Improve your health with GEAR4 Renew SleepClock

The GEAR4 Renew SleepClock is a non-contact (no headbands or wristbands) sleep monitor for RunKeeper (@runkeeper) users. Read on to learn how GEAR4 uses the Health Graph API & platform (@healthgraphapi) to add sleep into your health and wellness profile.

Bill Day: Please tell us about yourself and your work.

Shane Dodson: I joined GEAR4 five years ago and have been developing consumer electronics accessories during my time here, mostly docking stations and Bluetooth products. We started to make our products app-enabled around 3 years ago. This also meant we could look beyond the audio products which made up our core range.

I enjoy long distance running and so getting the chance to work with products that measure my health and fitness has been really exciting. I am currently training for my first ultra marathon. Looking at my sleep and running stats helps me to analyse the progress of my training program and also keeps me motivated by sharing the data with some of my training partners. I am trying to observe patterns – for example when I have had periods of very heavy training, do I sleep longer or deeper?

BD: What is the “elevator pitch” for why someone should use Renew SleepClock?

SD: The Renew SleepClock is a wireless sleep monitor that allows you to track, learn, and improve a third of your life you know little about!

Renew uses a sophisticated bio-sensor to wirelessly monitor your sleep. It knows when you’re awake and it knows when you’re asleep. It even knows whether you’re in light or deep sleep. It senses your breathing and movement and wakes you up at the best moment in your sleep cycle so you start the day feeling refreshed and energized. The Renew App lets you track your sleeping patterns from graphs and charts and gives you analysis and recommendations based on your data to help you get the most out of your sleeping life.

Gear4 Renew sleep data in the SleepClock iOS app

BD: How did you get started using the Health Graph API?

SD: When we launched the Renew SleepClock we knew that we had to engage the user, not just to measure their sleep, but to improve their habits so that they could sleep better leading to a healthier life. We knew that we had to look beyond sleep itself and started to look at potential key partnerships. RunKeeper was the obvious choice and that led us to Health Graph platform.

BD: How is using the Health Graph platform benefiting your business?

SD: SleepClock Renew can measure all sorts of details about sleep patterns, influencing factors, and suggestions on how to improve sleep. However we realised that sleep is only one of three important parts of a healthy lifestyle; sleep, diet and exercise. Health Graph platform allows the user to have this more holistic view of their wellness which is essential.

BD: Which portions of the Health Graph API do you use, and why?

SD: We push Sleep Sets to the Health Graph giving you a more complete health picture. The Renew SleepClock measures these details.

BD: What do you like about the Health Graph? What would you like to see changed?

SD: It has very good documentation. We had a request to allow group uploads of sleep data (previously it was only possible to upload a single night’s date). The API has now been changed to enable this.

We post summary statistics. It would be useful to push the underlying raw data. This would allow more interesting graphs about sleep within RunKeeper.

BD: If you could request any new feature from the Health Graph, what would it be? How would you use it?

SD: We sync sleep data with our own cloud-based storage. It would be interesting to look at ways that our cloud could sync directly through the Health Graph platform. This would enable our users and RunKeeper users to have a seamless experience and have even more insight into their sleep patterns.

BD: Can you share any future plans for Renew and Gear4? What’s coming next that customers will be excited about?

SD: We are looking at a second version of the Renew SleepClock which would make this more accessible to a wider user base. We would definitely intend to continue using Health Graph platform for that.

We are also looking at other related products – more on that later this year.

BD: Is there anything else we should know about you, Renew, or Gear4?

SD: At GEAR4, we believe that personal wellness should be accessible to everyone. To that end we created the Renew brand. Leveraging our experience in smartphone accessories we are creating a line of products that help people track, learn and improve their personal well being. The Renew SleepClock is just the beginning. In the coming months and years we are looking to stand out with products that incorporate the latest technology while being affordable and simple.

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist & PM for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.

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Bringing hackathon innovation into RunKeeper product

We’re very excited to have our new RunKeeper (@runkeeper) release out on Android now and iPhone soon!

