Sony Mobile has announced the release of the Sony Lifelog API, encouraging developers to create innovative third-party applications that will provide new and engaging experiences for Lifelog users and help to expand the Sony wearable ecosystem. Sony Mobile has also launched a new Web interface for Lifelog built using the Lifelog API and HTML5 technologies. With the release of the Lifelog API and wearable products such as SmartBand SWR10 and SmartWatch 3, Sony aims to increase the company's market share in the growing wearable electronics/quantified self market.
The rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT), widespread adoption of smartphones and growing interest by consumers in personal health/quantified self has led to a booming worldwide smartwatch and wristband market. Gartner predicts that by 2016 the wearable fitness and personal health devices market will be about $5 billion, and approximately 40% of consumer wrist-worn devices will be smartwatches. Sony is one of the leading companies in the wearable technology industry; other leading companies include Adidas, Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, Nike and Samsung.
At International CES 2015, Sony announced the release of the Lifelog API, which can be used by developers to create third-party applications that can securely access the Lifelog platform data store. Lifelog is Sony's activity-tracking Android application that allows users to collect, store and analyze personal data related to physical movements, entertainment activity and communication patterns. Lifelog automatically records these activities from a user's SmartWear product, which can be connected to any Android device using One-touch NFC or Bluetooth technology.
The Lifelog platform data store is where the activity, profile and location data for Lifelog users is stored. The Lifelog API allows third-party applications to make API calls that perform actions on a Lifelog user's behalf, provided the user has granted explicit approval. The API includes endpoints for user profile, activities and locations. Quite a few activity endpoints and subtypes are available, including:
- Physical — Walk, run, bicycle or other; steps, distance, calories
- Sleep — Awake, light sleep, deep sleep
- Music — Usage time, track name, artist, album
- Application usage — Books, browsing, game, movie/TV, etc.
Sony has partnered with Habit Monster and Withings, companies that are already using the Lifelog API to create lifestyle and health applications that are coming soon. Sony has also partnered with IFTTT so that users will be able to connect Lifelog to other applications. The availability of the Lifelog API should help the company expand the Sony wearable ecosystem, provided developer onboarding is successful and a variety of engaging third-party applications are made available to Lifelog users. "The expansion of Lifelog, both in terms of its open API and our vision for new wearable concepts, will allow creative partners to integrate their apps and services to our platform, giving our users access to the richest, most varied wearable ecosystem," said Kaz Tajima, senior vice president, head of UX creative design and planning, at Sony Mobile Communications, in a press release.
Sony also announced at CES 2015 the launch of Lifelog Web, a new Web interface for Lifelog users, and it unveiled the new stainless steel edition of SmartWatch 3, which will roll out beginning in February. The new Lifelog Web interface can be accessed via browser at lifelog.sonymobile.com and is designed to work with any screen size so that users can access Lifelog from devices ranging from smartphones to Internet-connected TVs. Lifelog Web can be accessed using a Sony Entertainment Network account or a Google account. Sony intends to add new features and functionality to Lifelog on a regular basis in order to "keep the experiences as current as they possibly can be."
Considering the stiff competition in the growing wearable electronics/quantified self market, Sony will likely need to do far more to increase its market share. Several other wearable tech companies have recently released APIs for developers, including Samsung, Garmin International and Under Armour. Other companies have introduced wearable tech products that not only include activity tracking technology but are fashionable and appealing to general consumers, not just the tech savvy. Swarovski and Misfit have formed a partnership to launch the Swarovski Shine collection, a line of solar-powered fashionable activity and sleep-tracking devices and coordinating jewelry.
While Sony will soon introduce a stainless steel edition of SmartWatch 3, the company has been primarily focused on the technological aspect of wearables and the development of a vibrant wearable ecosystem. "We specifically designed the Lifelog platform on open principles, with capability that will help developers to build new experiences and access the Sony ecosystem like never before," Yasuharu Nomura, director of experience planning at Sony Mobile Communications, said in the press release. "It's going to be an exciting year ahead."
This is a very exciting time for the wearable electronics/quantified self industry with the introduction of many innovative and fashion-forward wearable electronics products. It will be interesting to see what the Sony wearable ecosystem looks like in the coming months and how the company fares in the rapidly growing wearable electronics/quantified self market.
For more information about Sony SmartWear, the Lifelog Platform and the Lifelog API, visit SonyMobile.com.