BYOD – Bring your own device to the car

BYOD – „Bring your own device“ has recently become one of the most debated IT topics. BYOD means that employees use their private computers, smartphones, or tablets at their everyday workplaces and office desks, instead of getting seperate hardware, administrated by the company’s IT department.

More and more people want to use the same technology at work that they have chosen to use for their private purposes. In particular for younger professionals it becomes less and less accepted not to have all their tools at hand. Why would they let themselved get restricted to outdated operation systems, cheep hardware, and crippled internet access? Although some companies set up rules for their employees to use the devices of their choice, for most businesses the concerns outweigh any potential advantages.

What about cars? Some manufactorers provide rudimentary interfaces via bluetooth to connect some functionality of our smartphones with the car’s entertainment system. Most however seam to believe that people would still want to rely solely on the car’s onboard systems. Hardly any model has a proper place to put your device while driving. With our phone stored away in the usual bowl or compartment next to the driver’s seat, we couldn’t use it directly. We would have to access it via the car’s system that support only a tiny fraction of the phone’s functionality. To really use the smartphone, we still have to install cheep third party hands-free car kits.

Using our own mobile devices while driving is not just owed to our lazyness. While our own gadgets are up-to-date, the car’s technology will be totally outdated already when it first hits the road due to the long development cycles that are unavoidable in car construction.
Furthermore our apps have optimized user interfaces, continuously adjusted to users‘ behavior. We might drive various cars, some we might not even own. How convenient would it be, could we use the same interface, no matter what model we would use?

Cars should support the technology of our choice. They should become agnostic to the way, people would want to navigate, listen to music, or even control the climate. Instead of forcing us to rely on their propriatory interfaces, they should give us as much freedom as reasonably possible to control the car with our mobiles. There might be limits due to security concerns.

Just last week, Jeep had to recall millions of their vehicles due to a vulnerability in the car’s computer system. System critical function could be accessed wirelessly. BYOD might be a good way to rethinking the architecture of the electronic systems. Accessing entertainment, air condition, and other passenger support systems is not as dangerous as controling acceleration, airbags, or the breaks. The different systems should be seperated physically. While the core of the car should be protected and not accessable without proper authorization, the peripherals should be as easy to connect as possible.

I have seen people taping their phones atop the car’s dashboard after loosing patience with the clumsy user interface of the built-in navigation system. Does anyone use these dinosaurs of consumer electronics anymore, at all? It is high time to change the way we, car companies treat their drivers. BYOD is a good first step.

If it’s smart, you can wear it!

It started with the first smart clothes in 2006, motivated luxury brands like TAG Heuer of LVMH to add some smartness to their watches and even lets farmers recognize patterns in dairy cow movements: wearables have become mainstream.

At our Wearable Data Hack this June, we partnered with Wearable Technologies, a Munich based company specialized in marketing wearables. One part of our hackathon’s prizes were tickets to the 2016 Wearable Technologies Conference, taking place in Munich, January 26-27. Looking at the impressive lineup of speakers at the conference, we’re sure that our winners will learn a lot about the near future of wearables!

If you also want to attend the conference, you might want to use this special link and our friends&family code Datarella_Friends for receiving a 15% discount. 

See you at the Wearable Technologies Conference 2016 in Munich!

Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015

Today, we would like to announce something special. Something we can’t wait to take place and until mid June it’s going to be tough to sit tight. Please, feel invited to our Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015!

The Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015 is the first hack day on wearable tech applications and data. It will take place right after the launch of Apple Watch – the gadget we expect to rise the tide for all wearables. Withe the Wearable Data Hack Munich 2105, we aim to kick-off app development for the emerging smartwatch and wearable tech market. During this weekend you will have the first occasion to share your views and ideas and jointly gather experience with the new data realm.

Apple calls the Apple Watch “Our most personal device ever”. And with good cause: The data from wearable tech, smartphones and smartwatches are really the most personal data ever. Our mobile devices accompany every step we take, every move we make. A plentitude of sensors on the devices draw a multidimensional picture of our daily lives. Applications of wearable data range from fitness to retail, from automotive to health. There is hardly an industry that cannot make direct use of it. And yet, wearable apps still are in their childhood. The Apple Watch will be hitting the street in April and will get the ball rolling.

The Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015 is jointly organized by Stylight and Datarella.

Developers, data geeks and artists will pursue one or more of these threads:
– Data-driven business models for wearables
– Data-driven wearables
– Smartphone app (Stand alone / combined with smartphone)
– User Experience
– Open Data
– mHealth / Medical Data

So let’s explore what we can do with this data! Let’s play with the possibilities of our wearable gadgets and mobile sensors.

To apply for the Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015, please send us an email with
– your name
– your profession
– your take on wearable data
– 3 tags describing yourself best.
Don’t wait for too long – the number of participants is limited.

For more information, please have a look here! See you at Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015!

Second Screen

In the US, smartphone and tablet displays have replaced the TV set as screen number one. Meanwhile, not only the time spent on mobile devices has become longer on mobile than on the tube -primarily the intensity of using mobiles, the attention, people dedicate to mobile content, is higher.

Smartphones and tablets have thus become the first screen.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of occasions, when a smartphone is out of place, or even annoying: At the table, during a lively conversation, or while driving a car, to name just three obvious examples. My twitter friend Jürgen Geuter has put it in one sentence, why smartwatches will the remedy here: To check the wrist watch is socially accepted. Completely within the common boundaries we may just look on our smartwatch if the awaited reply on Whatsapp has arrived, just as we would have consulted the watch to get the time. Likewise, smartwatches are handy in the sense of the word, when we drive a car, and in combination with speech recognition many smartphone apps will work even better than the hands-free kit.

Smartwatches will thus become the second screen, the companion of our smartphones. Also therefore they will find their buyers.

We are the content!

Since 1967 the Consumer Electronics Show CES in Las Vegas has been the display for the latest products in electronic entertainment. Every first week in Januar the big brands disclose their secret products, that will be stacked on the shelves – or rather: put on the online shops.

Until recently, CES was the home match for the classic industry: Hifi, TV sets, car radio, … Even with Apple, Microsoft, and their likes have played an increasingly important role, their focus at this trade show was still also „classic“ home entertainment: Smart TV, home cinema, computer games.

TV ist dowdy

Also for 2015 the industry had set-up their things. Companies like Samsung would make clear their strategy in advance: Even more fancy TV sets with even more features. But things turned out quite differently. It seamed as if nobody wanted to watch the TV screens on this year’s CES. Classic home electronics appeared like a relict from the 70s. If not before, it became clear at CES 2015, that TV is no longer the „first screen“.

Three Trends at CES2015

Three trends dominated the visitors‘ interest and the media coverage of this year’s CES:

First: Connected home, in particular smoke detectors, thermostates, and other totally unsuspicous devices, which however gain enormously in their usefulness when connecte via the Internet; it is thus not the „talking refridgerator“ that has been predicted by industry journalists for years, but classic, dry appliences.

Second: Connected car. What the automotive industry has shown at CES was really amazing: Autonomous cars, market ready; convincing systems for accident prevention, and other novelties in driving safety, that we can expect now in new cars.

Third: Wearable tech, electronics that we carry directly with us. Apart from fitness gadgets like wristbands, pedometers, or connected scales, there are in fact hundreds of smart watches with all kinds of applications, from fitness up to caring for the severely ill.

All three trends have one thing in common: The display by which we interact with them is mobile.

Our smartphones are already no longer just the second screen behind the TV set. In the US, the time spent with mobile devices exceeded watching TV. And the awareness that we dedicate to our mobile screens when checking them more than 200 times a day, is far greater.

The Content

The content that works on our mobiles is by no means online, with just less space on the screen. On our smartphones and tablets, we use mainly the direct communication. Social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, and in particular image-sharing platforms like Instagram are still the closest to what used to be „classic“ media. But more and more forms of connected communication draw their users by the millions or even billions, like messaging apps of Whatsapp or Snapchat sort, or totally new forms, like Yo.

What not long ago would have been derogatorily called ‚user generated content‘, UGC, has become simply the content.

The trends at CES show, how this development will further evolve. Next to the content that gets posted consciously and arbitrarily by the users, like texts or images, more and more automatically generated data is added. Every morning there are thousands automatic posts, published by fitness apps like runtustic about the training of their users. Lifetracking cameras like the narrative clip pictorially document without us being active, our daily routine, Jawbone reports our deep sleep phases to all connected friends in our user group. With ‚Bring Your Own Data‘ sharing of very intimate data, gathered by our gadgets, becomes a serious part of our health care: Our self-tracked data support our doctors at helping us.