Not only is RunKeeper now available in seven languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Japanese), but we’re also shipping our first internal hackathon-derived feature, personal fitness Insights for Elite users.

Here are some screenshots of Insights and other parts of the app in the various languages:
RunKeeper start screen in EnglishRunKeeper Me tab in FrenchRunKeeper Insights in JapaneseRunKeeper Goals in GermanRunKeeper Personal Records in PortugueseRunKeeper Activities tab in ItalianRunKeeper Settings in Spanish

Power tip: When you try out Insights, be sure and click on the different parts of the pie chart to change “focus” in the pace and distance charts. You can also change the time period and/or activity type under consideration via the settings icon at the top right.

I am particularly proud of how fast our team took Insights from hack to product-quality feature. This team never ceases to amaze me!

Enjoy and please let us know what you think!

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist & PM for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.


Launch RunKeeper from your own iOS app

Are you a Health Graph (@healthgraphapi) partner with an iOS app of your own? And do you encourage your users to track their fitness activities using the RunKeeper (@runkeeper) app?

If you do and you want a way to ease their transition from your experience into RunKeeper tracking, we’ve got just the ticket!

We’ve added support for launching RunKeeper on-device from your app. To launch the RunKeeper app on iPhone (or iPad, if a user rolls that way):

  1. Present the user with a button in your app that they can click to launch RunKeeper.
  2. When the user clicks that RunKeeper button, attempt to open RunKeeper using the following Objective-C code:
                [[UIApplication sharedApplication] openURL:[NSURL URLWithString:@"RunKeeperPro://"]];
              
  3. If the user has an up to date RunKeeper release installed, the RunKeeper app should launch and they can begin tracking immediately.
  4. If the user has an older copy of RunKeeper, or hasn’t installed the RunKeeper app yet, prompt them to install the latest RunKeeper release from iTunes and then they can begin tracking after installation.

Here’s an example of how you might implement this, taken from our partner GymPact (@gympact; learn more about GymPact from this previous partner profile).

First up, notice how GymPact places a prominent RunKeeper button on their app launch screen once a user connects their GymPact account to a RunKeeper account (connection is a one time only operation per user).

Once the user clicks that button, GymPact loads this RunKeeper screen to provide additional context before starting the RunKeeper app.

Clicking on the “Connected – Get Running!” button on the screen above tells the user they’re about to open the RunKeeper app if they have it, or that they need to install the RunKeeper app if they don’t already have it installed.

From here they can grab RunKeeper from the App Store if need be and then away they go!

We hope this will be useful for many of our iOS app partners. Please give it a try and let us know what feedback and requests you have.

And Android partners, fear not, we have you covered too: Similar support is coming in our next Android app release. This will be supported via Android Intents. More details once that release is available in the Google Play store.

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.


GymPact pays you for exercising with RunKeeper

GymPact (@gympact) from Health Graph (@healthgraphapi) partner Pact helps motivate your exercise with cold, hard cash. With GymPact‘s Health Graph integration, qualifying RunKeeper tracked running, walking, and biking activities can be turned into money in your pocket. Read on to learn how GymPact motivates healthy behavior using the Health Graph.


Bill Day: Please tell us about yourself and Pact.
Yifan Zhang: A classic dormroom to startup story, I co-founded Pact with my Harvard classmate Geoff Oberhofer. We were both fascinated by a behavioral economics principle that people are motivated much more by loss than rewards.

We decided to first tackle the specific problem of getting people to the gym more often, and launched GymPact on January 1st, 2012.

BD: What is the “elevator pitch” for why someone should use GymPact?
YZ: Do you pay for an expensive gym membership but can never find the time to use it? GymPact is an iPhone app that lets you earn cash rewards for checking in at the gym, paid for by non-exercisers!

You can make a Pact to work out, choose how much money you’ll put on the line to motivate you, and earn cash when you meet your Pact. Our over 45,000 GymPact users are 90% successful at getting to the gym on committed days.

