You can’t help to noticed that Apple have recently announced the launch of the brand new Apple Watch Series 4, which claims to “help users stay connected, be more active and manage their health in powerful new ways,” we ask the question; are we using tech efficiently and effectively to improve our health and wellbeing?
At Frog, we hold Health & Wellbeing in high regard and as one of the core values of our company; such that every decision we take is centred around the empowerment of our users and enabling them to lead long, safe, healthy and happy lives. But it is important to look at the sector as a whole and the various products and services which could be used more efficiently to improve the health and well being of citizens.
To begin, the launch of the Apple Watch Series 4 which has a vast array of new functions and features, heavily focused on fitness – from monitoring vital signs to providing valuable feedback and health data. This new piece of kit from Apple allows users to take an ECG reading direct from the wrist through a new app, making use of electrodes built into the digital crown, as well as a new electrical heart rate sensor in the back crystal. Other new features on the watch include the measurement and classification of heart rates, the specialised app is then able record any symptoms or irregularities in a pdf report which can be shared with physicians. It also makes use of internal hardware to detect falls, should the user fall by accident the watch will alert the user and give the option to contact emergency services depending on the severity of the incident.
As far as fitness is concerned, watch users can challenge one another to fitness tasks, with the aim of increasing motivation to stay active, accompanied by alerts, notifications and dedicated workout tracking for various activities. All in all, the new Apple Watch appears to cover all the bases in allowing its users to effectively improve their health and well being, on the surface at least.However, the pitfall of this exciting new technology is simple; the price. The base model will start at $399 (US), increasing to $499 for the cellular version. This eliminates a key feature of the product for many; accessibility.
For now, this will be viewed as a highly specialist, luxury product – reserved only for athletes, trainers, professionals and those with enough disposable income to comfortably afford it. The harsh reality is that this technology will be simply unavailable to many who could benefit from it and many who may prosper and thrive with the help of digital technology to better their health and well being. Despite the highly advanced technology of products suchlike the Apple Watch, it is clear that this is not the most effective or efficient way to empower citizens and wholly improve health and well being, nationally and globally.
There are emerging services which may become more prominent in the future, an example of such being The Cigna Wellbeing app which has recently launched in Europe, following success in North America and the Middle East. The app is designed and targeted at employees facing challenges living abroad – and provides features such as real-time health and wellness coaching as well as “round-the-clock video and telephone consultations with doctors, nurses and healthcare specialists.”
The app can also be used my employers to generate data reports tailored to their business – offering valuable insights into staff health and well being, engagement levels and behavioural data. The counter to this is, while the Cigna app is a useful tool and resource, it appears to be aimed at a niche segment of the population, thereby alienating a large volume of potential users who may require a similar framework, in their personal, work and community circles.
Here at Frog, we believe in the inclusiveness of all users and the establishment of a community-orientated framework which will provide users with a resource to empower and improve health and well being. In this day and age, technology is becoming more and more powerful, all-encompassing and far reaching; it is important to us at Frog that we use this power available to us to provide a one-of-a-kind service to our users.
Our platform makes efficient use of tech to group users geographically to signpost the resources, services and businesses in the local community which will improve the health and well being of users everyday lives. It is from this, I believe there is such a great untapped potential out there to use technology for good, to use technology to improve health and well being standards nationwide and most importantly to empower citizens and communities.