What my new smart watch taught me

I recently bought a new watch/fitness tracker.

Am I happy with my investment?

Well… Nobody will admit they have chosen badly, but…

I’d researched the alternatives, made a list of requirements (User Requirements Specification) created a comparison chart and made a good engineering decision.

The new hardware captures all the data it sets out to; steps, pulse rate, oxygen saturation, sleep, divided into deep, light, rem and awake, altitude and depth so I know how far above or below sea level I am, and a compass and GPS. From all of this it derives and presents floors climbed, calories burned, excercise intensity, body battery (energy reserves) and stress level (something else for me to worry about).

So what went wrong? The raw data capture is not all that it ought to be. Further problems lie with the assumptions made, calculations and analysis of data, and presentation of information. Example; If my calorie burn is correct then I’m heating the whole house with my body heat output, running on zero reserves with a blood oxygen level close to cyanosis of my vital organs and I don’t care one jot according to my stress level. I’m still above sea level though, which is reassuring after the recent rains.

Points to ponder:

  • One size does not fit all when making assumptions in calculations. You need to tailor to individual needs.
  • Sense-check the results. Never abrogate responsibility to “Computer says”.
  • Get feedback from the customer and build in the ability to adjust or re-calibrate if necessary.

These are processes we at Op-tec go through as a matter of course for our customers. If we’re converting your production data into guidance for strategic decisions we will have carried out a thorough analysis of your needs and expectations, we will have made it clear what we can do and we will walk with you through the implementation process until what we have agreed has been fulfilled.

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