Last year Apple introduced iBeacons, low-energy Bluetooth transmitters that wirelessly send alerts to your iPhone based on your proximity, touting them as a way for retailers to reach shoppers more directly with discounts and deals. As it turns out, they may be good for other things too, like helping you stay more physically fit. The US Department of Health and Human Services has installed several iBeacons and other wireless transmitters throughout its headquarters building in Washington, D.C. that send employees alerts encouraging them to "take the long way back to their desks," and hydrate more, as Bloomberg reports.
The executive in charge of the project calls them "an angel on your shoulder helping you make the right choices." Although just an experiment for now, the Health Department already has set up a scoreboard of its employees showing who is the "healthiest" in the office, and plans to implement an even more ambitious version of the system that will encourage people to take the stairs and potentially even collect data on their activity from their smartphones.
It certainly seems reasonable the the US agency dedicated to the country's health needs would want to be on the bleeding edge of such technology. At the same time, Bloomberg notes that many other companies are trying similar technologically-assisted ways of encouraging their employees to be more fit and healthy, but that it will probably take some time to see mainstream adoption throughout US corporate culture.