Reality Mining: Counting your steps, guessing your speed, knowing your direction
The sensors that notice the shakings of your device also notice yourself shaking when you walk. Given the average distance you travel with every single step, one can tell how far you walked while reading a website. Combined with the direction of the compass, you could even guess where you are walking right then. Now imagine a lots of people going to a concert, checking the bands website for news updates. Most of them will face the same direction and move at a similar speed. Tracking them will give you a cluster of target audience.
Look at the graph and the step counter above. With a mobile device, it should make visible all kind of shaky lines and it should count your steps more or less accurately.
- If they walk more than x steps in one direction, they’re probably not at home.
- If you approximately know where they are, you can check against street maps to localize them.
- If the device changes direction but is barely shaking, they probably travel by bus/train or something else.
- Tracking people who move all together to a concert, you could predict what they do next and cross-sell something.
Determining lots of things from device movements
Now let your imagination run wild to get a sense of what could be determined by recording the movements of your smartphone.
- Out of the hand of a right-handed person, the phone gently slides out the open hand with a definite left tilt. A left-handed person has a right tilt.
- When you put down you phone on a couch, there is a swinging motion at the end. If you put it down on a desk, there is no swinging but a sudden motion stop.
- If you turn your phone to show something to someone on the display, you fulfill a rotation in one direction and then a rotation back (to you).