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How Top Fitness & Wellness Companies Are Enhancing Experiences through Voice Tech

As the year comes to an end, it's time to start thinking about a much-needed physical and mental health break before it all catches up with us. Last week, the November VOICE Talks focused on the fitness and wellness companies that are at the forefront of the industry and are adopting voice technology to provide innovative new ways to engage with customers. 

Strava’s Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Mark Gainey sat down with Dina Berrada, Director of Product at Google Assistant, to discuss the role of voice technology in the health and fitness space. Specifically, their talk focuses on how voice tech has positively impacted the fitness industry by providing its  users with new experiences that aren’t disruptive.

“We know that as athletes this concept of being handsfree and communicating in a seamless fashion is really important to the experience,” says Mark Gainey.

The crux of their strategy revolves around staying focused, citing the examples of someone driving a car or an athlete focusing on their training.  "You know, being active, whether that's someone driving an automobile or an athlete training, so whether someone is out riding, running, or walking the dog, their hands are busy when they're active, so the voice experience needs to be hands-free. We can bring that concept of command and control to an active situation but in a seamless way," said Gainey.

The social platform serves a global community of almost 100 million athletes. They took the time to chat about the company’s innovations and how its voice strategy enhances the business and has been driving support for its customers - particularly in the past two years during the pandemic. 

“During the pandemic our growth just accelerated. There was this need for connection where we couldn't show up on a starting line on a Saturday morning for a local fun run, or we couldn't necessarily go riding with our friends. Digital experiences like Strava began to fill that void,” Gainey shared. 

“We’ve seen voice create magical experiences out of the mundane,” Dina Berrada, Director of Product, Google Assistant.

Meanwhile, the global pandemic showed us that mental wellness is just as important, if not more than physical wellness. AI startup Kinstugi is paving the way for easier access to mental health assessment using their innovative voice biomarker technology. 

Grace Chang, Founder/CEO, Principal Software Engineer at Kintsugi, shared how the company started and provided insights into how it can score clinical depression and anxiety from just 20 seconds of free form speech. The problem, she explained, is that it can sometimes take months before a patient can get an appointment. 

“Clinicians definitely want to be able to help their patients and that's why we saw this as an infrastructure issue, where you have so many people trying to jam through the front door but not a lot of visibility as to who is seriously depressed,” said Chang. The app is language agnostic and designed to create visibility, reduce the stigma around mental health, and promote quantitative measures to help practitioners.

“The most significant piece of determining depression and anxiety is not what people say, but how they say it,” Grace Chang, Founder/CEO, Kintsugi.

The latest Google action, Girl Hero Stories, launched on International Day of the Girl in October and is inspiring the female leaders of tomorrow. Beth Brezenoff, Vice President, Publisher at Capstone Publishers joined Dr. Tamara Pizzoli, Owner & Author at The English Schoolhouse joined us at VOICE Talks. Together, they share how the action recognizes the 1.1 billion girls who are changing the world — while acknowledging  the challenges they face. Users can select from a list of more than 25 new fiction and nonfiction stories from Capstone and The English Schoolhouse, developed by Earplay. The stories can be accessed by saying, “Hey Google, tell me a Girl Hero story.” 

Tune in to watch the November VOICE Talks on-demand, subscribe to receive updates, and view the next episode of VOICE Talks on December 9. In addition, grab your tickets for VOICE Summit, a hybrid voice technology event being held on December 7-8.