Although the Hackathon which I entered A Healthier Commute has completed, I’ve been continuing to work on the product. It’s interesting to me because I want to do some research into whether I can track commutes using just a phone. Well, certainly you can do it, which is what apps like Waze or Uber (in reverse) do. You could even use something similar like Strava or MyTracks to do it. But I think what’s different is that all of those require active user intervention.
I have a FitBit Force and it has this neat feature that does sleep tracking. It collects data, processes it and spits out all sorts of neat conclusions like your sleep efficiency. You can see how long it took you to fall asleep, whether your sleep was restless and how many times you were awake. The thing I hate the most about it is that you need to remember to tell it start tracking when you go to sleep. Not only that, when you wake up, you have to remember to tell it to stop tracking. It’s very easy to forget one or the other.
I think it’s the same with commutes and/or driving. You might come up with a clever marketing strategy and get people to track their commutes for a week; but after that people tend to forget or get tired of doing things. And it’s the aggregate data that holds the most value, so it’s important that people keep tracking for longer than a week.
So with A Healthier Commute, I’m trying to make all this tracking automatic and passive. No buttons. It’ll just be smart enough to display your commutes. That’s challenging, difficult and interesting.