Why does staying fit have to be so boring and tedious? With today’s obesity epidemic, physical fitness and a balanced lifestyle have become more necessary than ever — but not all of us are born athletes. In fact, most of us find it difficult to commit to the most basic health & fitness regimes — but not for long! Today’s inflow of mHealth apps and health-tech start-ups is disrupting the way we perceive and take control of our health. Proactive health is now trending, and several platforms are capitalizing on this to increase user engagement and to implement the concept of SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based) goals more efficiently.
We have been living in the digital age for quite some time now, surrounded by too many screens, too many apps, too many devices. Many have critiqued this digital age as a regression of humanity, as a step back in evolution and two steps forward in societal dysfunction. But we see it as an opportunity, as a chance to take all the screens, the apps, the devices and disrupt the market with gamified health. In fact, fitness-gaming has been an effective solution to health epidemics like obesity, especially amongst children: with an engaging storyline and cool graphics, it’s easy to get children and adults hooked to a game, and even easier to get them to become active, so long as the activity is tied to some sort of reward. After all, how else would they be able to unlock new characters, access new levels faster, or make expedited purchases on e-stores?
Playpal: A Classic Example of Gamified Health
Today, there are many companies that have penetrated the thriving health-tech industry, but not everyone has mastered the magic formula (i.e. 1) user-engagement, 2) gamification, 3) rewards-mechanisms, 4) data consolidation, and 5) smart analysis (AI)). While most companies have a disproportionate focus on fitness, or mental health, or nutrition/calories, there is one company that has cracked the code: Playpal Inc.
Playpal is a Smart Health Analyst on a mission to create an all-encompassing ecosystem of health by consolidating data from health IOT devices, apps, knowledge bases & stakeholders. Playpal processes all these inputs into its powerful AI engine against world’s health-centric knowledge bases, including nutrition, Family History, allergens & immunizations, & genomics. All of this information helps create a health profile tailored specifically for you. What really determines the impact of these recommendations is its rewards-based mechanism, which it has developed via its partnership with the HICO Wealth Foundation, the issuer of health crypto-tokens. Thanks to this collaboration, Playpal users can now earn health tokens for consistently adhering to its recommendations. The community leaderboard (where users can incentivize one another with health-challenges) is embedded within this rewards-mechanism, making the Playpal health-ecosystem whole. Through such gamification of health, Playpal aims to develop sustainable health-centric communities so that its immersive platform can have the intended impact of changing bad-habits on a larger scale.
Pitfall to Avoid
According to various research, gamified exercise can improve motivation and commitment to staying healthy and fit. But, with every pro comes a con and there is one noteworthy pitfall that all health-tech companies must avoid in the context of gamified health. Let’s assume that you enjoy playing a game a lot and are crazy about it. Now imagine your boss, or your parents, makes playing the game mandatory. Would it still be fun for you?
Till date, the only smartphone game that has been successful in getting people to move is Pokémon GO. Ironically, this game was not even designed to get people to become active. There was one very simple reason for its success — the entire focus was around the Pokemon Go community challenges, with no evident health motive behind it. The whole success recipe here is to make health a supplement to the game or app, not the crux of it!