Philip Ellis
ogilvy on wellness
Top Tech Trends in Health and Wellness

Wellness is currently reported as a $3.7 trillion market, globally speaking — but Ritesh Patel, Chief Digital Officer at WPP, believes it is actually closer to $8 trillion. “Our behaviour is changing,” he says. “Uber and Tinder have reshaped our culture and expectations… and having mobile at the centre of everything is changing healthcare.”

Wearable devices, patches and sensors are what spring to mind when considering the technological innovations driving health and wellness. In his keynote at Ogilvy On Wellness, Patel takes us on a whirlwind tour of the other areas where digital is disrupting healthcare.

There are platforms like MedShare and Figure 1, where clinicians can crowd-source diagnoses utilising specialist knowledge from a community of doctors. 3D printing, which enables the production of innovative new lightweight casts, skin layers which lay over wounds and transmit data, or even entire new vertebrae. Then there’s Google’s Project Baseline, which aims to collect and map vast volumes of health data in the name of disease prevention.

And, of course, there are start-ups implementing artificial intelligence to create virtual health assistants like “Aida,” capable of interacting with patients to gather symptom information.

When it comes to providing patients with new ways to interact, Patel believes voice recognition is the new paradigm. “The next billion mobile users will rely on voice,” he says. A massive shift in voice has already begun; by  2021, the number of customers worldwide using AI voice assistants will reach 1.83 billion. By 2018, it is estimated that 30 per cent of all interactions will be via voice.

Alexa, and other voice-activated virtual assistants represent a huge opportunity for brands looking to reach consumers in the wellness space, whether it be helping users track personal data from their wearables, providing nutritious recipes, calorie counters and food logging, home workouts and meditation regimes, monitoring allergies and pollen, or tracking sleep patterns.

When it comes to creating a good “skill” in voice, the criteria remain the same as when crafting any customer-facing product or service. It must solve a consumer problem, keep users engaged, prioritise usability, be relevant to the brand, and provide unique value. Because if increasingly ingrained habits like swiping left or right and hailing a cab using an app are reshaping our behaviour as consumers, just imagine the potential voice has to disrupt the way we interact with technology and each other.

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