This Week in Context (20131129)

By November 29, 2013 Week in Context One Comment


The importance of smartphone sensor and social data for healthcare, music that creates itself based on your driving style, and why you should demand the right to access and use your data – your digital breadcrumbs.   These are some of the articles and opinions that caught our attention this week, and that I believe you should read. We’ve also posted our own – about the future of specialized smart agents – and would love to hear how you think context-aware technologies will be assisting you in the future. There’s some room left in the comment still for your vision of the near-future. 

Music that adjusts to your driving style

In last week’s Week in Context we mentioned Art is Motion, a Lexus onboard art project that paints a portrait of you based on how you drive. Now there is Volkswagen’s Play the Road, a cooperation between electronic music geniuses Underworld, ReactifyMusic and the Golf GTI’s innovation team.  The iPhone app turns your driving behaviour into a unique soundtrack to cruise on. It gets speed and RPM data from the GTI’s on-board computer, and the steering acceleration and location data is calculated from a combination of the accelerometer, gyroscope and GPS receiver present in the iPhone. After the sensor data is filtered and smoothed, it is used to generate the music and effects through the musical programming language PD (Pure Data). Currently the app isn’t available commercially, but you can win a chance to give it a try and drive the new VW Golf GtI here.

We strongly believe technology being aware of your context could improve the music listening experience in general, more on that in this whitepaper.

A Digital Path to Health

On the UCSF website Claire Conway has a look at mHealth in ‘A Digital Path to Health‘. She writes about secure teleconsulting, but also about the use of mobile devices and social media to collect information, and how social analytics, which measure, analyze, and interpret our social interactions and patterns, are also a key part of the data used in digital health innovations. It puts the medical data in context. Conway quotes Aenor Sawyer, MD on the importance of using that data right: “We now have the ability to peer beyond our clinical settings and integrate real-life data with the physiologic data collected by the health care system to better understand their contributions to health and disease,” says Sawyer. “The challenge will be managing and analyzing the data in a way that is clinically useful.”

Reclaim your Data

‘You Are Your Data. And you should demand the right to use it.’  Great title for a to-the-point piece by Sara M Watson for Slate. Read it. Entirely. Why? I’ll let Ms Watson explain: “Everything about our lives is in the process of becoming data. Some suggest avoiding quantification as a subversive means of resistance, but that will be about as effective as hiding our heads in the sand. Instead, we need ways of understanding our own data profiles, so that we can understand how others see us. If we do nothing, in the next generation we will be judged by our data, but we will end up in a Kafkaesque scenario in which we cannot know on what data points we are judged.”

Being aware of what binary breadcrumbs you leave behind, and knowing what companies, governments and that odd guy on Facebook can deduce from analyzing your digital trail is a critical first step to users claiming back control of their personal data. From a business point of view, communicating this information clearly to consumers will gain you some valuable trust, and will allow for your consumers to correct you when your conclusions are off. Which benefits you both. So read Ms Watson’s piece. It’s important.

Now I’m done telling you what to read, why don’t you share with us what interesting stories you’ve read related to contextual data this week? Link them below in the comments, or let us know on Twitter or Google Plus

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