The future of betterment

The standing desk, the 5:2 diet, mindfulness, self-tracking, paleo meal plans… There’s a constant stream of new apps, connected devices, meditation guides etc. identified the following six trends shaping the evolution of health & wellness in 2016:

1. Ambient wellness

Customers are expecting companies to embed innovative health-boosting technologies into the environment around them.

Fewer than 3% of Americans meet the basic criteria for a healthy lifestyle, which include regular exercise and not smoking. (Mayo Clinic, March 2016)

Philipps’ lamps in EnergyUp cafes boost energy levels by mimicking natural daylight.

Headspace created Meditation Pods which can be placed in outside areas. Great for meditation!

How can we offer something entirely health-positive?

2. Calibrated health

Vita Mojo is a salad restaurant built around the idea of personalized food. Using in-store iPads, diners at Vita Mojo can choose the ingredients of their salad, and then use sliding bars to specify how many grams of each ingredient they want. Dynamic charts automatically show how this affects the meal’s nutritional content, and the price.

Design My Day is an app and website designed to help those feeling low, unmotivated or uninspired to schedule their day. The platform provides access to thousands of crowdsourced and peer reviewed ideas for meaningful activities based on how a user is feeling. Users can choose from the ideas to design a personalized daily schedule intended to promote mental wellbeing.

BASE are customized trainer insoles. Customers use the Wiivv app to take five pictures of their feet; Wiivv then use the images to design insoles that perfectly fit the contours of each foot. The insoles are 3D-printed using SLS technology, and covered in a layer of cushioning and silicon treads.

3. Virtual actualization

In 2016, virtual reality finally becomes real for millions of consumers thanks to the first generation of in-home devices: the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and more.

Can VR help us also with physical fitness, emotional wellbeing, cognitive performance and personal growth?

Consumer spending on VR will increase from USD 108 million in 2014 to USD 22 billion in 2020. (TRACTICA, July 2015)

VirZoom is a stationary exercise bike that connects with virtual reality platforms to make working out more immersive and fun. Users can plug in virtual reality devices (such as the Oculus Rift) and then select a game to play while they exercise, including horse-riding or auto-racing.

As a part of Samsung’s Be Fearless campaign, Gear VR was used by 27 people use VR to overcome their fear of heights or public speaking. Participants underwent a four-week VR training course intended to help them confront their fear and find ways to overcome it. Those afraid of public speaking, for example, faced a series of VR environments in which they were asked to speak, starting with a small crowd and building up to a large audience.

Cerevrum is the world’s first VR brain training game. Set in a world of powerful gods, players challenge their brains with games that target cognitive abilities including memory, focus and speed of perception.

VR tsunami simulator comprises of three immersive videos that depict a tsunami similar to the one suffered by Japan in 2011. Viewers are taken through various realistic and challenging survival scenarios, in order to help prepare them for such an event.

4. Impact indicators

Instant and useful real-time feedback on health and wellness impacts.

At TrendWatching they see rising expectations of real-time, actionable and informative feedback on the health and wellness impacts of daily behaviors, from sunbathing to hitting the gym.

The Nivea Doll was made from UV-sensitive material that, when exposed to sunlight, turns red indicating the harmful effects of the sun. The application of sunscreen counteracts the ‘sunburnt’ effect, highlighting the importance of wearing sunblock.

Lightweight UV patch La Roche-Posay monitors sun exposure. It’s a transparent adhesive patch that can be applied to the skin to monitor UV rays.

Toothbrush Oral-B GENIUS uses location-tracking technology to provide real-time feedback. The app then generates a map that shows users which zones in their mouth need more attention.

Progress lets users track track their weight loss or fitness progress by taking daily selfies that are perfectly aligned. After 15 days, the app allows users to create a time-lapse video of their changing body shape. Data from the app will also sync to Apple HealthKit.

SmartSpot is a smart mirror designed to help people improve their workout sessions at the gym. The US-developed mirror uses 3D cameras to capture a 3D portrait of the bodies of gym-goers while they perform bicep curls, squats, lunges, and other exercises. It then provides them with real-time reporting on their form, displayed on the large floor-standing mirror-like screen, and can also log videos of their workouts that can be later viewed and analyzed by personal trainers.

5. Distributed diagnosis

70% of people say they’d rather have a virtual consultation than an office visit to obtain a doctor’s prescription. (American Well Telehealth Consumer Survey 2015)

hearZA app allows users to self-administer a hearing test using any iOS or Android smartphone. The app tests for hearing perception of speech amid background noise. If a user receives below normal results, the app prompts them to book an appointment with a hearing specialist.

Yili replaced ordinary straps on Beijing buses for health monitoring systems so that when passengers gripped the strap, the device measured their heart rate, body mass index and balance. The strap also synced with cellphones, giving people free real-time health information during their daily commute.

6. Post-demographic betterment

The 2016 Yoga in America Study by Yoga Journal found that new uptake of yoga in the US is fastest among men. Moon & Son started offering stylish apparel for men who practice hot yoga.

Public Dance Classics is an app inspired by public square dancing: an activity that’s become a national phenomenon in China. The free app enables anyone to learn the most popular dances, which are performed regularly by groups of older ladies in public squares. Why? Because health behaviors spread across demographic boundaries more easily than ever. And older people create health crazes that younger people want to copy!

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona unveiled two luxury programs for people running in the March 2016 Barcelona Marathon. The hotel’s Marathon Package includes three night’s accommodation, personalized coaching, a running t-shirt, and two spa treatments; Get Ready offers a five-day training plan designed in collaboration with a local sports medicine clinic.

Read The Future Of Betterment for additional info.

Written on October 12, 2016