Nintendo is the latest technology company with an eye for health care. The makers of Super Mario have introduced their QOL platform, which stands for Quality of Life, and includes an expanding line of health devices and sensors. Starting with Sleep, the company hopes their background in gaming will enable them to find success in the world of health care.
It will include a line of health-focused devices, but also a programming platform for people to write software, games, and add-on technology. The company hopes to use its abilities in game design to turn health and fitness into a new kind of entertainment, perhaps making it fun so that it happens more often.
Sleep has a massive impact on our health and well being, and by focusing on people’s sleep habits Nintendo hopes to get them open to further health devices and applications that will work with their QOL system.
The sensor itself sits beside the bed and uses radio frequency to monitor your movement, uploading that data to the cloud. Nintendo then analyzes that data to provide insights into your sleep conditions and fatigue status. A smart phone app displays the data for the users, as well as recommendations on how to improve your sleep habits and thus health overall.
Nintendo has a couple of advantages or opportunities when it comes to entering the healthcare sector. As a gaming company, they have been really good at reaching a broad audience. The Wii was a hit for entire families, and suggests they will be able to market and reach a similar broad audience when it comes to these healthcare and fitness products.
The key part being, that as a gaming company, they know how to incentivize and motivate people to do things. They know how to turn health care, fitness, and maybe even sleep, into a kind of game. Those design skills will be an interesting mesh with the notion of healthcare.
As a technology company they know how to make cheap and durable products, and as a brand they’ve got access to a certain culture of users who may see Nintendo as friendly and accessible.
There’s also something to be said about the growing value and power of data, and the value we place on our health, coupled with the motivation to lead healthier and happier lives.
Almost all of the major tech companies, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, etc., are in the early days of introducing significant and sophisticated health platforms that are designed to gather an incredible amount of data.
They all want to sell us more stuff, and use our insecurities about health to do so, and they want to gather the data around our health, and create a dependent relationship so that we continue to turn to them for the management of our health.
It has the potential to be incredibly lucrative, powerful, and who knows, maybe even beneficial to our own health.
On the one hand this is health technology that is bypassing the existing healthcare system as a whole, empowering the patient to see themselves as the steward of their own health data and health practices.
Further, while Electronic Health Records are part of our reality, they do not have the capacity to handle a ton of outside data, let alone allow the patient to be able to access that data and intermingle it with data from their own devices.
These tech companies move fast, and they have many consumers following their lead. While they are based in a for-profit healthcare system like the US, they will impact the global healthcare industry as they aggressively invade via the devices of consumers.