“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”
And mellow is a sentiment that probably describes the nation well at the moment – as we have sat on our sofas and, in record numbers, tuned in to the fantastic Olympic and Paralympic coverage.
And as we tuned in from couches and pubs across the land, the distance between track and couch has been getting shorter.
Over the last few years there has been a great increase in the number of “fitness apps” programmes on smartphones, which have sought to help us reach our fitness goals. Early on Nike recognised this opportunity launching Nike+: a chip which slotted into a pair of Nike+ trainers visualising how far you ran, at what pace and how many calories were burned.
In 2012, Nike+ built on that concept, turning it into so much more – Nike+ fuelband, which promises to “Make life into a sport – turning every day into a game”. With the Nike+ fuelband and mobile app you can also tap into the Nike+ community, made up of friends and strangers who help inspire each other, share tips and even recommend good running songs! And, at a price of £1.49, Nike+ has frequently ranked number 1 in the paid health apps in the USA and elsewhere.
Mobile health (mHealth) is a sector that will continue to grow through 2012 and 2013, for two key reasons:
- Organisations can harness the “always on” power of the smartphone to help overcome the area of compliance – a key issue for healthcare providers and workers in ensuring patients take medication, keep appointments and adhere to prescribed regimens
- The growing obesity epidemic, for example: it is estimated that two thirds of the US population is now overweight, and obesitiy is a increasing problem in many other countries around the world too
One of the key challenges for mHealth will be how to make these kinds of apps, that seek to modify behaviour or encourage compliance, ‘sticky’. With Hubspot reporting that 1 in 4 apps, once downloaded, is never used again, making apps ‘sticky’ is a key challenge faced by many brands and app developers.
As for me, I am a big fan of the 5k runner app… and often it’s the detail that matters – it’s that mellow male voice telling me to “start running” that keeps me coming back for more.
Louise Brice, Research Director, Ipsos ASI.