How tracking our activity has turned us into data analysts

How tracking our activity has turned us into data analysts

Whether you’re like me and track your activity religiously or you just occasionally open Apple Health to marvel at how many steps you’ve walked today, a third of us are now collecting substantial amounts of data on a daily basis.

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Video is truth

truth 2-min
At Big Sofa we’ve long believed that video is the most powerful tool in the researchers arsenal. However, more recently, advances in our technology have allowed us to embrace the potential in observational techniques for getting access to real human behaviour, emotion, and attitudes.  Access to these things enable us to provide better quality insight, more truthful data for analysis and generate powerful consumer connections for client deliverables - so how can observational filming achieve this? 
Before video, in-home observational studies were carried out by moderators.  This  meant that any observations were often somewhat staged, isolated occasions which were recorded (sometimes) and reported back by a single researcher.  Not only was this extremely time consuming, it also isn't a very scalable approach, meaning that the respondent pool was relatively small, and the projects came at a high cost.  It also lost ‘natural’ behaviours and the amount moderators could observe was obviously limited. 
Observational research allows us to get to the 'personal self' of our consumers in a way that is (relatively) non-invasive.  By observing our consumers in their own environment, going about their lives as usual, we can see how they actually interact with their products, homes and relatives, rather than how they report to have these interactions . It's not that respondents lie or deliberately hide the truth from us, more that they are not aware of that truth.  How can someone measure if they brush their teeth for less or more time than is usual?  Do you know how much washing up liquid you use in comparison to your neighbour? 
Because of this, installing cameras (that can either roll continuously or be triggered by movement, sensors etc) in respondent's homes seemed like an obvious route to explore, as we realised that we could gain a wealth of rich data to analyse from simply getting access to how real people behave day-to-day in their homes.  Cameras can record all instances of, for example, the use of a product by all family members over the course of a long period of time. They also capture any other activity within the household, giving much needed context to usage occasions, and also showing when products were not used, or misused.  We’d be able to access what really goes on in peoples lives in a way questions never could. 

Of course, the capture and use of thousands of hours of video is no easy feat.  Traditionally, this is a time-consuming, expensive, and clumsy task – relying on hard drives, file transfers and huge scrubbing operations to narrow down from raw content to client-relevant moments and outputs.  

That’s why we created Video Observer,  an end to end video data capture and processing solution to collect, securely store and process thousands of hours of video data from anywhere in the world; and deliver moments of consumer behaviour that matter to researchers and client teams for deep analysis.  You can read more about this here, or if you were thinking about starting with something slightly smaller (like our Video Stories projects) read up on how to conduct more basic video research projects here.