BD: How did you get started using the Health Graph API?
YZ: Ever since we launched, our users have asked to count outdoor activities (runs, walks, bike rides) toward their Pact. The Health Graph platform has allowed us to easily partner with awesome products like RunKeeper to give our users a feature they wanted.

BD: How is using the Health Graph benefiting your business?
YZ: We announced our integration with the Health Graph a few weeks before the launch, and the response was overwhelming! We had over 1,000 people sign up for our beta list on the first day, and tons more likes/RT’s on social media.

BD: Which portions of the Health Graph API do you use, and why?
YZ: Right now, we are pulling RunKeeper GPS-tracked activities from the API so that we can automatically count them toward GymPacter’s Pacts.

BD: What do you like about the Health Graph? What would you like to see changed?
YZ: The integration was so simple! There were very few bugs, which allowed us to focus on the product and experience rather than the engineering challenges of integration. We see no changes needed for the current version of what we’re doing.

BD: If you could request any new feature from the Health Graph, what would it be? How would you use it?
YZ: We would like to have verified activities marked specifically, since we would like to pull data from other Health Graph-integrated apps as well as RunKeeper.

BD: Can you share any future plans for Pact? What’s coming next that your users will be excited about? Does the Health Graph play a role in that, and if so, how?
YZ: One big thing is that we have an Android app now in private beta! You can sign up for it on our homepage or here. Also, we’re looking to partner with other health apps to incentivize verified healthy activities. The Health Graph is huge for making those partnerships simple!

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.


ShapeUp Club brings deep nutrition data to the Health Graph

ShapeUp Club (@shapeup_club), one of the top three teams from last month’s Health Hack Day in Stockholm, recently launched the integration of their popular calorie counter with the Health Graph (@healthgraphapi). Learn how users of RunKeeper, ShapeUp Club, and other Health Graph partner apps such as Withings (@withings) are all benefitting from the collaboration.

BD: Please tell us about yourself and ShapeUp Club.

ShapeUp Club: Hi! We are Tove and Martin, the founders of ShapeUp Club. We built the original ShapeUp Club app back in 2008 as a side project during our studies in computer science (Martin) and biomedicine (Tove). By combining our knowledge we created ShapeUp Club – an interactive calorie counter that you carry in your pocket. A winning concept when it comes to weight loss.

In the beginning we planned to run this project in parallel with work and school. But we realized pretty fast that wouldn’t work, ShapeUp Club demanded too much time. The hobby became our job (hurray!) and today we are a team of five people working fulltime on ShapeUp Club.

BD: What is the “elevator pitch” for why someone should use ShapeUp Club?

SC: ShapeUp Club is a calorie counter for iPhone, Android, and web. Get a personal weight loss plan, track nutrition, exercise, and weight. Get shaped up with ShapeUp Club now!

BD: Can you tell us a bit about your users? How many do you have? How active are they? What kinds of things do they do with ShapeUp Club?

SC: Our app has been downloaded more than 1.7 million times. We have achieved top 10 App Store-placements in countries all over the world. ShapeUp Club has more than 350,000 active users per month and we are growing with 5,000 new members a day.

Daily feedback from our users proves our concept: The average users loses about 9 lbs. We also have a lot of success stories about users who lost more than 100 lbs. (Wow!)

Based on body features (such as weight and height), age, and daily activity level, ShapeUp Club calculates a personal weight loss plan for each user. The user then follows this plan by tracking what they eat and how much they exercise every day. A color-coordinated calorie bar visually displays how many more or fewer calories the user should eat each day to reach their target weight. A yellow bar indicates you should keep eating (need more calories for your goal), a green bar indicates you’ve eaten the perfect amount for the day, and a red bar indicates you’ve eaten too much that day.

BD: How did you get started using the Health Graph API?

SC: We attended Health Hack Day in Stockholm in May. Bill Day from RunKeeper was there to present on the Health Graph platform and serve as a jury member at the hackathon. We had already heard a lot about the API, and were excited to try it out.