Social media, that is shared thoughts and pictures, and self-tracking, that is shared data, are two sides of the same coin: The most interesting stories are humans themselves.

BYOD – Bring your own Data. Self-Tracking for Medical Practice and Research

„Facebook would never change their advertsing relying on a sample size as small as we do medical research on.“
(David Wilbanks)

People want to learn about themselves and get their lives soundly supported by data. Parents record the height of their children. When we feel ill, we measure our temperature. And many people own a bathroom scales. But without context, data is little meaningful. Thus we try to compare owr measurements with those of other people.

Data that we track just for us alone

Self-tracking has been trending for years. Fitness tracker like Fitbit count our steps, training apps like Runtustic deliver to us analysis and benchmark us with others. Since 2008, a movement has been around that has put self-tracking into its center: The Quantified Self.

Self-tracking has been tending for years. In this picture you see a wristband that already made it into a museum and is now on display in the London Science Museum.
Self-tracking has been tending for years. In this picture you see a wristband that already made it into a museum and is now on display in the London Science Museum.

However it is not just self-optimizer and fitness junkies who measure themselves. Essential drive to self-tracking originated from self-caring chronically ill.

Data for the physician, for family members, and for nursing staff

In the US like in many countries lacking strong public health-care, it becomes increasingly common to bring self-measured data to the physician. With many examinations this saves significant consts and speeds up the treatment. With Quantified Self, many people have been able to get good laboratory analytics about their health for the first time ever. One example is kits for blood analysis that sends the measurement via mobile to the lab and then displays the results. Such kits are e.g. widely in use in India.
Also for family members and nursing staff, self-tracked data of the pations is useful. They draw a realistic picture of our conditions to those who care for us. Even automatic emergency calls based on data measured at site are possible today.

The image at the top is taken from the blog of Sara Riggere, who suffers from Parkinson. Sara tracks her medication and the syptoms of her Parkinson’s desease with her smartphone. Her story is worth reading in any case, and it shows all facettes that make the topic „own data“ so fascinating: and

Mood-tracking – a mood diary. People suffering from bipolar disorder try to help themselves by recording their mood and other influences of their lives. By doing so, they are able to counteract, when they approach a depression, and they are able to finetune their medication much better, than it would be possible by the rare visits to their psychiatrist. (Shown here is

Data for research

Self-recorded data for the first time maps people’s actions and condition into an uninterupted image. For research, these data are significantly richer than the snap-shots made by classic clinical research – regarding case numbers as well as by making possible for the first time to include the multivariate influences of all kinds of behavior and environment. Even if only a small fraction of self-trackers is willing to share their data with researchers, it is hardly to imagine the huge value the findings will have for medicine, enabled by this.


The difficulty with these data: they are so rich and so personal, that it is always possible to get down on the single individual. Anonymization, e.g. by deleting the user id or the IP adress is not possible. Like fingerprints, the trace we leave in the data can always identify us. This problem cannot be solved by even more privacy regulation. Already today, the mandatory committment to informed consent and to data avoidance impede research with medical data to such extent, it is hardly worthwhile to work with it, at all. The only remedy would be comprehensive legal protection. Every person sharing their data with research has to be sure that no disadvantages will come from their cooperation. Insurance companies and employers must not take advantage from the openness of people. This could be shaped similar to anti-discrimination laws. Today, e.g. insurance companies are not allowed to differenciate their rates by the insurant’s gender.

Algorithm ethics

Another issue lies within the data itself. First, arbitrary, technical differences like hardware defects, compression algorithms, or samling rates make the data hard to match. Second, it is hardly the raw data itself, but rather mathematical abstractions derived from the data, that gets further processed. Fitbit or Jawbone UP don’t store the three-dimensional measurements of the gyroscope, but the steps, calculated from it. However, what would be regarded as a step, and what would be another kind of movement, is an arbitrary decision of the author of the algorithm programmed for this task. Here it is important to open the black boxes of the algorithms. As the EU commission demands Google to open its search algorithms, because they suspect (probably with good reasons) that Google would discriminate against obnoxious content in a clandistine way, we have to demand to see behind the tracking-devices from their makers.
Data is generated by the users. The users have to be heared what is made from it.

