Thanks to billboards bearing the sobering slogan ‘stop, revive, survive’ and Dr Karl explaining the dangers of a microsleep behind the wheel, most Australians are well aware of the accidents that can occur if someone drives while tired. We know the same applies to workers operating heavy or dangerous machinery, and we also know that, at a basic level, continued lack of sleep isn’t great for our health. However, it can be hard to monitor how much sleep we get or the quality of it.
Western Australian startup Circadyn has developed an analytics platform that aims to help individuals change their behaviour in order to develop healthier habits and stay safe. RestAlert analyses data collected from various wearable technology to track sleep and in turn provide personal insights through a dashboard and SMS alert system.
A personalised alert can come in various forms. For example, it can tell a user when they should stop undertaking high risk tasks in order to reduce their risk of accident or industry, alert them if their sleep quality has been so poor that they may be at an increased risk of accident or injury, or alert them if they have reached a threshold for a sleep debt that means they are so fatigue-impaired that their cognitive performance is equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of 0.05.
Felicity Millman, founder and CEO of Circadyn, originally completed a PhD in psychology, and said the idea for the system came through her work counselling people through all kinds of physical health, mental health, and peak performance issues.
“As a psychologist, it was clear that people’s cognitive and emotional functioning is significantly impaired if they are not taking care of their basic physiological requirements first. Moreover, most people know what they should do, but don’t do it because they don’t get the right message at the right time,” she said.
“I felt that individuals would benefit most from a psychologist in their pocket to support people the make the best decision possible right when they are making the decision and to help them develop better healthier habits. RestAlert was created to enable to individuals to function far more effectively by providing them with the right message at the right time.”
Though everyone could benefit from developing better sleep patterns, Millman is looking to build RestAlert a solid customer base in the enterprise space, with the system allowing managers to monitor their employees’ reports and push out alerts.
Millman, who self funded the startup’s development before receiving a grant from the RAC SeedSpark program in 2014 and seed funding from the Amcom Upstart program last year, is targeting a number of sectors she believes could benefit from such a system. These include transportation, logistics, and supply chain businesses, the emergency services, construction and mining, high risk businesses such as blasting and drilling, as well as peak performance athletes.
“RestAlert can be used in a variety of ways depending on the industry needs. Organisations can have an overview of the overall fatigue patterns within the organisation using the data dashboard and can immediately act on the information if needed using the messaging system,” Millman said.
“This supports managers to quickly reduce the risks associated with fatigue impairment by enabling them to immediately identify high risk patterns occurring within the organisation and implement a more effective and efficient Risk Management Policy.”
Helping employees develop better sleeping patterns helps improve general health and cognitive and emotional outcomes, Millman said, which in turn reduces the risks and costs associated with accident, injury, and mistakes within the organisation. Healthier, better functioning employees make fewer mistakes and are more productive.
RestAlert costs $32/month for individual users. A subscription costs $4000/year for a company of up to 10 users, or $8000/year for up to 20. Millman said she is currently connecting with industry organisations and leveraging RestAlert’s existing networks to reach potential customers. The startup’s base in Perth is perfect for reaching businesses in the resources industry, with its links to car insurance provider RAC also sure to prove helpful in reaching businesses.
With RestAlert linking its alerts to psychological principles and no real hardware setup or maintenance costs required, Millman believes it has no direct competitors; existing sleep monitoring apps, for example, track sleep but it can be hard to measure quality, while there are no links to actions during the day. One of the most similar startups is Fatigue Science, a US-based startup that has created a sleep tracking wearable, focused on pro sports teams. The technology can detect sleep quality at 93 percent of the accuracy of a hospital sleep lab, with the data collected run through a biomathematical model developed by the US military.
As well as reaching new customers over the next 12 months, Millman will looking to develop new products founded on evidence-based science and psychology principles.
Image: Felicity Millman. Source: Provided.