Observed

Also in our weeklong series:

Trying to Copy Dolly Parton, Apple’s Silicon Transition, and Ego Checks in Hollywood

Slow Movements, Intrinsic Grays, Commercial Real Estate, and Down With QR Codes

Fractions, Pop-Up Companies, VR, Privacy Concerns, and The Return of Mobile First

A health report on our wrist or finger

The Covid pandemic changed how we live, move, and interact with others. But it also made us more self-conscious about our health, specifically how and what we feel. Even before doing a Covid test, we all tried to have ways to get some insights to know if something was wrong and if we needed to go to the doctor. 

A lot of health tools appeared just before or during 2020, and they all had a huge success for different reasons. Oura, a smart ring, signed contracts with the first big leagues that started to play again after the first few months of the pandemic, the NBA and the MMA. All the NBA players had to wear an Oura Ring in the ‘NBA bubble’ to detect any abnormal heart rate data that could have been a Covid signal.

Whoop, a smart bracelet, signed individual contracts with big names, such as Patrick Mahomes and Rory McIlroy, and just raised $200M in their Series F round. They were here before the pandemic, but they got famous thanks to athletes who got Covid detected through the amazing analytics and insights displayed in the Whoop app, the bracelet companion. The new bracelet, called Whoop 4.0, got launched during an Apple-like keynote lead by the founder Will Ahmed, a Harvard graduate, with a Steve Jobs kind of energy. We just can’t imagine where they can go next.

Of course, some household names such as Garmin, Fitbit, or Apple all have their existing products, gathering tons of analytics, but they are not providing the insights necessary for the average Joe to be able to understand them and take action – for now.

I think 2022 will be the year these smart predictive tools will start interacting with other efforts from the health industry to predict diseases and assist doctors. Most hospital groups now have a digital platform such as ‘My Chart’, used by most hospitals and health care providers, and big tech has been trying to use AI for many years to run early cancer diagnoses and predict how your body will evolve.

If we manage to mix data gathering with AI and good reports, the health world as we know it could be completely rebuilt.
Julien Morin, Client Services Director

Destination sites will make a comeback

Back in the not-too-distant past, the internet was a playground full of one-off destination sites. They ranged from the episodically-rich Homestar Runner to the very simple, slightly annoying, but very fun, Hamster Dance. I’m sure many of you also remember these places. 

But as time passed and the market and large corporations centralized and co-opted experiences on the internet, these creative spaces have been pushed to the margins. With the impending decentralization of the internet and the shift back to peer-to-peer communication and transaction, creators will have the space to manifest these wonderfully weird experiences again.  

Retro Destination Sites

Recommended Destination Sites

Christie P., Experience Designer

Bleisure 2.0

Bleisure: horrible word, real concept. 2021 ushered in a new era of combined business and leisure travel, and next year bleisure will cement itself as part of the tech sector. Remote is already heavily touted by smaller tech companies and agencies as a recruiting incentive. So, more digital nomads. More two-week, two-month excursions where work and adventure mix. More all-remote companies staging in-person, all-hands meetings a few times a year.

That much we know. But the real deal is how business and technology will cater to that emergent demand for destinations with superb wifi and dedicated workspace steps away from a pool or beach or mountains or museums or slot machines. 

The ripple effects will go everywhere: new digital platforms, new purchasing patterns, a reshuffling of consumer rewards and incentives, fiber/wifi upgrades in unlikely places, a rethink of how citizenship and health passports work. We’ll see an avalanche of bleisure-adjacent travel startups get VC cash, affecting nearly every segment of travel and hospitality.

Already we’re seeing companies like Ukio (offering “curated apartments”) horn in on Airbnb’s space. As is Dtravel, which promises a “decentralized autonomous organization” that takes a community approach to the host-guest relationship, with lower fees and more rewards. And travel startups like Yoti (digital identity management) and Troop (remote corporate event planning) are adjusting quickly to the new work order.

More governments and major brands will lean in. Hotels from Charlotte to Juneau are restructuring packages and amenities to lure young professionals. Marriott in particular has been aggressive in pursuing that segment. Last year Barbados launched a 12-month Welcome Stamp visa. For $3,000 you and the whole family can work from Barbados for a whole year (with a caveat, of course: you have to make $50k minimum a year).
Matt Brown, Head of Content and Marketing