The SWELL e-coaching app helps knowledge workers in achieving personal goals related to work-life balance. The app runs on a smartphone and can access a wide variety of interpreted worn sensors that recognize physical activity, work activity levels and tasks. An intervention starts with a screening phase where physical fitness, personal parameters and goals are elicited by a validated questionnaire and a protocol-free condition test. Subsequently, a user may enter a coached program to improve sleep, physical fitness or mental fitness. Depending on the goal, the app will measure parameters, compare with targets and provide feedback and suggestions. Key issue is that the app avoids unsuitable moments for feedback, and styles the feedback according to the personality of the user.
The key contributions in ICT science are twofold: firstly, reasoning under uncertainty using inputs from a heterogeneous sensor infrastructure, avoiding a one sensor – one application configuration. The sensors used are not proprietary developed sensors, but are off-the-shelf generic products. The ICT intelligence is in the combination and reasoning algorithms. Secondly, user-centric contextual reasoning provides real-time insight in context switches for the prediction of suitable feedback moments. This is the basis of a coaching engine that adapts to the user by configuring itself to his habits. The current practice of non context-aware feedback leads to a high percentage of discontinued use of apps in this market.
Recent research (TNO 2013) indicates that out of the Dutch workforce of 7.4 million people, 1 million have burnout complaints and that stress and workload are identified as the main reasons for at least 7% of reported sick leaves with an estimated cost of roughly 900 million euro per year. There are no sensing based personal coaching products on the market that combine multiple sensors and look at both mental and physical fitness. Swell e-coach technology partners are Philips, Almende, Sense-OS. Competitors such as fitbit have a single sensor approach and are geared towards the lifestyle market.
Sensor based reasoning and decision-making is a paradigm that can also be deployed in smart cities or smart ‘X’ contexts. However, the SWELL platform has the largest potential in other person related monitoring & coaching situations, such as self management of people with chronic diseases, or e-learning systems. Especially an adequate context-aware intervention and messaging algorithm would have a very wide field of application for apps providing coaching and personal messaging in any field.
The SWELL e-coach has been designed as a ‘lifestyle’ tool for personal health management. Technically spoken, only the user can access the logged data, which is stored in the Common Sense cloud. Running monitoring apps on company devices such as laptops and smartphones might be subject to company rules. Sharing of personal data will be done on the basis of Informed Consent guidelines anticipating the EU data Protection Directive. The data will be stored with NEN certified providers in NL/EU.