Written by Jo Bell

Data is Really Quite Beautiful, part 1

I’m taking custody of data here at Thinkbda; and what do I think of data? I think it’s uncompromisingly beautiful. Why? Because it’s everywhere. It’s in everything we touch, everything we love, everything we do. As such, I want to try to persuade all non-data folk about the joys and inspirations we can get from the data that’s around us – the information, numbers, figures and stats that infiltrate and bolster our daily lives. Over the coming months, I’ll be sharing with you examples of what I think is so beautiful about data.

Part 1: Self knowledge and the quantified self

The ‘quantified self’ movement is not a new one, but it has been changing immensely over the past few years, and it set to change even further with the release of the much-anticipated Apple Watch. By definition, the ’quantified self‘ gives you the ability to track and analyse your body, mood, diet, spending, movement, productivity, health, and much more. With the proliferation of the smartphone in the past decade and the new phase of wearable and connected tech, this is only set to get better as time goes on!

One of the best TED Talks I’ve seen was Talitha Williams’ talk on owning your body’s data and collecting information to better inform you of your health and body trends. We get to know ourselves better through data – when are we most or least active? What is our heart rate when we exercise? What is our average body temperature? How many calories have we consumed today? Most importantly, getting to know your body and your habits can impact you medically, as Talitha found in this powerful talk:

As a self-professed Apple fangirl, I’m certain that the recent release of the Apple Watch will unearth a new era for wearables. This amazingly beautiful specimen of ‘tech jewellery’ will undoubtedly change the market forever, albeit at a price – because as with all Apple products, you do have to pay for the research, design, and build quality. Other wearables like FitBit, and Jawbone Up! are all fantastic and really serve to support those wishing to better track and monitor their movements, sync with other apps like MyFitnessPal and MapMyWalk, and are a third of the price. But the Apple Watch for me extends this concept much further: it informs you; it makes technology personal, more sensory; it aims to motivate you to move by sending reminders when you are most inactive, keep you aware of your physical activity; technology is integrated into our daily lives.