Vitality Insurance’s Apple Watch Offer fails to reliably read Apple Health data

Technology.  It can be such a pain in the gluteus maximus at times. And no more so when as an insurance company, you’re trying to innovate within the health insurance market by offering customers a heavily discounted Apple Watch in exchange for the user getting fitter (which means they’re less liable to make a claim).

For that very reason I sold my old Apple Watch and traded it in for the Vitality Apple Watch – a 42mm series 2 Nike model for £99.  I figured that an incentive like this would help me walk (including fast walking) more if I didn’t have to pay any more than I already had.

In terms of the watches, there is very little difference between the regular Apple Watch and the Nike branded model other than the straps and watch face, which I love.

Along with the Withings smart scales, I’ve been recording my steps within Apple Health and it’s been working just fine.  But I’ll be darned if I can get the Vitality app on my iPhone 7 Plus to read data from Apple Health so that they can track my progress and decide – if at all – I need to pay any further for the watch.

Things have got to the point where BBC News has picked up on the problem. The app tells me that it’s connected with Apple Health, but no data is ever exchanged between both apps.   You’re supposed to collect 10 points for connecting Apple Heath and the Vitality app, but nope.  Absolutely nothing.  Nada.  Kaput.

Vitality released an app update yesterday, but that did nothing.  So we may be in for a long wait before things start working properly.  I’ve already been in touch with Vitality about this, so they are aware that I’m having problems – as to what they’ll do with the payments remains to be seen.

As a side note, why is the Vitality main web site hosted in South Africa?  Member details appear to be stored within a datacentre based in Slough, however.  Very odd.  But at least my health data remains in the UK.  Hopefully.  I doubt my health data on the Watch or iPhone is shared with Apple in the US.  

The scales of justice!

I’m loving my new Withings wireless scales.  At £52 (bought in the sale – they’re now £89), they’re pretty pricey, but they get the job jobbed.

Over the past six days, I appear to be losing weight (2lbs!) despite trying eating different things to see how much they add or remove to the total each day. After an initial weigh-in last Saturday morning, the biggest gain was a Carluccio’s breakfast (magnifica) shortly afterwards (the biggest rise as seen below in the chart – but I was also wearing clothes at the time – each weigh-in occurs first thing in the morning after using the toilet and while I’m not wearing very much clothing).

After that, I started eating sensibly, or at least reasonably sensibly based around the Weight Watchers point scheme.  I’m still hacked off that there are no meetings near me that offer a time that’s suitable for somebody working a 37 hour week.   But hey-ho.

The slightly raised peaks are Domino’s pizza and a Chinese respectively.  Providing I stick to a sensible diet (I don’t have to cut out my morning coffees – now only taking the smallest size – and a daily chocolate bar at work is okay), things should progress nicely.  I’ve also cut out artificial sweetener.  I should reach my ideal weight by February 2018 according to the Withings app.

As for Apple Watch/Apple Health – I’m currently smashing my target roles and are raised the moving goal considerably, and will continue to do so as things progress with the weight loss.

Note: I have not assumed my identity as The Snail yet – too bloomin’ cold.

Happy New Year!

Hope everybody had a good holiday – it was mainly a very peaceful time, punctuated by three days of work which was much busier than I had anticipated (which convinced me that next year I won’t allow the rest of my team to all take their holidays at the same time).

Now we’re in 2017, I’ve resolved to lose the weight.  2016 was a year full of inactivity and stress.  So despite all the horrors of a new US president and all the other bad things happening in the world, I’m determined to remain positive and get a bit more trim.  So the lycra’s coming out, the trainers are being used as trainers, the fluorescent backpack bought, Weight Watchers subscription purchased, and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connected scales are waiting to be used.

One thing that’s helping me along is that my work has switched health insurance to Vitality.  You’ve probably seen the TV adverts.  What’s different about this company is that they reward you for being active.  So much so I’m selling my own Apple Watch and taking out a new one, a Nike+ Apple Watch.  For £99, I get the watch and providing I remain active for the next two years, I pay nothing more.  Less activity means that I pay between £5 and £12.50 a month.  If that’s not an incentive, I don’t know what is.

And Vitality has provided a subscription to Weight Watchers for £30 for six months.  The only downside is that there are no meetings near me that I can make because they’re all held during the day.  Which is absolutely no darn good when you’re working.  Apparently, Weight Watchers offers an online meeting, but I can’t see how to do that, or whether it’s included in the subscription or not. That said, I’m already using their points system to stick within a daily limit.  I don’t think it’s going to be difficult.  I made various changes to my diet before Christmas, so a few more won’t hurt.  The key thing now is exercise.

In the long run (or in my case, speed walk – for a bulky bloke, I’m pretty fast), it’ll all be worth it.  I need to buy a tuxedo for my upcoming cruise, and I have half a year to lose the flab before splashing the cash.

So I will assume my secret identity as The Snail (which is what my ex-wife once told me I look like with the backpack and the leggings and everything) in the coming weeks to get fit.  I won’t be fighting crime, but I’ll sure as heck be fitter and better for it.

Now’s THAT’s magic!

As an early (yet late) birthday (the event is in June, birthday is in May) treat for next year, I’ve just bought a ticket for Penn & Teller’s 2017 UK tour – specifically at the Hammersmith Apollo.  I’ve been a big fan of magic, and of P&T’s for donkey years, but have never seen them live (and this is from somebody who has been to Las Vegas 3 times and never been any of the shows there).

My name is.. Slartibartfast

Over the past 16 years I’ve travelled extensively – from cross-country USA to Bora Bora and New Zealand, and a lot more in-between!  I have seen much of the world – but there is much, much more to see.  My last big adventure was in 2015 when I visited a friend in Seattle and we drove up to Vancouver, then down to the Oregon coast.

Back in 2012 I was introduced to the world of cruising.  We ventured on the Azamara Journey from Italy through to Portugal, and it was a wonderful experience (except the time I drank a little too much red wine during rough seas around Nice, but I’ve learnt my lesson and won’t be doing that again).

As I’m still single (all offers gratefully received – hehe), holidaying is a rather odd affair. Dining alone consists of a table for one while I’m checking the smartphone for new Twitter or some other social networks’ updates.  So the past few years proceeding the divorce hasn’t seen much in the way of a good holiday abroad  (the USA-Canada trip being the one exception).

So I’ve been looking at cruises over the past few months.  Based on my previous experience, dining is definitely not a solitary affair for a singleton like me.  Even as a couple you are sat at a table with other diners (often a mix of couples, families and singles) and you get to meet other people.  Where else could you meet one of Jim Henson’s neighbours (when he was growing up), an ex-New York circuit judge, an ex-representative for a major US telecoms company who personally looked after Apple’s account in its earlier days? A cruise, that’s where.

I decided that as I’ve always wanted to visit Norway (hence the HHGTTG reference) and Iceland, I’d take a two-week cruise from Southampton to Norway, then to Iceland, then Dublin, and finally back to Southampton.  There’s no flying, and getting to Southampton is mere triviality from where I am.  I’ve already put down the deposit, and to say I’m excited about it is an understatement.  And even more so, I’m going to buy myself a decent tux (how I miss thee – the last time I wore one was at the world premiere of Peter Jackson’s King Kong back in 2005).  And as the trip is a way off, I’m going to get myself in shape too.  It’s given me a goal to work towards.  This cruise is adults only, and a medium size ship – so hopefully it’ll be fairly quiet!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy my Viking helmet..