Ford, Microsoft in car wellness research
Dubai, January 25, 2012
Auto giant Ford said it has teamed up with Microsoft, Healthrageous and BlueMetal Architects for a research aimed at helping people monitor and maintain health and wellness while on the move.
The alliance was unveiled during the “Doctor in Your Car” keynote address at the Digital Health Summit at the International CES.
'People are spending more time in cars and with tremendous growth in mobile healthcare solutions, Ford is dedicated to understanding the value of being able to connect to health and wellness-related services while driving,” said Gary Strumolo, the manager of Infotainment, Interiors, Health and Wellness at Ford Research and Innovation.
“Our connectivity platform – Ford SYNC – provides easy, voice-controlled access to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and therefore it makes sense to research areas that are important to our customers,” he noted.
Customer research and societal trends suggest there’s a strong business case for Ford to explore opportunities in health and wellness technology, Strumolo said.
While chronic illnesses are on the rise, the number of healthcare providers has remained relatively flat, which effectively limits patient access. For this reason and others, people of all ages and from all income groups are taking a more hands-on approach to their own health and wellness.
More people now visit online health sites than go to the doctor’s office, making health and wellness the most popular activity on the Web after email and general searches. The reasons why are not hard to understand, he stated.
According to a study conducted by Pew Research, 93 per cent said they seek out online health information because it’s convenient – they want to get information on their own timetable, not the doctor’s.
Moreover, said Strumolo, the medical and healthcare was the third-fastest-growing category of smartphone apps last year, with more than 17,000 available for download.
And by 2015, some 500 million people are expected to be using mobile healthcare apps.
“Taken together, these trends point to a natural role for the automobile in the emerging digital health and wellness field,” he explained.
Strumolo said in all Ford seeks to develop “the car that cares.”
'As people spend more time in their cars, the ability to manage health and wellness on the go becomes more important,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service