One of the real strengths of HealthVault is the seamless connectivity that we have with personal monitoring devices. Using the HealthVault Connection Center, I can sit down at my desk, put my arm in the cuff of my Omron blood pressure monitor, wait thirty seconds, and walk away knowing that today's reading will automatically be captured on my PC and uploaded into my HealthVault record. It's so convenient that -- well -- I actually do it.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we released a new version of the Connection Center. If you're already using it you'll have received the new version through Microsoft Update; if not you can always install or upgrade from the HealthVault site. With this upgrade we've added a new device class to the system that I'm pretty excited about: pedometers. So now we have live devices in five categories:
- Blood Pressure (Omron, Microlife)
- Heart Rate / Fitness (Polar)
- Blood Glucose (Lifescan)
- Peak Flow / FEV1 (Microlife)
- Pedometers (Omron)
Pedometers are neat because they are such an accessible way for people to start thinking about fitness. Studies show pretty conclusively that people who use a pedometer daily -- and track their step counts -- walk on average an extra mile every day. Pretty impressive.
Last month I was at Disneyland with my family for a three-day trip (yes, those paying attention will notice that I was just at DisneyWorld as well). Since I'm always pretty worn out and sore at the end of a Disney weekend, I wanted to see how far we were walking. I took along the new Omron pedometer that we now support and kept it clipped to my belt all three days. I was amazed to see that we walked an average of almost nine miles every day -- 26.83 miles for the weekend, just about the same as a marathon.
Of course, the popcorn, churros, and in particular my "Caesar Salad Dog" from Award Wieners may have offset all of that walking. My current plan is to cling to the "fitness trumps fatness" theory and claim victory anyways.
Anyways, the new Connection Center has one more feature that I am super-excited about. In addition to devices, we've now enabled the application to upload information from other sources as well. Our first proof of concept for this new functionality is the HealthVault Weight Gadget for the Vista Sidebar. Jump on the scale, type your weight into the gadget sitting on your desktop, and it is whisked off automatically into your HealthVault account. And while we're still testing the interface that allows the Gadget to talk to HealthVault, our plan is that in the not-too-distant future we can open this up for other developers to use as well. Totally cool!