Can Smart Technology Really Reduce Anxiety and Promote Peace of Mind?

by Brad Russell | Aug. 24, 2018

As the Parks Associates team gears up for our annual Connected Health Summit next week, we’re reviewing some of our latest research on trends in consumer health concerns.  One of the most striking trends is the rising level of consumers who report concern that stress and anxiety will cause their health to worsen. A stunning quarter of U.S. broadband households are “very concerned” (rating 6-7 on a 7-point scale) about stress and anxiety worsening their health. Said another way, lots of people are stressed about stress, and this concern leads all others from worries about weight to a lack of sleep and even chronic conditions. I recently learned that anxiety disorders are now the most common mental health concern in the United States, affecting an estimated 40 million adults or 18% of the population.

I want to be careful not to equate everyday anxiety with a more disabling disorder or to oversimplify the complexity and treatment of anxiety. Still, as a tech researcher, I’m keenly interested in how new technologies can contribute to real gains in health, wellness, comfort, convenience and peace of mind.

While technology is no panacea for “all that ills us” many new connected devices and services include peace of mind in their value propositions. Many of these solutions variously address anxiety about:

  • The safety of our loved ones
  • The security of our homes and property
  • The complexity of managing our lifestyle
  • The freedom to live independently
  • The fear of becoming sick
  • The cost of energy, water, and other resources
  • The fear of social isolation

Given these very real anxieties, it’s no wonder peace of mind value propositions resonats strongly with consumers, especially when compelling stories are developed around products such as:

  • Video doorbells, cameras and smart door locks that notify us when loved ones, friends and service providers come and go in our homes
  • Smart security systems that enhance traditional monitoring with video analytics, video verification, multi-sensor integration to trigger security actions, and the ability to notify first responders from the app
  • Smoke, fire, and water damage prevention devices that reduce loss and expedite safety intervention through automated actions
  • Unified smart home systems that simplify the management of energy, water, lighting, entertainment, security, and safety systems
  • Connected health wearables with personal emergency response and health monitoring features
  • Wellness apps that provide visualizations of real-time vitals and analytics that provide trends and tips to encourage behavioral change
  • Streaming audio systems, smart lighting, and meditation apps promote mindfulness, relaxation, and support for natural circadian rhythms that support physical and mental health
  • Video-based services for the delivery of virtual healthcare and caregiver communication with loved ones

Smart technology offers information, connection, security, safety and wellbeing that has the potential to reduce anxiety, either directly or directly. As we help consumers draw a value connection between the innovative features and the immensely practical peace of mind benefits of these solutions, they will be seen less as “nice-to-have” and more as “must-haves.”

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