Sharing Goods And Sharing Data: Both Is Fun, Big Business And A Social Responsibility

Around 2010, Lisa Gansky coined the term Sharing Economy, or Mesh companies, offering their customers efficient shared access to their products instead of selling their products to them. Recently, it’s being called Collaborative Consumption or Collaborative Economy. It’s all about finding ways to make better use of valuable resources that have remained unused. Convenient access is being made affordable to people who can’t afford different products, or simply don’t need to own those products since they would only use them infrequently.

Typical mesh businesses like AirBnB, LendingClub or Cookening, demonstrate the power of sharing in very different ways: AirBnB is on the way to pass Hilton as the world’s largest hotelier in 2015, that is 7 years after its inception. The US peer-to-peer lending company Lending Club has originated over 4 billion USD in loans – it was originally founded as a Facebook app in 2006. The typical Mesh business runs a stylish app with a high usability. It’s service is new, easy to use and affordable. But all that does not fully explain the tremendous speed they conquer one market after the other. Who is the driver behind the Sharing Economy and it’s success?

It’s the user.
It’s the user. The user offers and asks for private overnight stays on AirBnB, the user provides and lends money on LendingClub. Even with services like Zipcar, when the product is provided by a company, the user „uses“ a product instead of buying and owning it. He has to rely on other users‘ good maintenance of Zipcars, since if there were too many ‚abusers‘ the company had to raise rates and the product would become unaffordable for most people. The same is true for AirBnB and others: users have to be sure that landlords don’t sell cubbyholes to them, whereas – vice versa – landlords have to trust their guests not to steal the TV or destroy the flat. So, the user has to use the service and she has to behave in an orderly manner – this is the foundation for a properly working and successful Sharing Economy.

The Sharing Economy

Image: The Sharing Economy, Latitude

Now let’s adopt the principles of the Sharing Economy to the individual who shares her statuses with her social graph on Facebook, discusses the latest news on Twitter and shares her preferred fashion designs on Pinterest. She dos it because she wants to express herself and she wants to communicate with a wider circle of friends than she can meet in person. She communicates in both, synchronous and asynchronous ways. She has learnt that the more she adds to discussions, the more she gets in return. In Social Media, she experiences the Pay-it-Forward principle in action at its best.

Sharing Economy has attained full age in 2014
Let’s assume we can all agree on that: communication openly and actively, sharing ideas, opinions, homes, cars, money and much more with others is not an extravagant imagination of Utopia, Inc., but a multi-billion dollar business eclipsing traditional business models around the world. Furthermore, it’s not just a gigantic business but a sympathetic and friendly way of matching supply and demand of individuals. Who wouldn’t prefer an individually furnished private home over a standard hotel room?

If we agree on the power of sharing the above mentioned martial and immaterial goods, can we also agree on the power of sharing data? Our data? Our own body’s data? Can we agree on the tremendously positive and socially relevant effects of sharing the data we produce ourselves, day by day? If you own a smartphone (you most probably will), you produce about 20 MB of smartphone data (i.e. data racked with your smartphone’s sensors) each day. Perhaps you haven’t been aware of that fact, or you just didn’t know how relevant this data could be for yourself, and for your social graph, respectively. Do you know how much you move each day? The U.S. Surgeon General wants you to move at least 10,000 steps a day to prevent and decrease overweight and obesity. (It’s very easy to know your steps: just get yourself one of those fitness trackers.)

And, did you know that your Vitamin D level is one of the key drivers of your well-being? Most North Americans, North and Central Europeans suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency. Do you actually know your Vitamin D level? Do you know that you can find it out yourself?

Let’s get more complex regarding data: microbes in the human body are responsible for how we digest food and synthesize vitamins, our overall health and metabolic disorders. The aggregate of microbes is called microbiome. Do you have any idea about your individual microbiome? Do you know that you can find out about your microbiome yourself, by using a simple kit?

Sharing Data still in its infancy, but…
So far, we have talked about the relevance and value of our data for ourselves. But – weren’t you interested in preventing your first stroke because thousands of other men at your age have provided their heart and respiratory rates anonymously and based on the analysis of this data you had been warned early enough to take appropriate action?

