Whether organisations currently realise it or not, one of the very big trends for this decade in the workplace will be protecting the welfare of the staff.
We have all seen this in recent years via the increasing importance of “health and safety”, and indeed the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) focus in Annuals Reports. Some people may have seen this as necessary box ticking, regulation following, and even virtue signalling. I believe this to be wrong and short-sighted. Its mission critical.
The world of work is about to change dramatically. The ability to recruit and retain the best human resources will be a key element of competitive advantage. Companies, adapting to the gig economy, and smart working, will likely employ less people fulltime, but will offer them more TLC. Much more.
Of course its true that the younger generations of workers will value the softer social credentials of employers, and thats positive in itself, but that is NOT why corporates should invest more in employee wellbeing. Evermore, the race for productivity and performance will be around preventative policies and actions around stress, fatigue, and tiredness of the (key) workforce. Using data and deep learning.
This is why I invested in Zone7. It is unique AI tech that can predict and protect wellbeing and health, and recommend preventative action. It finds correlations and connections in data to predict future probabilities. This is a space we like as investors.
Sure, the first market for Zone7 had to be pro sports, where “employees” absences and mistakes are very expensive, and very high profile. Thats a juicy and rich market. It is also the only market with critical mass of high quality, consistent data about human performance.
Yes, keeping Messi or Lebron on the field injury-free longer is a huge value-add; but so is ensuring that top surgeons, traders, f1 mechanical engineers et al are at their sharpest and best. Thats the Holy Grai and it also unlocks the wider total addressable market (TAM) for the company. The recreational sports market, and crucially the corporate world.
Zone7 has now proven the pro sports market (embed articles of BBC and telegraph) at the highest level, and this in itself is going to be a huge success story for the founders and investors.
But what is even more exciting is how we have used the technology in this COVID period. Our AI, together with Garmin wearbales, has been employed in the front line of fighting the virus in one of the biggest HMO’s in Israel, CLALIT Health services, protecting the stamina, and productivity, of essential professionals saving lives.
Metrics such as heart rate, blood oxygen saturation and sleep, will be combined with lifestyle information and medical profiles to detect early signs of fatigue and other negative effects from staff workload and conditions. As with injury prevention in athletes, early detection of exhaustion can lead to effective intervention strategies allowing for both optimal operational efficiency and well-being advice.
Garmin wearables also allowed Zone7 to help those of us locked down struggling with Peloton or personal trainers on Youtube! Who knows how many hamstrings have been saved?
We are delighted to be partnered with such a wonderful company as Garmin.
The tech is now also being used in by military Special Forces.
We come out of this very difficult period ever more confident about the values of the Zone7 products and services. The industrial applications are endless. Watch this space.
Note: Roger Mitchell runs Albachiara, a sports tech consultancy and investor and has recently invested in Zone7.