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Withings Body Scale
Withings is a French company founded in 2008 that specializes in bringing new functions to everyday objects through a connection to the internet. One of the products they sell is a WiFi-connected body scale. The scale can be used by up to eight persons, each recognized automatically by the scale. Every time you weigh yourself, the body scale measures your weight, lean and fat mass automatically. On the product itself, you see your weight data instantly. At the same time, your measured data is wirelessly transmitted to the Cloud.
It becomes more interesting when we look at the accompanying web applications that read out and display your information in different ways. A graphical interface presents the evolution of your fitness over time. The fact that you can see the differences of your weight over time gives you insight into your behaviour patterns. The application is also used to determine your personal fitness programme and to monitor if you meet the goals that you've set.
For being just a product on the bathroom floor, Withings has succeeded in adding a whole network of services to it by connecting it to the web. For example, Withings has partnered with other lifestyle and health services that offer to help people achieve their weight management goals. So, when you use the scale, you are actually powering the network of your favourite services, food providers and other people with the same goals. The Withings body scale is a nice example of an everyday product that becomes enhanced by connecting it to the Cloud. It's not merely a gimmick, Withings has clearly thought of the value that is perceived by this new interaction. Simply adopting a different way of looking at your information can be of huge value.
That makes you think: what other existing, 'normal' products could benefit from a WiFi connection and an online service that goes with it? Which connections and data streams could be useful? Could something be gained by just visualizing the existing data in a different way?