Tuesday
Jan 14
2014
January 14, 2014

Six Questions for Travis Bogard on Tech and Health

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Prior to #HealthMatters2014, we asked Travis Bogard, Vice President of Product Management & Strategy at Jawbone, six questions on our health-based codeathon series in partnership with Ace Hotels and Tumblr and about the intersection of health and technology. Tune in to our #HealthMatters2014 for the Leveraging Digital Platforms to Promote Health Panel at 2:00 pm PST / 5:00 pm EST to hear Travis speak about the future of digital health innovation. Watch the conference live at clintonfoundation.org/healthmatters2014 and submit your questions on Facebook and Twitter by using the conference hashtag #HealthMatters2014.

1. The fourth Clinton Foundation health-based codeathon just wrapped up this weekend in Palm Springs, California. How do you think the partnership between Jawbone, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, Tumblr, and Ace Hotels is challenging designers and developers to think differently about the intersection between health and technology?

It's been really exciting for us to be a part of this codeathon series to help up and coming developers create new apps and services specifically around health. What's different about this collaboration is that we're encouraging the developers to practice healthy habits themselves while coding, an activity which generally invites unhealthy behaviors like sitting for long stretches and working late hours. Each participant was given a Jawbone UP or UP24 band to help keep track of their steps and sleep, and their results were factored into the judging at a team level. At this codeathon in particular, participants ran the annual Palm Springs Mayor's Race, which was a refreshing break from the dev work over the weekend.

As a result, we're seeing these developers think about how they manage their aspirations and time management for completing work with their need to be healthy. For the first time it’s getting them to think about the challenges that exist balancing work and health and create extraordinarily thoughtful and inspired products to help people in this management. For instance, the second place winner developed an application that would scan your calendar and help identify moments throughout your day where you could integrate healthy activity throughout your day.

2. It's clear that the intersection between health and technology is transforming both the health and digital spaces. What has your role been in helping Jawbone be a part of this digital health transformation? 

The objective of our work at Jawbone – across each of our product lines – is to solve everyday problems for real people. With UP and UP24, the goal is to give people the opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle by helping them understand more about themselves. I lead product management and strategy at Jawbone, and one thing I've seen in the five plus years we've been talking to people in this space, is that everyone, no matter what their personal situation, wants to improve upon themselves and their health. It's a universal proposition. As a company with over a decade of experience building human-centered hardware and software, we realized that we could contribute tailored and personal solutions through new technologies, and we've been continuing to develop UP ever since.

With UP24, we're delivering even more personal data insights and more actionable recommendations to you at just the right moment, to help turn your intentions into action and fine-tune your day. Another big breakthrough for us was opening our API for UP last year – first to a select set of invite only developers, and then to people all over the world. To date, hundreds of developers have started building products and services that integrate with UP, and it's been the foundation of the work we're seeing from the codeathon series as well. It's really become a hub for innovation around digital health solutions, and we're going to continue to see exciting progress there.

3. How have you seen the need for digital platforms and applications focused on health change over the past 5 years? 

The biggest shift I've seen in the last five years is that new digital platforms and applications are making behavior change not just possible, but easier. And that's not solely from a lifestyle and healthcare point of view, although definitely applying to those spaces. Today, people are checking their smartphones 150+ times a day; checking applications like Facebook and Instagram, and checking in on Foursquare daily. That's behavior change in and of itself. With similar consumer applications specifically tailored toward healthy living, like UP or our other partner applications like Withings, Straava, Runkeeper, and MyFitnessPal, we're going to continue to see consumers adopt new solutions for healthier lifestyles because they actually want to engage that way, not just because they think they need to be healthier.

4. Why do you think products – like the UP band – track and provide information on a people's personal health have become so popular? How does Jawbone try to use this data to inspire personal behavior change?

I mentioned before that everyone wants to be a better, healthier version of themselves. The challenge has been that there's a gap between intention and action – between what we want to do, and what we actually end up doing. With UP, we're able to give people an accurate picture of themselves, and help them understand where they're starting, so that they can make informed decisions moving forward. It doesn't necessarily require hitting the gym everyday, but instead it's about making small changes to your lifestyle that ultimately add up to affect change, like taking walk breaks at work to hit 10k steps, developing a more regular sleep cycle, or drinking eight glasses of water a day. 

So far the UP community has tracked an astounding amount of data (500 billion steps and 35 million nights of sleep as of November 2013), which we've applied back into the system to deliver timely nudges, new challenges and celebrations of progress, and even more personalized insights that are specific to you. We're also putting the massive amounts of data into context for people through our UPxArt program, so they can see how UP data correlates to different demographics or world events. 

5. From the trends you're currently seeing in the health and digital spaces, how do you envision Jawbone's products and strategy changing in the future to continue to be a part of this intersection between health and technology?

There's a popular theme right now that you may have heard of called the "Internet of Things". At Jawbone we like to call it the "Internet of Me", because it's not about the "things", but instead it's about you at the center of these connected technologies that can deliver rich, personalized experiences to you. We believe that the way a product fits into your life is as important as the technology, and that design in this space should be about thoughtfully considering the intersection of form and function to create a beautifully crafted experience. I think as we continue to explore putting sensors on the body and new connections between apps and devices, we can extend the possibilities of what tech can do for you to make life even more personal and frictionless. 

6. On Tuesday at our #HealthMatters2014 conference, you'll be speaking more about the intersection of health and digital innovation. How do you think this conference will help educate and change people's perspective on the intersection of health and technology.

I spoke at the first Health Matters conference in 2012 and at that time this idea of people using wearable computers to track their health was completely new and unproven. Today, most people have personally used one of these products, have had a friend use one, or have seen one and been curious or intrigued. This familiarity and level of comfort with wearables will transition the conversation from “if” these platforms can help individuals become engaged at a preventative level, to “how” they can help individuals become engaged at that level. We’ll start to see these products being integrated with other solutions, and the resulting data being used for the first time to understand at a society level what is truly impacting human behavior around health.