Archive for the ‘Modern Wellbeing’ Category


Tech Startups Build Tools for Wellbeing

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A new market has emerged. Technology has intersected with our wellness – to aid in monitoring, promoting, augmenting and managing our well-being. These low-cost technologies are transforming the field, making tools for managing wellness accessible to anyone who wants to adopt them. This stands in stark contrast to the way the current, traditional health industry approaches health and wellness, by requiring traditional practitioners, insurance, and a wide range of costs.

Users are turning to technology to supplement their diet, to develop their mind, aid their fitness, their sleep, and their reproductive health, improve the design of their environment and much more. Using these new tools, they’re not approaching wellness in a vacuum – the offerings typically involve supportive digital communities that help people share information, access other online and real-world communities, and grow and share the experience as a collective.

Throughout my career as an industry analyst, I’ve identified power shifts resulting from technology and helped to explain what they’ve meant to the world. I did this with the social media industry over a decade ago and the sharing /collaborative economy 5 years ago. Now I see a similar pattern yet again. In each of these phases, consumer-grade technology empowered people to get what they needed for things that formerly would have required them to rely on traditional institutions.

Above Funding Chart based on research by Kaleido Insights.

The graphic identifies the large number of emerging technology companies that are reshaping our minds, bodies, communities and the physical spaces around us. After reviewing about five hundred startups, we distilled them down to this list of about 100 companies based upon the following criteria: market traction, amoung of funding or crowdfunding, media mentions, market presence and quality of vision.

I admit that these startups are mostly from the Western world. However, there are also a vast number of technologies emerging in Asia and (soon-to-be) Africa that aren’t yet fully represented.

Investment in this space is heating up, with companies having received over $2B in current funding. Acquisitions are already popping up – Under Armour acquired diet management app MyFitnessPal and Apple acquired sleep-monitoring device Beddit. Just last month, the meditation-focused app company Calm raised an additional $88M, for a total of $116M, cementing themselves as a prominent unicorn in this market, valued at over $1B.

Above image, Registered Nursing.org

THE NEED:
Rising healthcare costs are a major issue. A significant number of people who are aging or have health woes cannot afford to see medical professionals on a frequent basis. These emerging startups provide an avenue to help them take control of their lives in a more affordable way. These technologies give users assistance in achieving overall wellness and help them take proactive measures for a healthy lifestyle.

THE NEED:
Rising healthcare costs are a major issue. A significant number of people who are aging or have health woes cannot afford to see medical professionals on a frequent basis. These emerging startups provide an avenue to help them take control of their lives in a more affordable way. These technologies give users assistance in achieving overall wellness and help them take proactive measures for a healthy lifestyle.

UPSIDES AND OPPORTUNITY:
People will be able to improve their physical, mental and spiritual well-being at a low cost. We expect soon to see personalized digital therapists, dietitians and doctors.

DOWNSIDES:
Who controls the data? It’s not clear. Where will that data be used? Could a startup be acquired by an insurance company, pharmaceutical company, of sold to foreign actors? Risks around the control of personal health data is an important potential drawback to consider as this industry grows. Will a future artificial intelligence have enough information to predict your health journey or even your death, based on historical data correlated with millions of others? Will humans become addicted to these technologies as we have become to social networks? Will future dating websites, for example, emerge that match healthy people with healthy people, making the dystopian visions of the movie Gattica becomes into reality?

THE FUTURE:
We expect to see a lot of growth especially in the Community category and around AI, creating digital virtual assistants for wellness and the like. And when a recession hits, this market will boom. In a period of stress, people will be struggling to find their mental balance, health and fitness but won’t have the funds to support traditional methods. As the anticipated recession engulfs the globe, expect people who have lost employer-provided healthcare to turn to lower-cost or freemium versions of wellness solutions.

Modern wellness is here. Expect a cultural shift in how we manage our wellbeing – our minds and bodies. To support this shift, more and more startups will continue to appear. We’re in for a ride – expect to become a better person by the end of it. And yes, we can’t overlook the irony that we’re turning to technology to find peace of mind.

This post first appeared on the Technomy website.

Many Industries are Impacted by Modern Wellbeing

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I, along with my colleagues at Kaleido Insights, have started a new research stream (a series of publications) in the area of Modern Wellbeing. Technology is impacting yet another massive movement which will cause significant ripples across society, economies, and business models.

Over a decade agoI was analyzing how social technology democratized information, forever changing communications, media, marketing, and even governments. About five years ago, I dove in deep on the Collaborative/Sharing Economy, where yet again, technology empowered humans to take commerce into their own handsThey could get what they needed from peers. Both of these trends continue to also have impact to the economy, society, human interactions and beyond.

Now I see yet another movement – the Modern Wellbeing market, which enables humans to take healthcare, mental care, physical care, directly into their own hands. They are (for better or for worse) self-analyzing their bodies and minds with consumer technologies and relying on each other, and emerging AI systems to self-prescribe ways to help them be healthier, improve their mood, and beyond. We’ve interviewed over 50 startups and larger organizations in this space and see this market shaping up, all across the globe.

Interestingly, a number of industries are starting to take notice. Not just the typical ones you’d expect like healthcare, insurance, and pharma, but also some unlikely ones like:

  • Airlines are integrating mindfulness apps into entertainment units, and pre-boarding experience,
  • Auto companies are preparing for autonomous rides, with the ability to shape a mood, or be productive,
  • Hotels are offering “Welltality” services to help customers calm, relax, or generate energy for the day,
  • Home developers are building smarter homes with soothing lights, air, and more, controlled via AI,
  • Offices are adhering to “Well” industry standards to improve employee wellness in environment and collaboration,
  • HR departments are offering solutions beyond a gym/medical access –  they’re offering mindfulness and productivity programs,
  • Enterprise software companies, are considering how to integrate focus and mindfulness features into productivity tools,
  • Consumer packaged goods and retailers want to impact how consumers feel and change their lives,
  • Luxury brands are climbing up Maslow’s pyramid to unlock their brand promise beyond peer acceptance and esteem,
  • Media companies, gaming, and even social networking companies realize their impact on societal well being,

You’ll see continued written insights from me on this blog about this newest trend that impacts all humans, and society as a whole, as well as on Twitter where I’ll share more up to date market findings. If you have a suggestion of where I should look, please send me a note at jeremiah@ kaleidoinsights.com

The below infographic, which we’ve shared prior, is a great overview of how technology (AI, mixed reality, big data, social, IoT, blockchain and beyond) is and will impact our minds, bodies, communities and physical spaces around us.

Infographic: Modern Wellbeing

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Technology is creeping into every aspect of our lives. Now, it’s starting to impact our fitness, mindfulness, how we interact with others, and the physical design of spaces around us. I’ve been very passionate about fitness for the last few years, and am active in CrossFit, Spartan events and more, as a result, I’ve used many a technologies from hardware devices to software apps to track my performance.

We’ve been researching this Modern Wellbeing (modern meaning, technology) for several months, and have helped a few clients on their innovation work in this arena. To best articulate the many changes we see in this market, we put together this visual diagram which illustrates how technology is integrating into our lives.

The hi-res infographic is below, I encourage you to widely share it, pass it on to others, and even print it out as you go on a journey integrating technology with your life. If you want to learn more about our research on this topic, you could register on the Kaleido website.