During the hack we created ShapeUp Club Challenge, which would let the ShapeUp Club users connect, compete, and compare progress with each other. The API was super easy to integrate with our code, and we managed to create an app ready for launch in just twenty-four hours. The achievement placed us third in the competition.

A few weeks after the hackathon and our first encounter with the Health Graph, we are proud to announce that ShapeUp Club is now connected to Health Graph! As a first step we are letting our users import their RunKeeper and Withings data into ShapeUp Club, as well as upload their nutrition information from ShapeUp Club into the Health Graph.

BD: How is using the Health Graph benefiting your business?

SC: The combination of ShapeUp Club (nutrition tracking), RunKeeper (exercise tracking), and Withings (weight tracking) is perfect for people who wish to lose weight. Nutrition, exercise, and weight are the three key values people consider when trying to lose weight. By making the tracking of these three factors friction free we believe we are one step closer to the creation of the perfect and sustainable weight loss service. Our users have asked for this possibility for some time now, and we are so happy to finally be able to provide them with this.

BD: Which portions of the Health Graph API do you use, and why?

SC: We are one of the first partners who will share deep, personalized nutrition information with the Health Graph. We are also letting our users access weight and exercise information from other apps as mentioned above.

BD: What do you like about the Health Graph? What would you like to see changed?

SC: The possibilities to very easily combine different services with your own service and health tool is perfect. The API is easy to use and fast to integrate. The only change we would like to see is more focus on the nutrition part of the Health Graph. There’s a lot of more information we could share with the Health Graph if some additional fields were included in the API.

BD: Can you share any future plans for ShapeUp Club? What’s coming next that your users will be excited about? Does the Health Graph play a role in that, and if so, how?

SC: We are planning integration and partnerships with other great Health Graph integrated services.

We also want to improve ShapeUp Club core features. Integration of social tools is a next step, bringing our users closer together, making it possible to interact, motivate, and share information with each other. We believe this will create a whole new weight loss experience. Challenges, recipes, and groups are other things we are planning.

BD: Is there anything else we should know about you or your application?

SC: If you are serious about losing weight, ShapeUp Club is the perfect tool to help. It’s knowledge, inspiration, and motivation in your pocket. Download ShapeUp Club now and join our fast growing community! For news and more information about us, check out our blog at http://blog.shapeupclub.com/.

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.


Weighty makes weight and fat percentage entry simple

Some of the best Health Graph (@healthgraphapi) partner apps are built to solve a developer’s own health and fitness issues. Case in point: Weighty, a free mobile app for quickly and easily tracking your weight and body fat percentage using the Health Graph. Weighty creator Frank Van Rest (@frankvanrest) talks about the problem he wanted to solve with his app, and how he went about creating it, below.

Bill Day: Please tell us about yourself and your work.

Frank Van Rest: I’m a Dutch mathematician who graduated in the summer of 2011. During my studies I founded a web development company. After graduation I was in need of a new goal, and getting a regular job wasn’t a great lookout after being an entrepreneur for eight years.

While traveling I decided to target doing a full Ironman triathlon in two years. I’ve always been a basketball player and couldn’t swim, so this was a challenge. But I’ve been in training for half a year now and am getting in quite good shape!

BD: What is the “elevator pitch” for why someone should use Weighty?

FVR: Weighty is a free iPhone app that makes it super easy to submit your weight and fat percentage to the Health Graph. Tracking your weight is a key step to effectively losing (or gaining) weight. I hope Weighty makes this easy and simple for everyone.

BD: How did you get started using the Health Graph API?

FVR: As I’ve gone about my triathlon training, I wanted to add my weight and fat percentage to the same place as my activities. This was previously only possible via the RunKeeper website, which is not as easily accessible as a mobile app when I’m standing on my weight scale.

The Health Graph API made it easy for me to create such a mobile app myself! I started with the iOS library I found on github and got it (after some debugging) to working pretty quickly. (Editor’s note: A complete listing of available third-party Health Graph libraries is available by clicking here.)

