In today’s world, healthy living has become a popular trend. Consumers are placing more value on being healthy than on materialistic things. Indeed, the very definition of health and wellness has evolved from merely a lack of illness and disease to a more holistic state of being, where one’s physical, emotional and mental health are in sync. Today, while there is an active market for products and services that reflect this philosophy, the overall health and wellness industry is experiencing a welcome boom!
Health and wellness industry’s growth has been strong globally over the past two decades. Vendors are intelligently combining their offerings with cutting-edge technology that adds value and creates remarkable user experiences that previously did not exist. This segment is flourishing thanks to discretionary health spending, consumer demand, and global technology platforms.
The approach is two pronged- the transformation of apparel, smartphones, and applications into health and wellness tools. Also, the global effort to combat obesity by eating better. These two factors are the primary enablers in the health and wellness market. Also, the intuitive agreement amongst many that diet, pharmaceuticals, and exercise are the core requirements for healthy living is also helping the cause.
With its combined focus on fitness and environmental sustainability, the health and wellness industry encompasses a wide range of key players. These include some of the largest companies in the fast-moving consumer goods, consumer healthcare, biopharmaceuticals, and medical device sectors.
Wearable devices: Personalization of health and wellness
With the significant growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable technology is more relevant than ever. Wearables such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, GPS-enabled gadgets, and heart-rate monitors continue to see substantial growth year-on-year. In fact, the lines between wearables, IoT, and healthy living are already beginning to blur thanks to technology that’s currently under development.
A key driver alluding to the consistent use of wearables has been the access to higher levels of data that can help form informed health decisions. Additionally, medical professionals and brands have a new medium for connecting with end-users. Although the wearable boom appears to be most pronounced in North America, demand for wearables that support health and wellness is also high in Europe and China.
Wearables are one of the best examples of verticals that aren’t traditionally classified as healthcare, diversifying into the health and wellness fold. Companies like Nike, Google, and Samsung- with backgrounds in electronics, telecommunications, and technology- are entering the health industry to meet the demands of the connected consumer.
IoT in action: Virtual health and wellness assistants
To nobody’s surprise, the health and wellness industry is poised to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds of the future. Consider an loT connected smart home that acts not only as a real-time health monitor but can also interact with the inhabitants in ways that promote health and e-commerce. Also, intelligent furniture that connects with IoT to identify health-related issues and invites healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose and prescribe remedies is not a pipe-dream anymore!
Thanks to advances in virtual reality, machine learning, augmented reality, natural language processing, and other technologies that can detect emotions and interpret personal health data in real time, it has become possible to create technological products that play a pivotal role in wellness. In fact, some wonder if virtual assistants will one day be capable of detecting depression- a painfully difficult condition to diagnose with the current methodologies.