Wouldn’t you agree that the Pay-it-Forward principle works perfectly in the field of personal body data? The difference to the AirBnB model is that you provide your body data anonymously. It will be aggregated and used in a way that nobody knows that’s you behind your data. Since data analysis and respective actions or recommendations rely on big data, it’s necessary that many people participate and share their own data.

… will become a Social Responsibility in 2017
Today, in late summer of 2014, many people are sceptical and hesitate to provide their data. We think that personal body data sharing will be regarded as quite normal within a few years. If this movement takes up the same speed as the Sharing (Goods) Economy, it will be accepted as „normal“ within 2-3 years. We believe, that data sharing will become a social responsibility, comparable to fasten one’s seat belt or wearing a bike helmet. It probably won’t be called data sharing since this is a B2B term. There already is a very good term  – the Quantified Self, or QS. The term itself does not include the sharing element. But for every active members of the QS movement sharing is a relevant part of the quantification process because the value of an individual’s data is even bigger if used for general purposes.

We regard data sharing – our Quantified Self – as one of the most important movements of modern times and we would love to know how you think about it: please comment, provide us with your feedback: do you already share your data? How do you do it? Or, are you still sceptical?

Feature Image: Max Gotzler of Biotrakr, presenting findings of a Testosterone study at #QSEU14

„Mobile Data: Under the Hood“

The slides of our talk at Munich DataGeeks Meetup:
„A smartphone is a mighty array of sensors. How to access the data, and get meaningful information from the various readings, like geo-location, gyroscope, accelerometer, or even the magnetic flux.
We also discuss the ehtical implication of mobile tracking: informational self-determination, „other-tracking“ vs. self-tracking, and how to do spooky things with apparently innocent measurements.“

Datarella People: Dan Berglund, Senior Developer at Narrative

Here’s the transcript of the Datarella (DR) interview with Dan Berglund of Stockholm-based life-logging startup Narrative.

At the Quantified Self Conference 2014 in Amsterdam, we’re together with Dan Berglund from Swedish startup Narrative. Dan, could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about Narrative?

Sure. I work as a Software Engineer at Narrative, a software and hardware company which makes a very tiny mobile camera that takes photos of everything you see. Photos are taken every 30 seconds, then they’re aggregated and we show you a meaningful representation of your data life.

You’re wearing a narrative camera. Could you show it to us and explain what this camera does in comparison with a typical camera?

Yes. Here it is. It’s working automatically – so you wear it at your shirt or jacket, and it takes photos every 30 seconds. If you want to turn it off, you just put it into your pocket. Then we offer a service, which is connected with the camera: it aggregates all photos and tries to find the best ones by grouping together similar photos. So at the end, you have a diary of your life.

What is the typical use case for the narrative? To automatically shoot photos during parties?

Sure – that would be one use case: special occasions like parties or when people are travelling. In general, people are interested to have photos made of their whole lives. Especially here at the Quantified Self – that’s the purpose of this crowd.

Dan, you are the most senior developer at Narative – ars you also a co-founder?

No, I’m not a co-founder, but I have been with the company almost from the beginning and I’m a senior developer at Narrative.

Can you tell us a bit about the challenges you have been cobfronted with during the early development phase of Narrative?

Yeah. Most developers of our team of 30 have a software background. And it was quite hard to understand how hard it is to develop hardware: you have long release cycles with long delays. And when you have to redisign something you have an additional delay of weeks or months. And this happend quite a few time during development.That, for sure, was the hardest part.

Yesterday, your colleague Eric told me that you manufacture in Taiwan. How hard was it to set up this manufacturing process for a startup working out of Stockholm, Sweden?

We actually got some help from another startup called MuteWatch which uses the same suppliers and plants. Without them it would have been much harder, and still, it’s quite hard to put all relevant things together and build a streamlined production process.

Apart from wearing your own Narrative camera, do you use other life-logging or self-tracking wearables?

I have tried out some passive tracking apps like Moves to track my movements – and similar ones- but I wouldn’t call myself a big life-logger or quantified self person. I’m more the kind of a ’special events user‘.

Thank you very much, Dan!


[Here you can see Datarella CEO @jbenno life-logging with the narrative]