Quantified-Self Movement

Nowadays, an increasing number people are using self- monitoring devices in order to monitor and track their daily fitness levels. In the last few years, as more of the sport trackers entered the market; first “Quantified Athlete” and then "Quantified Self" movements began to form.

Although these self-monitoring devices are still be perceived as a “new invention”, there is no doubt that we will see only increasing people using wearable activity monitoring tools in the coming days.

Smartphones and tablets are being used actively in the arena of ​​healthcare. Furthermore consumers who produce digital human data and the so named “Digital human” movement participants, will soon want to share this information with their physicians and health care organizations. In this way, people will be able to receive more personalized care based on their health conditions, their nutrition and physical activity levels.

Maybe it is early yet for health oriented user cases; however usage of digitized human devices, which entered into life through wearable smart wristband and smart watches, already exploded in developed countries.

Before and after the quantified-self movement

Digitized human data is not a new idea. There have previously been fields like space technology and science explorations, where this idea has been used for years. What I prefer to focus on here is massively large data stack to form a continuous and sustainable information system based on digitized human data.

What to do with all this data?

In conventional modern medicine; so as to manage certain medical conditions, instant and recorded historical data of patients are used. When this is taken into consideration, within the next decade, large numerical data generated by the patient will become clinically significant information.

In addition, very interesting applications will be developed inevitably by the usage of the figure (or avatar) of a man (human data) is in the gaming industry with the emergence of virtual reality.

The real innovation is in the scenarios where the data is anonymously shared and becomes unique meaningful public knowledge. For example migraine patients identified some physical, mental monitoring environmental conditions, such as sharing of different responses to various treatments.

Who are we talking about?

A number of innovative firms offering quantified-self solutions have emerged and entered markets such as health, fitness and gaming. In addition to those niche players, very large companies also have launched their products to get a share of this lucrative market. However as yet, the breakthrough in telecommunications, IT and other industries has not reached to expected levels to boost analytics, usage and storage of all this big data.

How to address the expectations from quantified self?

Let us start with the basics:

Security : Personal information is the most private information, and the biggest question mark in this area is the safety requirements of sharing the personal data. Therefore the studies will be related to the Cloud and Big Data security as well as the safety standards in data generation and collection steps.

Applications : Eventually, the applications and devices will expand the benefits and richness of the data.  As in today, application development platforms will be a necessary solution to the growth of this market by forming an ecosystem of applications for industrial usages.

 Cloud: Storage solution for big data is the Cloud, we know that. Typical self monitoring devices have almost no memory capacities, and they directly transfer the produced data to the Internet or by connecting to the private network. Thus, a cloud system enabling real -time access, fast, secure and with scalable capacity will be the most important need of the market in this area.


According to Ericsson Consumer Lab results, 40% of smartphone users want to save all physical activities. 59% of those people prefer to use smart bracelet, 56% prefer to use a smart ring to produce personal data. All of these devices are expected to be connected to each other, to internet users and to their owners.

Quantified Self is one of the latest trends recently emerged in big data space and  people, and is not limited to biological data but also all kinds of physical, behavioral and environmental human knowledge monitoring. Here, there are many new business opportunities from the collection of data to storage, from the analysis to the integration of the big data. Moreover, solutions are needed to enable secure open access to personal data. In the near future, we will see leading companies and organizations which will offer solutions for database resources and privacy standards.

Future "Quantified Self" applications will be developed on data models that make sense of and help to create behavioral change. In addition, data mashing will be very common where the information collected from several sources like different devices, biosensors, cell phones, gene information etc is combined.

According to some, self-monitoring and measurement of self-data will lead into the development of new sense capabilities which are not possible with natural senses. Build the dream of it or try to resist or likely balk at such a future. Which one would you choose?

About Sibel Aydogmus Bahadir

Strategic Program Director at Ericsson
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