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How tech innovation is encouraging more Londoners to get walking

News   •   May 23, 2019 15:00 BST

Walking can have huge benefits to physical and mental wellbeing and it’s an activity that plenty of Londoners are already enjoying across the capital.

Work like #NationalWalkingMonth, London National Park City, launching on 22 July, and initiatives through the Mayor of London's Walking & Cycling Commissioner are all building on this.

The role of technology and digital products is also a big factor here and can, most importantly, be a significant enabler within this area.

Recent years has seen a rise in pedometers and step counting with more and more products looking to instigating behaviour change, rewarding users and creating personalised goals and targets.

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The most recent Active Lives data shows only two thirds of Londoners participated in walking for leisure in the last year. Find out more here

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Over the past two years, London Sport’s technology programme, Sport Tech Hub, has championed many innovative start-ups that use technology to encourage London’s citizens to have active lives.

Here’s three examples of Sport Tech Hub start-ups that have concentrated on walking and why they’re successful according to our Specialist Advisor for Technology for Participation Alex Zurita.

Street Tag

This is a digital platform that incentivises communities and families to be active. Street Tag places digital tags in green spaces across the capital for users to collect. The more tags you collect, the higher you are on the leader board. Those with the most tags earn rewards that vary from helicopter rides to Amazon vouchers. With a focus on families, Street Tag has enabled thousands of Londoners to live more active lives and is soon being rolled out into a series of London schools.

Alex said:

“Street Tag is a great example of bringing communities and families together, encouraging groups and individuals to make more of their community while also integrating walking as part of school or go to work journeys – all of it meaning people are walking with a purpose. Within a selected part of Barking and Dagenham from December 2018 to February 2019, 556 users covered 11,765 miles.”

Sweatcoin

Sweatcoin pays you for your steps. The app tracks and verifies your outdoor steps using your phone’s accelerometers and GPS location. Those steps get converted into their currency — Sweatcoin – which can be spent on a variety of prizes. In the last few months, London Sport has also helped Sweatcoin through partnerships with local authorities.

“This product not only rewards users by turning their steps into a virtual currency but based on their research with the Institute of Digital Healthcare, it increase levels of walking by an overall mean of 19.5% over the six-month period after download (sample size of 6,000 users).”

StepJockey

This company is at the forefront of the anti-sedentary movement, transforming corporate wellness through a range of powerful employee well being programmes. StepJockey fights sedentary behaviour by gently 'nudging' staff to move a little more each day. Their smart signs, coupled with a step challenge app, gamifies hundreds of staircases across London.

“What these products can also generate is very rich data on trends, patterns and walking routes which, if used well by the sector in collaboration with these businesses, can have a positive impact on the population and dictate insight-led decisions on future interventions.”

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Are you a digital start up with a solution that gets people active?

The Sport Tech Hub is an incredible accelerator programme that empowers and scales early stage tech start-ups that encourage more people to live a physically active lifestyle.

Applications for Cohort 3 are now open

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