Health x Wellness

OSIM continues to design products to measure and address stress

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OSIM has received their first CES Innovation Award for its Smart DIY Massage Chair. Through the application of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, the company continues to seek opportunities to deliver more intuitive, responsive, and impactful products.

The second annual OSIM Wellness Survey found that smart home wellness solutions are becoming more popular as they can help with proactive management of daily stress levels. Respondents shared they are looking for intelligent and effective wellness solutions that can be used from the comfort of their own homes.

The survey found that smart home wellness solutions are becoming more commonly sought after due to the pandemic because of their effectiveness in encouraging the proactive management of daily stress levels.

Given the survey results and their insights from products such as the Smart DIY Massage chair and the uDream, OSIM finds the application of technologies to deliver flexible, intuitive, and effective products that can alleviate modern day stressors an industry standard in the making. 

The Active Age discusses these trends about IoT, stress management and findings from the recent survey with Ms Lynn Tan, Deputy CEO, OSIM International.


the Active Age (AA): How have attitudes towards health and wellness changed since the onset of the pandemic? What are some of the trends you have observed?

Ms. Lynn Tan (LT): The importance of our overall well-being and its bearing on our physical health has risen significantly ever since the Covid-19 pandemic struck almost two years ago. A large contributor to the increasing levels of stress for working adults comes from the constant shifts and uncertainties in work arrangements, and consequently, how our routines have been impacted. This large-scale shift towards remote work has forced many of us to spend much more time at home, blurring the lines between work and home life, and potentially contributing to increased levels of stress. After months of adaptation, it has become clear that the world of work has been reshaped, with hybrid work arrangements likely to stay for the long-term – as a result, our routines and perceptions of rest and relaxation must adapt too.

One significant change is the mindset shift regarding the creation of accessibility to wellness. While it may have mostly been viewed as a luxury in the past, wellness is slowly becoming an integral part of modern life. Our mental and emotional well-being can greatly affect our physical health, and the pandemic has put this very real concern in the spotlight. Today, more individuals are asking themselves if they would rather head out for a spa session, or simply redesign their home as a wellness sanctuary instead. By bringing wellness practices into your home, the space in which you spend the most time now doubles up as one for your health and well-being too.

In today’s age of smart technology and hyper-connectedness, a greater demand for product customisation and a range of options to address our unique needs has also arisen – to achieve all this while seamlessly integrating into our daily routines. Technology delivers many opportunities and benefits, one of which being the ability to tailor a product’s features to individual needs, adding greater value to the user. Since we all have different concerns, schedules, and preferences, creating a smart wellness ecosystem that supports you in a targeted manner is ideal. It then functions actively to help you keep track of your individual health and wellness goals, making it simpler for users to proactively manage their concerns.

There has also been an increase in openness to trying out new smart home wellness products to build that ecosystem of self-care, even for products that are relatively new to the market. This year’s OSIM Wellness Survey1, which assessed the acceptance and impact of smart wellness devices on users, showed that there is a gradual transition towards replacing large furniture items with smart versions designed for well-being support. This was seen through ownership numbers for products like smart massage chairs (32.9 percent) and smart beds (12.1 percent). In addition, more than half (52.2 percent) of the 419 respondents indicated that they had made the decision to purchase smart products during this time to proactively take care of their overall well-being. These incremental shifts signal the steps taken towards building a holistic environment of self-care, starting right in our homes.

AA: How can smart wellness devices contribute to our lives?

LT: Smart wellness devices are designed to enable and empower our wellness journeys, helping us lead healthier and happier lives in the long run. Reinforcing this, the 2021 OSIM Wellness Survey found that 88.5 percent of smart device owners reported elevated levels of health and well- being with the use of their smart wellness devices. Most (94.3 percent) said being able to proactively manage their health and wellness through their smart devices has elevated their general state of well-being, with many of them practising healthy habits to manage their health and wellness, such as eating healthy (51.7 percent), checking their weight regularly (46.9 percent), going for regular medical check-ups (41.6 percent), and exercising whenever possible (41.1 percent). This strongly reinforces the meaningful and tangible impact that smart wellness devices have on bettering our health and well-being.

As our lives become more integrated in the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, it is only natural that we should also include caring for our health and well-being in this space. Smart devices are not only able to help us track elements of our daily lives, they are even able to measure the quality of these aspects as well, such as stress levels or sleep quality. As more of these products are developed, an increasing number can even help to manage these factors through customised programmes targeted at the user’s specific needs. Impactful innovation makes it easier, quicker and more measurable to be on top of our well-being indicators.

Smart wellness products also play a part in transforming our mindsets, giving us insight into our bodies, and empowering us to proactively care for our health and manage our well- being. The shift to proactive management helps to stave of the damaging long-term effects of stress on our health.

AA: How does this play a part in our homes?

LT: A home may be the single largest investment in our lives, but so is our health and well-being. As the space that we spend most of our time in, it should align with our wellness cycles and habits. This is why integrating smart wellness devices in our homes will help to encourage a healthier lifestyle, greater well-being practices, and care for our long-term health and well- being on a daily basis.

