A fitness tracker is being used to entice people into sharing their personal data by offering them financial rewards.
Oscar is giving away 20,000 free Misfit Flash trackers to customers who agree to register their daily step figures to their health insurance account.
Targets are set, starting at 2,000 steps a day, and are adjusted up or down depending on how successful the user is with a max figure of just over 10,000 steps. When users reach their daily target they are rewarded with $1 added to their Oscar fitness scheme.
The firm’s co-founder Mario Schlosser told CNBC that a cash incentive can provide a major impetus to get fit.
“It’s a big carrot hanging in front of you,” he said. “The original motivation was that we wanted to give people the nudge to stay healthy.”
Currently, the Misfit algorithm can only measure steps taken, but sleep tracking could be added in the future along with calories counting.
A number of firms are targeting the casual fitness market using wearable technology, with the Mira smart bracelet expected to launch early next year, offering inspirational slogans to encourage users during their workout. The data collected by these devices is potentially of huge value to a number of companies including insurers, gyms and doctors.
In the case of Oscar account holders, in exchange for sharing their data they will receive an Amazon voucher once a maximum of $20 has been accrued each month. Of course, it could also lead to savings on their health insurance if the data suggests that they are healthy, but it could equally cause their premium to increase.
The importance of personal data and how companies can access it, is set to become a topic of hot conversation over the next year, so it’s not surprising that Oscar is getting in on the act early. If anyone is interested in a free Misfit Flash fitness tracker and isn’t worried about an increase in their health insurance, they can sign up here.