At #IFA2014 we shared fresh updates on Lifelog, the popular app at the heart of SmartWear – we’ll soon be opening up the API for developers to integrate services with Lifelog, or build completely new experiences.
We’re also excited to tell you a little more about lifelog.sonymobile.com – a new service that uses the API functionality. It takes your Lifelog data and presents it in a BIGGER, more visual way. Feel free to check it out – at the moment, the site is in “beta”, so you can get a feel for how it will look and function (and so we can grab feedback) – we will launch full capability over the coming months.
We sat down with Markus Eriksson, lead planner and resident brain-behind-Lifelog to talk about some of the upcoming updates…
Can you tell our readers a little about yourself; who you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going?
I’m Markus Eriksson, lead planner for Lifelog. I’ve been with Sony for seven years now, working in a variety of different roles from software developer, project manager and now leading Lifelog’s development and ongoing refinement. This last year has been a fantastic journey, from early Lifelog sketches to the first launch together with SmartBand SWR10. “Wearables” really is an exciting area to be in at the moment, and I’m looking forward to what the future has in store for us and the wider industry.
Lifelog in 140 characters?
Lifelog enables you to log and look back at your entire life journey, from physical movements to your entertainment and social habits!
Tell us a little about how the Lifelog concept came about and how long you’ve been working on it?
Lifelog came about when we were developing the SmartWear proposition – particularly when we found that some people might want to track more than fitness progress. It’s interesting and useful to look how far you’ve ran, how many steps you’ve taken – but it’s also intriguing to look at pictures you’ve taken, where you took them, what you’ve read or where you’ve been.
Lifelog started to materialise, at least in its early state, during the late spring of 2013. Such was the momentum and collaboration of art directors, software architects and hardware designers across our business, that it managed to go from concept to design, to product in less than a year.
What makes Sony’s Lifelog app different from other wearable companion apps?
We try to have a broader focus that goes beyond step counting and number crunching – sure, Lifelog will enable you to capture that data, but for us, this is a stock and hygiene feature of what a wearable companion app should do.
We talk about Lifelog capturing emotions as well as motions – whilst this might sound like conceptual rhetoric, what we really mean is that when you look back at the songs you listened to, the places you were, the apps you used… it tells you something about your state of mind or mood at a certain point… it’s evocative, provocative and can often prompt nostalgia!
Can you talk about opening up the Lifelog API, as announced at IFA?
Until now, the evolution of the Lifelog experience has been confined to what our development team creates internally. Whilst we think we’ve done a great job, opening up the power of our Lifelog data to other applications and services will greatly increase the innovation and breadth of the overall experience. It’s about recognising the importance of being open in being able to harness creativity from across the creative developer spectrum to be able to provide better and more varied experiences for users.
There really is no limit to areas Lifelog could provide user experiences within, whether that’s personal training, medical aids, tourism apps, music playlists… or even dating apps… and that’s quite exciting for us in terms of who we’re partnering with. And, of course, you will still be in absolute control of your data through bespoke control and access settings.
We’ll be sharing new partner experiences and API use cases very soon, so stay tuned.
What functionality will developers have to play with?
More or less all you see in Lifelog will be available through the API – for example, the data developers could access might include music (song, artist, album), steps taken, time spent walking/running, app usage and location.
I’m a developer (and I love Lifelog – obviously) – how can I hear and learn more about working with the API?
To get the latest news and updates about the launch, head over to our Developer World site and subscribe to the newsletter. We’ll share all the documentation, example code and guidelines soon.
Tell us about lifelog.sonymobile.com – what considerations went into designing the user experience and interface?
Even though the Lifelog app is a great way to experience and interact with your data, expanding to a webpage is a natural progression. Using the API functionality and latest HTML5 technologies we can make use of a larger screen form factor, and thus provide a more visual experience. The site will work with any screen size, from your smartphone to your tablet to your TV…all you’ll have to do is log in using your Sony Entertainment Network account.
It’s worth noting, it won’t log your online activity – it will just present your smartphone or tablet Lifelog data in a different way – the idea is to give you more control and better access to your data.
Do feel free to drop a comment below with your feedback – we’re really keen to hear it, as we look to refine the interface before launch.
What does the future for Lifelog look like?
The future is exciting – we’ve been pleased to see the usership grow as we’ve expanded the compatibility beyond Xperia to other Android smartphones – and then to tablets also
We have regular updates coming bringing exciting features and functionality to keep the experiences as current as they possibly can be. We’ll be evolving the application and web page, supporting our latest apparel; SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 at launch, and adding additional functionality to the API as we work with many exciting new partners. This is just the beginning of Lifelog’s journey, and we’re excited to share more over the coming months!