Every year, Apple puts spotlight on some homegrown developers ahead of the prestigious Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and this year is no different. Leading up to the big event in June, there are some interesting Indian health and fitness apps Apple has chose to spotlight. International Business Times, India had the opportunity to interview the brains behind the apps in order to understand their use-case in the current times.
Coronavirus pandemic has thrown us all in unknown territories. While the health aspect of every individual remains a prime focus for everyone, we can do so from the comfort of our homes with the help of our smartphones. Things are as simple as downloading the right app to get the right guidance, but the focus is the "right app".
Through our quick Q&As with the developers of some Indian health and fitness apps, we hope to help in millions of people's quest for the "right app". In this article, you will be reading about YogiFi, Wysa, BeatO and 1MG - all of which as their names suggest are centered around the well-being of the user.
YogiFi is a smart & personalized yoga gadget and App that delivers personalised yoga programs, and more. It tracks yoga postures, provides real-time correctional feedback, tracks body vitals for effective results.
Speaking to YogiFi's founder and CEO Muralidhar Somisetty about the use-case of the app in the current times, he said: "YogiFi is a unique product/app in the market that enables a two-way interactive yoga session with it's patented real-time posture assessment, community gamification and an immersive audio/visual content. YogiFi unifies the best of ancient science (Asanas) and modern technologies (Artificial Intelligence) to bring the best of online and offline studio worlds at the comfort of an individual's home. It is like carrying a personal yoga instructor always with you on your smartphone."
YogiFi uses Computer Vision on the iOS for real-time posture correction and it also works with Apple Watch App to give haptic feedback. YogiFi also uses machine learning to curate personalised yoga plans by taking into account variables like flexibility, balance and alignment.
YogiFi is basically a one-stop shop for all your yoga needs without ever needing a personal instructor or going to the yoga training center. It makes total sense in the current times of COVID-19 pandemic. The developers have witnessed a 300 percent surge in app and website traffic during the lockdown.
In case you're wondering if the app caters to your needs, Somisetty says it is targeted towards "Mind-Body Balance for Busy IT professionals, Working Woman Kickstarter, Anxiety Relief, Age with Grace for senior citizens, Healthy Heart for Men over 40, Prenatal /Postnatal Yoga and Kids Yoga. YogiFi organized a special series to engage kids through fun yoga during the lockdown which became an instant hit with kids asking for more. We are planning to add programs for differently-abled (Blind/ Deaf) citizens to adopt Yoga."
Wysa is an anonymous, free and clinically assured AI coach for mental health. The app is written by psychologists and life coaches to help users develop the skills to play their best game, no matter what their goal might be. It is developed by Touchkin, co-founded by Ramakant Vempati and Jo Aggarwal. This novel application is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based bot. It is intuitive enough to understand the user's depression level and suggests relaxing words to calm the person with empathy.
Speaking about how a virtual therapist helps people open up more freely, Jo Aggarwal, co-founder of Wysa said "people find it easier to open up in the relative anonymity of text on an app when the therapist doesn't need to know who you are. And also, the structure of the first session focuses the user on their goals and challenges, what they would like life to be and the barriers standing in their way. Over time, a therapeutic relationship develops and people tend to open up about deeper issues."
For those concerned about privacy, Wysa has end-to-end encryption and goes through external penetration testing regularly to ensure the data is safe.
Further explaining the new model of therapy, Aggarwal said that "building an empathetic relationship via text-based therapy is a skill, and we actively screen for this skill while recruiting therapists. When a person books a chat session with a Wysa therapist, the focus is to make them feel heard and to build trust while giving them a sense of progress. This means that a large part of the session is to listen supportively, playing back without judgement what the therapist has understood. After the session, the therapist summarises the session and helps the client get a sense of progress."
Wysa can be greatly beneficial during these times of the COVID crisis, where the mental health of an individual is taking a huge toll. This app has the potential to save many lives.
The chronic condition of diabetes can be extremely challenging to manage and monitor. Diabetic individuals not only find it difficult to keep a regular track of their sugar levels but also have to follow a strict diet. BeatO helps "create a digital ecosystem that encompasses the full lifecycle management of a person with diabetes by addressing all their daily needs on a single platform - IoT enabled monitoring and instant alert/smart nudging system, AI-driven triaging through our doctors and nutritionists, customised health insurance, medicine adherence and curated commerce; everything weaved together with our compliance-based rewards system," Kunal Kinlekar, CTO, told International Business Times, India.
There are more than 80 million diabetic patients in India and more than 80 percent of them have uncontrolled sugar levels. With coronavirus pandemic, people with uncontrolled diabetes have a 3-5 times higher mortality rate.
Recalling a motivating incident, which gives reason to keep going, Kinlekar said a 37-year-old user, who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and had very little understanding of how to manage his condition. On his consultation with one of the largest medical institutes in India, he was straight away put on low dosage of insulin and some oral medicine. He was introduced to BeatO via a friend and since then has been a religious user of the ecosystem. Over the last 3 months, he has managed to attain perfect glycaemic control and has been put off insulin. It is thoroughly satisfying that BeatO's timely interventions and his adherence to the platform helped him achieve his goal.
Finally, another health-centric app that is ideal in the current COVID times is 1MG. It is an online pharmacy & healthcare app offering doctor consultation on chat to online medicine delivery & lab test at home, across 1000+ cities in India. Founded by Prashant Tandon, Gaurav Agarwal and Vikas Chauhan, 1MG fulfills various needs and lets users make informed decisions while purchasing medicines.
Like any startup, 1MG had its share of challenges. Agarwal highlighted the lack of information around digital healthcare models and sometimes they even questioned the strategy. But after overcoming those challenges, it was a journey towards success.
During the coronavirus-led lockdown, 1MG witnessed huge spike and it continues to be in demand even with relaxations happening in India.
"We are seeing 3-4x demand on consultations and our pharmacy services have run at peak capacity despite no marketing! Even as the lockdown has eased, we are seeing significantly elevated demand across all our business categories as consumers are still wary of the looking COVID-10 infection. In addition, COVID-19 has driven a massive trial of online healthcare delivery which is more convenient, transparent and trustworthy. As a result, we are seeing a lot of the early demand sustain in a very healthy fashion," Agarwal pointed out.
Which of these apps have you been using since the lockdown or before that. Share your thoughts with us, so we can give a shoutout to their developers.