Household add-ons that help to better our physical health and well-being like smart air monitors and purifiers are wonderful, especially in a country like Singapore, which experiences haze or has traffic congestion. Building on that are smart wellness products that also care for our emotional well-being through relaxing and stress-relieving functions.

Making use of these products to create a relaxing environment in our homes is the first step in caring holistically for our health.

AA: Do you have any insights about the uptake of smart devices between different demographics especially age groups?

LT: We sought to assess the acceptance of smart devices and their efficacy in this year’s OSIM Wellness Survey. Interestingly, we found that respondents with smart products were equally spread out across all demographics. Ownership was averaged at 56.5 percent for those aged between 20 to 54, meaning that more than half of the respondents in each age group already owned smart wellness devices.

In today’s society, we are seeing a growing emphasis on fitness and holistic well-being products – with the popularity of fitness influencers, meditation apps and health trackers – more people are increasingly conscious of their own health and wellness, as well as introduced to different kinds of smart technology, from everyday wearable technology such as smart watches, to larger furniture items such as smart beds and chairs. Unsurprisingly, the survey found that more than 4 in 5 of all respondents have heard of “smartphone apps” as a type of smart device to manage their health and wellness, followed by “smartwatch with functions to monitor health and wellness” (74 percent), “fitness tracker” (71.4 percent), “health-tracking devices” (68.5 percent), and “smart home solutions” (52.3 percent).

With advancements in technology and product development, we have observed that homeowners are increasingly making the decision to incorporate different kinds of wellness products into their homes. Likewise, OSIM has come a long way from where we started, with massage chairs now evolved to become holistic wellness products, catering to much more than just physical aches and pains, offering assessments, measurements and other data, allowing the health-conscious individual to measure, monitor and manage their stress.

AA: Is it more of the younger generation that is interested in transforming their homes into smart sanctuaries? Why are these devices important for older individuals who might not be as familiar with IoT devices?

LT: We have seen greater interest in smart wellness devices across all our customer demographics. This is because meaningful innovation is key in addressing the unique well- being needs of every individual. Underpinning that, accessible, user-friendly technology in these devices is also appreciated by everyone. This comes in the form of mobile apps with intuitive interfaces, that are easy to pair with other devices in a smart home ecosystem.

Cutting across demographic segments, there are various factors that drive an individual to purchase smart wellness devices for their homes:

Lifestyle: Are you someone who just needs a quick pick-me-up while you are on the go, or in between online meetings? Or perhaps you are someone values a quiet, peaceful moment in your very own wellness cocoon? These unique preferences are key factors in deciding on a smart wellness companion to give you the self-care you need. Such considerations are critical when it comes to designing products that meet the real needs of users. For instance, the Smart DIY Massage Chair was conceptualised for individuals who need a wellness break regardless of space constraints or their home set up. Through the seamless synchronisation of a powerful back massager (uJolly 2 Smart) and foot massager (uSqueez 2 Smart) through our proprietary app, users can get a full body relaxation experience on any chair in the home or even in the office. This world’s first concept and design was introduced in April 2021 to cater to the increasing number of individuals who are now working from home, and was an honouree at the prestigious 2022 CES Innovation Awards. On the other hand, some individuals may desire a more luxurious and all-encompassing experience. To address this segment, the uDream well-being chair was launched last year. Another world’s first, the well-being chair provides functions beyond a massage by addressing all five senses, while also featuring smart technology to measure, monitor and manage stress levels – providing a totally immersive health and wellness experience.

Preference of wellness integration: How much lifestyle integration do you foresee with your smart wellness device, and what kind of wellness management are you looking for? Whether you want a wellness companion that helps to track and manage your health and well-being, or a product that helps you to identify and solve specific problems such as stress levels or sleep quality on a consistent basis, or you simply need an ad hoc relaxation session while listening to calming music, there are smart devices for all needs. These products allow you to address your stress levels and carve out that pocket of time for rest.

Space and affordability: Especially in a land-scarce city like Singapore, many of us may not have the luxury of space to purchase a full-fledged massage chair, so a diverse range of products with differing footprints will help to address these requirements. From entry level products that may be more affordable and smaller that can be easily transported or stored, to larger and more luxurious chairs with a wider range of functions – there are options for each individual that can help to address their well-being concerns.

Regardless of age, the bottom line is that smart wellness devices should have a meaningful and tangible impact on our well-being, and adopting even just one such product can make a significant difference in our health and well-being.

AA: What are some upcoming trends that the company foresees?

LT: One of the key trends we have identified and are continuing to design products for is the measurable and addressable nature of stress. The pandemic has highlighted how prevalent stress is, and how its intangible nature makes it tremendously difficult to measure and manage. The more we are unable to quantify and define our stressors and stress levels, the more it compounds. Through the use of smart technology, we are increasingly able to help users define their stress levels, while also helping them address and proactively manage these concerns.

Beyond the current situation, wellness is an age-old concept with multiple evolving facets, it spans emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual aspects. The industry will certainly need to continue looking holistically at all of these areas while constantly tapping on the benefits of evolving technologies to unlock greater innovation, to continue addressing each individual’s preferred way of managing his or her wellness needs.