Earthquakes, sleepless cities and Jawbone’s big data

Jawbone is digging deep into its aggregate user data - and finding fascinating things about how we sleep.

For me, one of the most compelling talks at NEXT14 was Aza Raskin’s exploration of how the big data gathered by its Jawbone UP bands can make a broad difference – by giving us an insight into people’s behaviours en masse – and an individual difference – by using that data to send prompts to individual users.

Over on the Jawbone blog, data scientist Eugene Mandel has given an excellent example of the former, by highlighting how Jawbone data in aggregate shows when people woke up, as their sleep was disturbed by the South Napa earthquake:

Once awaken, it took the residents a long time to go back to sleep, especially in the areas that felt the shaking the strongest. In fact, 45% of UP wearers less than 15 miles from the epicenter stayed up the rest of the night.

And who can blame them?

Here’s the full graph:

Earthequake wake times

Other recent exercises using the data plotted significant variations in how people sleep in different cities:

City sleeps jawbone

Tokyo’s sub-six hour sleep patterns suggest most of that city is spending its work days performing as if they were slightly drunkā€¦

As this sort of health-tracking grows, it will be fascinating to see what else emerges.