Putting health in pole position: Jawbone adding driving data

  • TECH
  • Saturday, 17 May 2014

PROMOTING EXERCISE: A partnership between Jawbone and Automatic aims to help push people towards walking and away from their cars.

A new partnership between Automatic and Jawbone could put consumers well and truly in the driver's seat when it comes to taking control of their health and fitness. 

The collaboration, announced on Wednesday, will see data gathered from Automatic — the activity tracker for cars — merged with data from the Jawbone UP wristband, its human tracking equivalent, and the combined information will appear in the UP smartphone app. 

The idea is simple: on the whole we don't exercise enough and one of the reasons is that we spend too much time driving instead. According to Automatic's figures, almost 80% of car journeys in the US are under two miles. 

And as the average person walks at a speed of four miles per hour, that's 30 minutes' gentle aerobic exercise they're passing on — a workout that doesn't require packing a bag, warming up or joining a gym — each time they reach for the car keys instead of their sneakers. 

As well as highlighting these missed opportunities to train, the idea of combining the data sets is to show users how walking instead of driving at a particular moment will help towards meeting their short- or long-term fitness or activity goals. Therefore it's carrot and stick. 

This is the second partnership that Jawbone has announced this month. On May 6 it started working with Whistle, maker of a canine activity tracker, in order to see if there are correlations between owning a pet and living a healthier, happier and more active life. 

Joining forces with Automatic, which plugs into a car's diagnostics port and tracks everything from driving style and fuel efficiency to fluid loss and potential mechanical issues, came about due to the Code4Health Codeathon organized by the Clinton Foundation. 

"This is an exciting integration for us because it was developed at one of our Codeathon events in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, Tumblr, and Ace Hotel," said Travis Bogard, vice-president of product management and strategy at Jawbone. 

"It demonstrates the ability of our app to easily connect and exchange information with a wide range of other apps and services that complement your UP experience. By integrating with Automatic, the UP community can better understand how the moments spent in the car might impact their health." 

Although the Jawbone UP is available around the world, Automatic, just like the Whistle activity tracking dog collar, is currently only on sale in the US.  

Meaning that other consumers focused on health and happiness are going to have to rely on willpower alone — for the time being at least — when it comes to leaving the car in the driveway. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2014 

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