data into their incentive programs or even penalization, in order to provide more personalized and calibrated services, understand their customers, and manage risks.


Source: Quartz

NY Quantifiable Self Show and Tell

Event Recap: NY Quantifiable Self Show and Tell

On August 6th, the IPG Media Lab attended a NY Quantified Self Show & Tell event where some entrepreneurs showcased their creations. Many of the products on display were still in early stages of development and few had direct marketing implications, they nevertheless presented a great deal of creativity and ingenuity. Among the items featured, the three standouts were:

  • A heart rate monitor on a steering wheel that flashed LED lights on the exterior of the vehicle so other drivers can get a sense of a fellow driver’s attentiveness.
  • A location-tracking app that aims to empower users by collecting and potentially monetizing the hyperlocal consumer data they generate.
  • A SMS-based platform that uses a conversational UI to enable users to conveniently track their diet and measure calorie intake.

The quantifiable self movement has been a dream come true for marketers. Now more than ever, users are incentivized to share data and information that brands can leverage to understand their consumer base on a much more personal level. This wealth of data allows brands to extend highly relevant and customized messaging in specific environments at the most effective moments.

How Wearables Can Help The Health Insurance Industry

Read original story on: Gizmodo

This week, Oscar Insurance launched a new program: the company is giving away Misfit fitness trackers in hope of motivating its clients to exercise more and stay healthy. If users reach a daily step count determined by their current health stats, they get $1 credit, which they can later use on Amazon gift cards. As the health insurance starts focusing on preventative health, this seems like a great win-win solution.

The Daily Beast Wants To Quantify Your News Intake

Read original story on: NiemanLab

With its newly launched mobile app, The Daily Beast is spearheading the transition of Quantified Self movement from health and fitness into digital news. The app tracks what users are reading and skipping, offering these news-reading stats in its “daily breakdown” feature for users to see.

Moreover, the app uses that reading data to personalize news recommendations to its readers. It can mine the data to learn your most-read news category or writer, and suggests items accordingly to nudge readers to stories of their interests.


The app has seen some early success so far as a vital engagement driver, with the site’s page consumption per session up 2 to 3 times since it launched in August. If this kind of individually quantified news reading catches on, we can soon expect similar quantifying efforts across sites, tracking our entire news intake.

Sector Spotlight: Quantified Health

One of the more interesting segments of the Quantified Self ecosystem involves health tracking. As platforms like Apple’s Healthkit and Google Fit begin to outline the new marketplace, Quantified Health could become a vital part of the connected self’s daily routine, as well as a new media channel through which brands can communicate with consumers. Here is just a small sample of health-tracking products going far beyond activity tracking.

What is Quantified Health?

Quantified Health is the sector of the market of wearables, apps, and sensors that monitor the way a user’s body and lifestyle perform on a daily basis. This creates data that can provide feedback on activity, leading to a positive impact on the way a person lives.


Sensoria is a line of “smart garments” with sensors embedded in the fabric. Socks can track common activities—step counts, speed, distance—but also can understand gait and foot placement to accurately analyze walking or running patterns. Its shirts and sports bras can function as an extension to a heart rate monitor. All of the products sync with a mobile device via Bluetooth.


Bellabeat is a suite of devices to intelligently track a pregnancy. The company offers a stylish wristband that tracks an expectant mother’s activity, stress, nutrition and sleep quality. Additionally, Bellabeat manufactures a non-ultrasound pregnancy monitor that can record and share a baby’s heartbeat, as well as send music to the baby in the womb. Rounding out the suite is a smart scale for both the mother and the baby.


There are a few meditation wearables on the market, but they usually come as part of a larger fitness package. Muse is the only meditation headband that we’ve come across — its sensors detect brainwaves, like a miniature EEG machine. The app provides goals for relaxation sessions, which are meant to reduce the intensity of brainwave patterns.

What opportunities does Quantified Health present to advertisers?

The advertising potential in Quantified Health products could open an entirely new channel to consumers. Apps can deliver branded content emphasizing fitness and health as users begin to integrate the technology into their lifestyle, and the surplus of data will present a more granular picture of demographics and user identities. Finally, the technology itself can be used to drive users toward purchase, with in-app marketplaces or deals.

Barriers To Wearable Adoption

Wearables were undoubtedly one of the categories at CES with the most growth potential. With embedded sensors, these wearables can measure everything from calories consumed to steps taken and hours slept. As this Fast Co article points out, however, there are some serious roadblocks to mainstream adoption, chiefly battery life, technical limitations, and “aesthetic drawbacks.” Despite these issues, there are a few things that brands need to take note of in the wearable space concerning media. First and foremost, wearables require a glanceable UI that packages information in an immediately digestible and actionable way. Secondly, successful ones let data tell stories like Nike+ ability to share runs with friends or ZombieRun which marries fitness tracking with a Zombie adventure game.  

Athos Core Improves Quantified Self

Athos is taking quantified self to the next level with its new product: Core. Using proprietary EMG sensors, mounted wirelessly in custom Athos workout garments, Core aggregates information about heart rate, breathing and how a user is working individual muscle groups, and displays this information in an app in real time to create actionable insights that improve the effectiveness of a workout.  Athos believes their product gives a comprehensive and useful insight into athletic progress and isn’t just for power athletes: it could be used by anyone who exercises, or even for rehabilitation purposes.  The company just scored $3.5 million in seed funding, so it will be interesting to see how this company and product shape up.

Under Armour Purchases MapMyFitness

In an acquisition that is reported to be worth $150 million, Under Armour is adding MapMyFitness to forcefully inject itself into the quantified self movement. MapMyFitness has over 20 million registered users, 700,000 of which use the service daily. It puts Under Armour squarely in competition with Nike, Jawbone, and FitBit – but whether they take the service to a device-based level to really go toe-to-toe with these services remains to be seen. That traditionally clothing-centric brands continue to invest in quantified self and fitness trackers points to the potency of this trend. Consumers want to track their daily activities, and if clothing companies can expand their business into this area before anyone else they’ll be poised to capitalize. 

Smart Tooth Sensor Prototyped in Taiwan

Data informs our lives more and more every day.  A final frontier of the data craze – the last private realm – has been the human body itself, but with the advent of FitBit and similar technologies, even that is fair game in the name of improved health.  Researchers at the National Taiwan University in Taipei have developed a sensor to be placed permanently in the mouth to measure oral movements.  Its accuracy is nearly 94% at this early stage, and it can differentiate between eating, speaking, coughing, smoking, drinking, and breathing.  The device is capable of offering feedback to the user regarding these habits, as the FitBit can provide valuable data about a user’s level of physical activity.  The current prototype is wired to allow charging, and is connected to a mouth brace, but future models could be embedded directly in teeth and charged via induction.  Oral health is a strong indicator of holistic health, and with detailed data made available by such a sensor, the quantified self could be even closer than it presently appears.

Twitter And Everyday Health Deliver Sponsored Health Alerts

When we think of diagnostic tools, stethoscopes and blood pressure monitors may come to mind, but how about Twitter? According to Everyday Health, the publisher will partner with Twitter to mine health-related tweets to identify impending outbreaks and respond with tailored Twitter alerts.  What’s more is the opportunity to have particular brands sponsor these notifications. With the amount of data from Twitter to Nike Fuelband, the healthcare industry is going through a digital revolution as we become more sophisticated about predicting health outcomes and offering personalized care. A search for “quantified self” is all you need to get started.