Member Blog: Sinead Daly, ukactive
Sinead Daly, ukactive, introduces ActiveLab: the global launchpad for innovation in physical activity!
How can the tech revolution be turned on its head to get us moving again?
We are now more focused than ever on having the right balance in our lives and taking care of our overall wellbeing. Yet, physical inactivity is the world’s fourth biggest killer, with 1 in 6 dying prematurely - through doing absolutely nothing. Can technology solve this global epidemic?
While having some measured success among early adopters, technology has struggled to convert the masses to get active. In fact, when relating to fitness, technology is seen as a toxic influence that has our children glued to their screens and their parents tapping away at takeaway apps from the comfort of their sofas.
At ukactive, however, we perceive technology as an exciting and tangible way to turn the tables and get more people, more active, more often. Nonetheless, technology on its own is not the solution. It can help increase accessibility to physical activity and enable changes in habits to motivate people to get active, but only if we think creatively about how to use it.
There’s no doubt that fitness technology needs to shift to deliver a customer-centric, personalised service, enabling quick feedback loops and direct customer engagement. Long story short, it needs to respond to the on-demand world we now live in. ‘Fit-Tech’ has an opportunity to drive accessibility, transforming habits of a lifetime.
ukactive - fostering a climate for FitTech to thrive
We’ve launched ActiveLab. The global launchpad for innovation in physical activity. Our aim is to identify and accelerate the growth of cutting-edge products and services that will get people active.
In its pilot year, ActiveLab took on 12 innovators, set to transform the way people get active. Entrants included everything from customer engagement apps to active chairs, aggregators through to physical development trackers. Everyone on the programme has incredible potential to grow rapidly and make huge impacts, because they are all solving niche problems that provide a barrier to physical activity, drawing on with incredible levels of product innovation and refinement. The ActiveLab programme culminated with imoves, a digital solution to upscale teachers to deliver physical activity as part of the curriculum, crowned as winner. imoves received an acceleration prize of over £25,000 of ongoing support from ActiveLab partners to help drive forward their business and allow them to serve as a flagship for the sector.
A perhaps unexpected by-product of the ActiveLab programme was the camaraderie and community engagement amongst the cohort. Learning together and experiencing the same growing pains, fears and challenges is something truly bonding. That's why we're deepening our cohort engagement for year 2, with more regular contact points than before.
Aside for these 12 fantastic start-ups, it’s clear the sector is brimming with a huge wealth of talent and innovation. ActiveLab initially attracted over 60 full applications, all with incredible ideas. Unfortunately, we can’t create a one size fits all solution, but we can still create opportunities for these start-ups. That’s why we are developing our Innovation Network - a series of thought leadership and network events to further support this wider community. We'll be bringing together not only start-ups, but innovators, investors and leaders from the worlds of fitness, health, tech and business.
The term ‘Fit-Tech’ is in its infancy, as is the support and understanding for start-ups looking to break into the world of physical activity, health and fitness. Within the sector, we can begin to see the efforts of programmes run by ukactive, London Sport, the ODI and Sport England, coming together. It’s clear that the door for new ideas and enthusiastic entrepreneurs is finally open – it’s truly exciting to see the next big physical activity burst through that door.
In autumn 2017, ActiveLab will once again open for applications, looking for digital start-ups with solutions to get people active. More specifically, we’ll be looking for those with cutting-edge products and services within the following categories; children and families, chronic disease and disabilities, active ageing, workplace wellness, customer experience and reimagining health, fitness and leisure facilities. We believe these categories together form the golden thread that will spark habitual change and solve some of societies biggest issues - themes that we will also discuss at ukactive’s upcoming National Summit.
If you’d like to support the growth of the sector’s hottest start-ups and innovators, engage with our innovation network or apply for next year contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how.
ActiveLab 2017 Alumni
An online platform, developed for teachers, fitness professionals and sports coaches to deliver truly personalised lifestyle, fitness and athletic programmes.
Connected Fitness Labs
A fit-tech company which helps consumers see, feel and understand progress in their fitness plan, driving confidence that resonates throughout everyday life.
Help’s people find that perfect partner to share any activity, anytime, anywhere, in person. It matches individuals with others who want to do the same activity, at the same time, in the same place.
A new tool to make the most of your gym space, ensuring the capacity of the equipment matches customer demand.
A free, fully-automated, medically-endorsed and evidence-based app which produces a personalised 12-week exercise prescription plan for you, based on their personal health profile.
An innovative and dynamic new health assessment and solution for communities, groups and organisations.
A unique sports marketplace to connect individuals with local sports facilities or activity providers, allowing consumers to easily find and book the facilities suited to them.
Strength training is the second most popular form of exercise - right behind walking. Shapelog aims to offer consumers a better strength training experience through tracking technology.
Aims to encourage wellbeing and fitness for over 45s – promoting happier, healthier ageing through local activity classes and events for all abilities.
Leading the battle against sedentary office lifestyles, providing a simple method of getting workforces to be more active, by encouraging greater use of the stairs.
The VRGo chair started out life as a virtual reality chair aimed at the gaming community and has quickly evolved as its potential for inspiring movement has become clearer.