This story started this summer with a telephone call on the top of a mountain in Switzerland. It was a former counterpart in a strategical partnership of our companies. He was looking for some support to promote the use of their Connected Wellness products together with our company. Wellness is a fast growing market, but I was mainly interested because I think wellness technologies, will eventually help us to optimize the medical market. And of course I love all things that can be connected to the Internet (“Internet of things” is one of the current buzzwords). A few weeks later we had call to discuss this further and I guess that I received a body monitor because of my critical questions. It is called Youw8 (‘you-weight’) and the dashboard will show your weight, BMI, body fat percentage and muscle mass.
One of the problems of connected devices is that they need some kind of connection. Ethernet cables are probably the best choice for in home and there are also fibre for in home solutions available.
Performance and security are ensured with ethernet cables, but you really don’t want cables for all connected devices. Wireless is an alternative and we all use Wifi on our laptops at home and that’s fine. But if you want to connect a wireless thing without a keyboard, life gets complicated. You can use the remote control for audio and video equipment, or you can do the initial configuration by using an USB connection to a PC. Or extend the solution to a free Ethernet port and have a wireless solution between the device and the Ethernet connected receiver. With Youw8, they did the latter.The device (a scale in this case) comes with a small receiver box which connects to your broadband modem or router via an Ethernet cable. The wireless connection works in the free 865 MHz band and with these frequency a long distance can be reached with low power consumption. In this case the advantage is that you you only have to connect the receiver to a free ethernet port. The coupling between the device and the user is done on the website were you create a account and type in the number that is on the back of the receiver.
The bandwidth consumption is limited to 30 kbps when the data is transferred. When the data can’t be transferred it is stored on the device. This is not only useful when you take your scale for a holiday (and afterwards see how your weight evolved), but allows the extension to devices that typically are not always in range of the receiver, like activity and glucose monitors. I personally think that this technology can extend the wellness monitors to real medical monitors.
That was real easy. Unpack, connect the receiver to a free port on the ethernet switch, create an account and enter the 6 digit code. The most complicated part was ensuring a power port for the receiver. Also part of the installation is the measurement of you waist, for which a measuring tape is added. The website also allows to select buddies and you can see who is also using on a Google map. There is also an iPhone application available.
As it measures weight and body fat, I was standing bare foot on the scale. Hmm, this can not be correct, it showed about half my weight. Perhaps change some settings with the three buttons on top or the one on the bottom? Pressing these buttons had no result. The manual has no reference to these buttons, and also the web site had no answers. So I mailed the helpdesk and got a response direct after the weekend. It turned out that the scale should stand on a solid underground and not on the carpet in the bedroom. In the next version of the manual and site this will be added. And the buttons are not linked to a function, but you wonder, especially when it doesn’t work as expected. In the next model there will no more buttons.
So problem solved; for me. My wife noted that this new scale makes your one kg heavier, therefore she hardly uses it.
Use after three months
With some discipline I’m now weighing myself every day and almost every day I check the site. All my measurements are correctly added because it recognizes you based on your weigh
t and body fat percentage. If one of my other family members uses it, this shows up on the site in a list of unrecognised measurements. Also measurements that are not made with bare feet, do show up in this list.
The measurements are shown on a dashboard and in a view with shortly bouncing bars and the mouseover gives the details. Reports are available in daily, weekly and monthly views. By using the view with the daily results I actually found out that there is a pattern in my weight changes. I build up weight during the weekend and loose on the working days.
As I wanted to loose some weight I made a personal weight plan. This was needed because I found out that in the last 20 years I gained 10 kg. More over I felt that my Metabolism slowed, which made my weight gain faster. Time to stop this. I changed small parts of my eating habits and lost weight. One day my weight was below the target weight, so I expected balloons, congratulations on the site; but it only mentioned 0,3 kg to go. Even on the day were I reached the exact weight it simply mentioned 0,0 kg to go. A bit unexpected.
This body monitor is a very user friendly solution both in technology and use.
There are some small improvements, but the main potential is in adding other wellness products. And the extension to the professional and medical markets.
In the end our company decided not to promote this product, but it helped a bit in awareness creating and some colleagues using similar devices (but Wifi connected).
And I lost some weight during this experiment.Link: http://www.youw8.com/