BD: How is using the Health Graph benefiting you?

FVR: The Health Graph makes it easy to create apps that submit data to a central health-related data repository. This cloud-based approach is very valuable for users, since combined analyses can be done. RunKeeper provides free publicity for my app by highlighting it in the Health Graph app directory and showing it in users’ FitnessFeeds when they submit their weight or fat percentage to the Health Graph.

BD: Which portions of the Health Graph API do you use, and why?

FVR: After authentication, I only use the API calls to POST weight and fat percentage. In the future I want to add historical data to the app, at which point I’ll also use GET calls to read that data back from the Health Graph.

BD: What do you like about the Health Graph? What would you like to see changed?

FVR: I like the ease of use of the API. I got a working version up and ready to test in a few hours of work.

During testing I found some small bugs in the API, but the API team fixed it quickly after contact. I’d like additional capabilities to remove and edit data records as well.

BD: If you could request any new feature from the Health Graph, what would it be? How would you use it?

FVR: My scale also gives water percentage and muscle percentage, which I would love to keep track of as well. If that were possible with the Health Graph as well, I’d implement in Weighty!

BD: Can you share any future plans for Weighty? What’s coming next that your users will be excited about? Does the Health Graph play a role in that, and if so, how?

FVR: Removing or editing weight or fat percentage records is not possible at the moment (not on the RunKeeper website and not via the Health Graph API). If a user makes a typo and enters the wrong data, it can really mess up their graphs and weekly averages. I would love to have the ability to remove records via my app (or the website). As soon as that’s possible, I’ll add historical data to the app, with the possibility to edit and delete that data as well.

BD: Is there anything else we should know about you or your application?

FVR: It’s a free iPhone app called Weighty and it’s available via http://weighty.frisb.nl. Please share your feedback via email to weighty@frisb.nl.

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.


Run Or Else motivates by threatening your wallet

Fred Trotter (@fredtrotter) has been working in health IT for years, gaining a reputation as a health software expert. He wrote the first O’Reilly Media book about health IT, “Meaningful Use and Beyond” (click here to read reviews or buy from Amazon), and is a contributor to the O’Reilly Radar blog (@radar). During a recent interview, Fred explained why he built his Run Or Else (@runorelse) running motivation service, who should use it, and how he took advantage of the Health Graph (@healthgraphapi) and RunKeeper Elite in its implementation.

Bill Day: Why did you create Run Or Else?

Fred Trotter: Writing software to help doctors and patients is a worthwhile pursuit. But at some point I realized that if I really wanted to make a difference in healthcare I needed to start coding solutions for people to stay healthy. Run Or Else is my first public experiment with this idea.

BD: What is the “elevator pitch” for why someone should use Run Or Else?

FT: The shortest way I can describe it is “Run Or Else helps motivate people to run consistently”.

Run Or Else is designed for people who would like to be runners, but are not yet. Running as a healthy behavior is only valuable if you do it consistently over long periods of time. But if you do manage to run consistently over long periods of time, the health and lifestyle benefits are enormous.

Run Or Else helps people to run consistently by creating a simple mental hack: Tricking yourself into assuming “I have to run.” With Run Or Else each user chooses a weekly running or walking distance goal, and an amount of money to risk if they do not go that distance. Then they user RunKeeper (or something that feeds the Health Graph distance data) to track their runs. We then use the Health Graph API to download that data and automatically calculate whether a user has kept their self-commitment. If a user has gone their distance, nothing happens. If they have failed, then we charge their Paypal account.

The idea is to make it expensive not to run.

BD: How did you get started using the Health Graph API?

FT: I have been experimenting with it since it first came out. I have been thinking of building something like Run Or Else for a long time. When the Health Graph was released it became obvious that it was the perfect tool for Run Or Else. It solved the really hard problem of gathering the running data on more than one mobile platform (iPhone and Android in particular). The Health Graph hands Run Or Else the right data on a silver platter.

