Tracking the health of SXSW® Interactive

Connect to Healthy Experience pilot brought together health data and devices at this year’s festival of interactive tech.

The Philips Motivate Lounge at the Austin Convention Center

Many of us have become strong believers in the quantified self, using different health apps and wearable fitness trackers that follow various aspects of our lives and generate large volumes of personal health data (think: your Fitbit, Jawbone or calorie tracker).

Smart devices and connected products have done an incredible job at making people more aware of their own health and more motivated to make efforts to stay healthy; they have become a part of people’s lives. At the same time, health providers are continually looking for smart ways to improve the quality of patient care with new and innovative technologies. So, what if there was a way to combine these two worlds and move beyond the essentials of monitoring and towards a more connected vision of health tech, with location-based information that can improve people’s health and track the health of population groups?

SXSW® Interactive 2015 provided the perfect opportunity to put that theory into practice. As sponsor of one of the world’s premiere gatherings of digital expertise, Philips invited a limited number of attendees to be exclusive test users for the Connect to Healthy Experience.

The proof-of-concept platform tracks data collected from wearable monitoring devices and other environmental sources like air quality. All of this data is then brought together into one easy-to-read dashboard for the individual, providing real-time insights into the day-to-day changes in his or her health.

With the number of sessions, speakers and technologies around personal health and healthcare growing exponentially at the festival each year, SXSW® has become the perfect venue for testing this concept with an enthusiastic and engaged crowd.

So what was the goal? The experiment looked at demonstrating the power of actionable real-time data for helping people make healthier choices. Participants on the ground in Austin, Texas, could sign up by visiting the Philips Motivate Lounge at the Austin Convention Center (ACC) or by scanning a specific QR code with their phones and mobile tablets. Once registered, participants connected their wearable tracking device to the Connect to Healthy platform through an online portal.

When visiting the Philips spaces at SXSW®, attendees could also track vital signs like blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, weight and more. Feeding this data into the Connect to Healthy platform, it was displayed alongside data from the participants’ wearable health trackers, further personalizing individuals’ health dashboards.

At the Innovation Lounge and Motivate Lounge spaces, SXSW® Interactive attendees could see how their health stacked up compared to the average across Austin during the event in real-time on large displays.

As an extra incentive, for every participant that signed up to take part in the Connect to Healthy Experience, the Philips Foundation pledged to make a contribution to the Makers Project in Kenya. That project focuses on developing critical mother and childcare products and technologies, which will have a major impact on clinical health needs.

With digital and connected products at every turn, Philips is looking at how this technology can be harnessed for meaningful improvements to people’s lives — encouraging healthy living and prevention.

In fact, Philips launched the HealthSuite Digital Platform to provide the functionality demonstrated by Connect to Healthy. Participants in the experiment were excited to take part in such a forward-thinking activity and were interested to keep learning more about what Philips can offer in regards to connected health.

For Philips, the experience was a stepping stone towards a greater understanding of how to offer people smart and effective support across the health continuum — from healthy living to prevention, to diagnosis and treatment, to recovery and care at home.