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TECHNOLOGY App-reciation society


Mobile apps and technology platforms focused on improving wellbeing are set to dramatically improve people’s health and lifestyles around the world. Jay Williams explains how spas can get in on the act and outlines some of the leading devices in the market


A


lthough global healthcare is in an overall state of crisis, there’s much to be positive about. Eighty-six per cent of people


believe they have the power to change their own level of wellness, according to the 2012 Truth About Wellness report by ad agency McCann, while 73 per cent feel positive about their overall health and the average person now believes they will live to be 79 (in China this rises to 84). This optimism is being fuelled by a health technology revolution, which is itself being driven by escalating levels of poor lifestyle-related diseases worldwide. Technology may be the answer to some of the everyday barriers that keep us from achieving better health. The 2012 Rock Report on Fitness Technol-


ogy, by tech firm Rock Health, says: “half of consumers say they would buy mobile health technology”. Their reasons included the ability to monitor fitness and wellbe- ing and to allow a healthcare professional to remotely monitor their condition. The new mantra of health technology is that ‘you can’t improve what you can’t measure’ and today’s consumers are infatuated with monitoring their personal statistics. For years, insurance companies, telecom- munication firms and retailers have been utilising platforms and apps to engage their


130 spa business handbook 2013


clients. And the health and fitness indus- try is a prime example of how things have taken off – according to Wireless Health and Fitness, a 2011 report by ABI Research, the market for sports and fitness apps will gross US$400m (€311m, £263m) in 2016. The rise of apps for connected wearable fit- ness devices will be a primary factor in the industry’s growth with ABI predicting 80


Health technology is a market that’s perfectly


matched to spas, especially in terms of corporate


wellness programmes and guest connectivity


million such sensors by 2016. Elsewhere, a blog on MobiHealthNews in 2012 estimates that 80 per cent of people who exercise at least once a week and own a smartphone would pay US$140 (€109, £92) for a com- bined sensor and software programme. Bearing in mind how things have esca- lated in the fitness arena, health technology is clearly a market that is also perfectly


matched to the spa industry – especially when it comes to the potential of offering wellness programmes to large corporations. Even more exciting is that as the technology becomes more sophisticated, the industry will become even more important in terms of connectivity to spa clients. But what challenges or barriers might the spa industry face and what are the solu- tions? And what monitoring devices and apps would be most appropriate?


CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS In the McCann survey, 7,000 people reported on the top three barriers to wellbeing, which are outlined below, along with some ideas of how spas might tackle such obstacles: Barrier one: Economics Spa solution: Provide an affordable online take home spa solution, such as an easy to follow yoga guide, that seamlessly inte- grates your brand into the client’s everyday wellness efforts until their next visit Barrier two: Time Spa solution: Create a spa-branded app that integrates on-the-go lifestyle choices that fit into a busy schedule – ie daily mes- sage reminders to breathe, drink more fluids, or walk when possible Barrier three: Willpower Spa solution: Focus on mobile solutions


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