A Guest Post by Georgie Drury – CEO & Founder at Springday
Every day, people ask me what Springday does. They’re interested when I tell them we’re in the wellbeing business because, hey, who isn’t interested in wellbeing? But when I say ‘Springday is a wellbeing platform’, I can see their eyes glaze over. To some, I might as well be speaking an alien language.
So today I’d like to explain platforms, what they are, why they’re important and how Springday’s own platform works.
Platforms, simply, are connection engines. They bring together groups of users or customers and groups of providers and in this way, they’re nothing new.
A marketplace is a platform and so is a shopping mall because both collect a group of retailers together in one place and make it easier for customers to do business.
But technology, which moves connection out of the physical world and into the cloud, takes platforms to a whole new level. Uber, for example, is a platform, a technology-based engine which connects drivers and passengers. Airbnb is a platform. So is iTunes…you get the picture. All these firms connect users to a multitude of third party services.
Platforms allow users to access information from a single space. Take Spotify: instead of making you trawl the net for songs you like – or worse, downloading several apps from several record labels – Spotify puts a collection of songs in one spot. This becomes important when you think of how vast the web is, how infinite its content. A platform used this way brings you the best providers in a certain area and helps you personalise your choice without fighting your way through a maze to get there.
On the provider side, Springday collates events, products, programs and expert advice on all areas of wellbeing. We might develop these ourselves, or our clients might, or we might source them from vetted third parties.
Our users don’t see our platform, of course. What they see is a beautiful and flexible interface and companion app with a group of services and initiatives (e.g. resilience modules, activity challenges, ability to book flu vacs and health checks). They access the services they want from any device, anywhere, any time, which reduces the need for users to download 10 apps to do 10 things. They just need the single Springday app because it enables them to do all 10 things.
We need to remember that mobile continues to be king, with forecasters predicting that by 2022, 6.2 billion people will use smartphones.
This will reshape our relationship with all our mobile devices. Mobile and smartphone technology will drive, and is already driving, the so-called ‘fourth revolution’, which uses new technologies to fuse physical, digital and biological worlds, and which impacts all disciplines.
Underpinning Springday’s mobile technology’s capacity is AI – artificial intelligence – combined with growing amounts of data and ubiquitous networks.
But it is one thing to have the technology infrastructure, but in essence, it comes down to content. Reed Hastings, Founder and CEO of Netflix, discussed the status of content in the midst of a period of disruption and change. According to him, content is one of the primary assets of consumer engagement and loyalty in the digital economy, and content-based acquisitions abound.
Netflix, is synonymous with this new model of production, delivery and personalised engagement. The problem here is that mobiles are small – there’s not a lot of real estate on our phones – and, according to the head of apps for Google UK, on average we only use 26 of all the apps we download.
This means that only the best apps will ‘win’, and that apps will continue to aggregate on platforms, each platform holding a constellation of related apps, as Springday’s platform does.
Mobile technology and wellbeing
So what does this mean for us in wellbeing?
First, our devices will increasingly gather and interpret data in clever ways. At the simplest level, my wearable tech won’t demand I reach 10,000 steps every day. It will suggest 8,500 steps instead because it will automatically factor in Pilates, which isn’t counted in steps.
But imagine this: a mobile device, for example our Garmin, which analyses data – say heart rate variability – and tells us what we should or shouldn’t be doing about stress levels. It might advise us to smash ourselves at the gym but it might instead offer us a mindfulness exercise in real time or give us diaries smart enough to connect a five-minute meditation to the break we have between meetings.
Or else our devices could use our data and actions to initiate preventative health interventions. Our diary and device will work together to notice our steps are down to 2,000 a day, we’ve been sleeping poorly, and we haven’t factored in any ‘me’ time this week.
This might lead to someone we love calling us to ask, ‘RUOK?’ On the other hand, our health fund or health professional could notice some more concerning data, and help us catch a medical problem before it gets serious.
Yes, this raises privacy issues. We can’t ignore those and they have still to be worked through. However, the benefits of mobile technology will save thousands of lives and change our ways immeasurably for the better.
Sharing the future
So here’s my big takeaway from the information revolution: as focus shifts from technology delivering information to how that information is used, and to the people who create information, a new relationship is being formed between information and the people it services. Rather than fragmenting the world, mobile technology, like social media, helps to bring people together.
Technology today is not just about messaging. It’s about socializing, sharing and building communities. That’s a huge positive in our difficult, divided world. This is a future to celebrate and one I look forward to discovering with you.