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How innovation is creating new wellness sub-categories – part 1

Innovation continues to play a huge role in both the success of individual companies and the growth of major wellness categories more generally.

You may have already spotted, especially when getting to know some of the brands and people operating within the wellness industry, innovation has, and continues to play, a huge role in both the success of individual companies and the growth of major wellness categories more generally.

Through redesigning processes or experiences, pioneering new technology or rewriting existing narratives to better suit the needs and values of the modern consumer, innovation has transformed the way we approach wellness. Some of the innovation you see today will direct and dominate our lives for years to come.

In fact, without the innovative thinking of businesses and individuals who’ve dared to challenge the status quo and ask “what if”, the wellness sub-categories we explored in the previous step wouldn’t exist.

To better understand the role of innovation within the wellness industry, let’s take a closer look at technology, in particular, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), and explore how its utilisation has helped to establish connected fitness equipment as a wellness sub-category in its own right.

As we’ve previously highlighted, connected fitness equipment has grown in prominence over the past few years, with the likes of indoor cycling phenomenon, Peloton, helping to pioneer a new approach to working out.

Alongside Peloton, a raft of other disruptors have also begun to penetrate consumer consciousness –– propelling connected fitness equipment further into the mainstream and bolstering its credibility as a stand-alone sector. They all share one thing in common.

By utilising A.I. in new and innovative ways, brands such as Tonal, Tempo, Forme Life and JAX JOX are providing users with at-home fitness experiences and expertise that more closely mirror in-studio offerings. Find out more about these companies in the See Also section.

Let’s take a look at how.

Tonal

The culmination of more than five years of product development and innovation, Tonal’s all-in-one strength training machine combines revolutionary equipment, leveraging digital weight with the most advanced A.I. software available.

Unlike other products that rely on traditional dumbbells and barbells, Tonal uses adaptive resistance technology that learns from the user for a more personalised and more effective full-body workout.

After an initial strength assessment, the device figures out how much weight a user can lift then sets the perfect weights for where they are right now. Its 17 sensors guide form and technique as the user works out –– detecting signs of struggle or fatigue and automatically decreasing or increasing weight when needed.

By leveraging A.I., the device can dynamically adjust the weights for each exercise in real-time, to provide a more effective workout.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

According to founder, Aly Orady, Tonal takes anonymised data and uses that to train its A.I. and teach it how to make smarter decisions about how people should lift weights, how much weight they should lift, and when they should increase that weight.

Tempo

Tempo, a similar connected fitness machine, has Microsoft’s Azure Kinect built into its device –– a machine that employs the use of A.I. sensors for computer vision and speech models. This means it can track users’ form in real-time, during each exercise, and provide corrections on form and technique.

By scanning users’ movements as they work out, its machine learning can also be used to prepare bespoke workouts based on individual progress. This, the company argues, delivers the intelligence and guidance of an in-person coach, whilst catering to consumer behaviours and values, which continue to shift towards the digital, at-home space.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

“Tempo is building technology to bridge the gap between you and the trainer, build that core relationship, and deliver the same hands-on guidance and motivation you’d expect from an in-person experience,” co-founder Moawia Eldeeb told Venture Beat [2].

Ultimately, as with Tonal and the other brands mentioned, the sweet spot exists in utilising A.I. to enable consumers to ‘go it alone’ with confidence –– making at-home fitness safer, smarter, and more streamlined.

What do you think?

Can you spot any other wellness sub-categories that have emerged alongside the use of A.I.? How is A.I. being used to create new products and services within this sub-category? How do you think the use of A.I. could impact the future of this sub-category?

Use the Comments section to discuss anywhere else A.I. could be used to innovate existing wellness categories, and how.

References

[1] Tempo’s $1,995 Fitness Tracker Taps AI to Improve your Workout Routine

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