In Switzerland, one in two adults keeps track of their daily activities on their smartphones or other digital devices, according to a study published on Wednesday. A further 20% have tried these kinds of “lifelogging” systems at least once.
The study on how people measure their lives digitally was conducted by the Sotomo Research Centreexternal link on behalf the Sanitas Health Insurance Foundationexternal link. The results were based on a survey of 3055 people, representative of the permanent Swiss resident population aged 18 and over.
The most popular logging activity was tracking one’s daily step count, followed by mapping runs and walks as well as other sporting achievements.
These fitness tallies also led to behavioural changes for nearly half of all users, the study found.
Health monitors focused on tracking sleep duration or heart rates are less commonly used. They also have a lower impact on behaviour.
The trend towards people digitally measuring their lives is “far from being exhausted”, wrote the authors of the study.
Two-thirds of people questioned said that they would like to make use of more extensive automatic monitoring systems, such as measuring their energy and resource consumption or the number of calories they eat.
At the same time, users had concerns about data privacy. Over 70% said that they had deactivated certain smartphone functions, such as location tracking, for data privacy reasons, the study found.
Overall, data security was however only an important consideration in cases where an application could be easily dropped.
The health insurer company Helsana recently introduced a controversial health application encouraging its policy holders to monitor their activities and health information.
On Wednesday, the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) announced that it will file a complaint over the Helsana app with the Swiss Federal Administrative Court.