BD: How is using the Health Graph benefiting Run Or Else?

FT: Run Or Else would not be possible without the Health Graph. Well, perhaps it would be possible, but it would really suck.

Let me re-phrase: Without the Health Graph, Run Or Else would not be worth it for me to try and build it. I still would have tried to build something to do with incentivizing healthy behaviors, but I would not have focused on walking and running without the Health Graph.

BD: Which portions of the Health Graph API do you use, and why?

FT: I use the activity history, and I filter it for running, walking, or hiking. All three of these count towards the user’s Run Or Else weekly distance goal.

BD: What do you like about the Health Graph? What would you like to see changed?

FT: The Health Graph is really clean and simple. It provides me with a perfect window into the behaviors that I want to measure.

I believe the “ownership of the data” type issues in the API terms of use really need to change, but that is something that I believe will be addressed. [Editor’s note: Shortly before this profile was published, we expanded Health Graph user data export capabilities dramatically to include all activity and measurement data, at least partially addressing Trotter’s concerns.]

BD: If you could request any new feature from the Health Graph, what would it be? How would you use it?

FT: Honestly, you guys are moving faster than I am. I was thinking it might be nice to have more “social” features through the API, but then you invited me to beta one of your newer social features, the Healthy button.

BD: Can you tell us why you chose to have an initial RunKeeper Elite-only beta release?

FT: There are several reasons for this.

First we are entirely dependent on the Health Graph. Besides any money we make through the RunKeeper Elite Affiliate Program, the program helps us to be sure that the Health Graph platform as a whole is funded and sustainable.

The second reason is that it puts us in a position to leverage the most advanced features of Health Graph API across all of our users. We want to build the ultimate running motivation application, and to do that we need to build on the ultimate running tracking application and RunKeeper Elite gives us that.

It is also pretty cool that it helps RunKeeper. Our app would not be possible without RunKeeper’s deliberate decision to release a clean and open API for activity tracking apps (among other things). Building and supporting an API like that is expensive, and it is important for us to make sure that RunKeeper has an incentive to keep doing that.

We plan on launching our site for all Health Graph users as soon as we have learned the initial lessons from our Elite users. As we consider the RunKeeper Elite choices, it becomes obvious that for some apps, being RunKeeper Elite-only may be a good long term funding strategy. For us, we are going to make sure that there are eventually features in our app that only RunKeeper Elite users can get. So we will have a parallel freemium business model alongside RunKeeper.

BD: Can you share any future plans for your app? What’s coming next that your users will be excited about? Does the Health Graph play a role in that, and if so, how?

FT: We have grand designs for Run Or Else, but our Elite-only launch was the first time we could get feedback en masse. We will start the next iteration of coding after we’ve accumulated enough feedback from our initial Elite-only users. The Health Graph will always play a significant role in our future plans and several of our “wouldn’t it be cool” ideas are directly tied to Health Graph features that we do not yet leverage.

Again, Run Or Else is entirely dependent on the Health Graph working: There is no “backup plan”, without Health Graph data, we really have no application.

BD: Is there anything else we should know about you or your application?

FT: We are trying to create a system that sustains running motivation, and that means more than just a financial incentive.

The most important tool we give users to sustain their motivation is their status page (you can see my status page by clicking the “demo” link at runorelse.com).

Your status page gives you access to the same underlying data that the RunKeeper interface does, except with one important bias: Your weekly distance is what matters, not your individual runs. So we show much less data then we get from the Health Graph, because we are trying help users track running/walking motivation, rather than just running.

RunKeeper’s FitnessReports will always give a much better display of a user’s detailed running and other health and fitness data. The RunKeeper web interface shows all of the things that a regular runner might care about like pace, path, elevation, etc. This is great for someone who is already running consistently.

With the Run Or Else display of the same data, you are getting a different report card. You are getting a report card that tells you, at a glance, whether or not you are a “runner”. We will be adding features around this display soon, but it is really the second big motivator in the system besides the financial incentive.

Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.