What do public services do to your blood pressure?

1 min read

We all know that some public services cause us stress. But thanks to the explosion in wearable devices, we can now measure our heart rate as we wait in a queue, deal with a particularly complex application form or stand wishing the bus would come.

Pulse Lab Jakarta recently launched a research project to understand the extent to which wearable devices can capture our stress levels as we interact with public services.

The theory

Data from heart rate sensors on wearable devices, combined with information on age and gender should, according to research by Vrijkotte et al., provide a measure of stress.

Wearables and smartphones can also provide information on movement and location. Thus, we should be able to gain insights into the experiences which cause stress to the user.

I believe that a citizen’s satisfaction with a public service has an inverse relationship with the level of stress experienced while interacting with the state. Although there are many factors that contribute to stress, and as such this is not a precise indicator for satisfaction, I hope that the research project will bring a fresh perspective on citizens’ experiences of public service contact points.

The research project

The traditional model for assessing user satisfaction with public services in Indonesia is a paper based survey. Response bias and meddling by outsiders can influence survey results, but a user’s heart rate cannot lie.

Pulse Lab Jakarta has purchased a few smartwatches and smartphones for the experiment. The wearable will be integrated with the phone which will send data to a server for further analysis. The results will be visualized on a dashboard for users and policy makers. We will be testing our hypothesis in schools, initially.

If you are interested in this research or you have an idea for applying wearable technology to social issues please ping me an email at oscar.baskoro@un.or.id


Top image: Testing the prototype in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara

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