The world was surprised a few months ago when PayPal co-founder and angel investor extraordinaire Max Levchin announced his next venture: a fertility application called Glow. On the surface, cervical mucus and ovulation cycles didn’t seem like a natural fit for the entrepreneur.
But as Sarah Lacy detailed, if you look a little closer it makes perfect sense. Levchin, an ambitious data head, was using data analytics and machine learning to solve a difficult problem with his co-founder Mike Huang. Furthermore, he was going after the sort of problem that fit his age and maturity as a father.
Glow tracks when a women is most likely to get pregnant by analyzing an array of information, and it helps couples manage their pregnancy efforts through daily activities, recommended tips, and personalized information.
Today, its announcing that it has forged its first partnership, with the app MyFitnessPal. People use MyFitnessPal to track their nutrition and exercise to improve their health. By offering a MyFitnessPal integration, the Glow app will automatically update with important information about a user’s BMI. That information can then be used to help fertility efforts, like determining the most opportune time to have sex or recommending foods that could improve the pregnancy chances.
Zzzzz. In and of itself, not the most exciting news in the world. But the new Glow partnership portends a larger, more compelling trend: the connected body.
We’ve already got the connected home, where devices like thermostats or surveillance cameras get ‘smart’ once they’re connected to the Internet. Then, users can track them through mobile apps. The products can talk to each other and make adjustments. For example, the new Nest smart fire alarm will tell the Nest smart thermostat if it senses carbon monoxide, and the thermostat will turn off the furnace. It’s basically the Disney movie Smart House.
And we have the quantifiable self, where people rock FitBits and Up bands to keep track of what their body is doing, how much they’re sleeping, how many calories they’ve burned, how many steps they’re taking, their heart rate and skin temperature.
So it’s about time for the connected body — a marriage between the connected home and the quantifiable self. With the connected body, the applications that we use to track ourselves will speak with each other, playing off each other to behave smarter.
As with the new Glow-MyFitnessPal partnership, our fitness levels can be automatically correlated to our ovulation cycles to determine the best time to get pregnant. Perhaps in the future our sleep cycle can link up with our exercise regime to set our workout for the day. Our cortisone output and stress levels can determine our tailored diet without any added input from us.
These things don’t really exist yet, but it’s only a matter of time. The Glow-MyFitnessPal partnership is a tiny step on that path, showing what can be accomplished when our quantifiable self devices start talking to each other.
[Image via Thinkstock]