How we use technology to create a
better product for our customers
By: Eduardo Lulia Jacob, Chief Technical Officer
A couple of years ago I had a DNA test which helped to reveal a couple of facts about the way I am made. It turns out that I have two gene mutations that mean I gain weight faster than average and if I exercise hard I’ll lose weight faster than average.
Apart from giving me no excuse to avoid cakes and the gym, these very personal traits illustrate just how differently individuals react to diet and exercise. Some might get better results from exercise, while diet will have a more profound effect on others. Our individual requirements are just that – individual – and if we’re going to successfully change our lives for the better, we need guidance that’s equally individual.
It’s this requirement that sparked the idea for L3M’s core technology. There’s a mass of data flowing from the arsenal of sensors in smart devices that can be used to understand the individual. We wanted to harness that data and apply the power of the hardware to offering personalised advice and help specifically tailored to the individual.
As L3M Technologies’ chief technical officer, this is what I’ve been working towards for the last year: one piece of technology that works for everybody. I’m an engineer so I like lots of detail and explanation: tell me what effect this will have on my resting heart rate. But my wife wants short, quick commands so she can just get on with it. At L3M, we recognised that different people need different forms of encouragement.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are central to what we’ve made. AI quickly processes the vast quantities of data devices generate, spotting patterns and connections humans can’t. Speed and accuracy matter, so we’ve been fortunate to partner with McLaren Applied Technologies, world leaders in analysing data and creating insights that can change behaviour. It builds the black box recorders fitted to F1 cars, collecting data from thousands of sensors and sending it back to McLaren’s HQ. Real-time analysis created instant recommendations for improvements which are sent back to the car, so adjustments can be made during the race for split-second gains. It’s potent stuff, giving us the ability to respond to a user’s circumstances as they change.
Most smart devices have a machine-learning processor and as the technology trickles down, soon every device will possess ML capability. That allows us to use the processor to learn what works for the user and how they respond to advice. Our software will learn from its interaction with the user, in the same way a human coach does, and get better at providing recommendations that get results.
Two years ago this wouldn’t have been possible. The speed at which new technology is launched means now we can offer a product that can give truly personalised advice based on the fine details of our customer’s life. The latest Apple Watch comes with an ECG, and for us that means more than measuring heart rate. We could use it to understand when our users are stressed by measuring heart rate variability. And if the software knows they’re stressed, then it can adjust its recommendations to suit their mood.
It’s this level of precision and customisation that’s driven the development of our first product and the software that underpins it. Technology is a hugely important tool but for us it’s just that – a tool. It’s what you do with it that counts. That’s the philosophy behind everything we do here at L3M. Make it personal, make it useful and, above all, make it relevant.