Bang Design

What Life Needs Next in 2024

Any election year brings uncertainty with it. And when the election happens to be in the US, its impact is felt worldwide. The average American consumer appears to be viewing the year through the lens of cautious optimism. Cautious of the uncertain job situation, optimistic that ruling incumbents have to generate jobs to keep their own.
Let’s explore what life needs next in 2024, to drive up optimism and with it consumer sentiment. For everyone knows, what’s good for the planet and for the consumer, makes for good business!

Sustainable Living

Rising temperatures, shorter winters, and polluted city air have rallied people and companies to the Go Green clarion call. Automakers following Tesla with EVs to Housing promoting off-grid living are now becoming commonplace. One of the underlying currents is the emergency of the circular economy which seeks to expand product life and slow down the growth of landfills.

People are looking at solutions with lower energy footprints. Solutions that allow repair refill or even reuse in unintended ways. Solutions that shorten the supply chain, for a ship navigating the globe emits as much as up to 50 million cars. Solutions that stretch the dollar using global and local for what’s best. Gantri making 3d printed lamps out of biodegradable filament itself recycled from plastic waste is one such example of companies leading this new charge.

Accessible Healthcare

1 in 6 Americans is now above 60. 1 in 3 to almost 70% of the workforce now requires a side hustle to make ends meet. An aging population and a stressed workforce bring with them healthcare challenges never seen before. Companies and institutions are striving to strike a balance between universally accessible healthcare and economic growth.
Advances in the field of telemedicine, wearable technology and artificial intelligence are showing potential to achieve this goal. Platforms are coming up to connect doctors with patients. Devices such as Withings Beamo or Aktiia’s bands are promising hospital quality diagnostics in the comfort of the users’ homes. Data from these devices will enable insurance providers to adjust their premia based upon the end users’ health quotient.

Mental Well Being

Mental health and its impact on general well being has finally got its place under the sun. People are beginning to see work related stresses that affect their lives, marriages and general health. And are looking online to find self help or consulting solutions to help them do so. Online mental health support platforms, therapy apps, and AI-driven mental health assessments can offer personalized assistance and early intervention.
Companies like MindfulMe and Headspace are at the forefront of providing accessible mental health resources for individuals seeking support and guidance. Health care devices such as Aura or Happy Band are targeting user’s emotions and advising them on adjusting their behavior to improve their wellbeing. Similarly, corporations are establishing relaxation lounges for people to destress in their workplaces using themes such as Tibetan sound bowls to Power Nap bands.

Inclusivity

In periods of uncertainty, people long for a sense of belonging, togetherness. Physically manifested this reflects in designs of products and spaces that can be equally accessed by everyone. Simple changes to infrastructure such as cuts in the sidewalks to allow strollers, wheelchair users and even cyclists cross the road. Digitally we are already seeing this manifest in the form of immersive readers or text size adjusting interfaces that help those with sight difficulties.
Inclusivity grows the target market. It’s as simple as that. Beyond the well published strides taken by tech giants, brands such as OXO have inclusivity woven into their design fabric. Their ergonomic and easy to use tools are just right for people with limited dexterity. Skylar Scent is another leader that provides fragrance descriptions in Braille and includes audio scent descriptions for visually impaired customers.

Security

Security remains paramount in the best of times and the feeling is always heightened during times of uncertainty. People want security, but not the restrictions on individual freedoms that come with it. And that is the fine line leaders of democracies have to tread.
Companies such as Intoxalock or Smart Start provide discreet kits that prevent drivers from starting their cars if their blood alcohol is above the permissible limits. Others like Talitrix help authorities geo fence and monitor probationers discreetly. These are some of the examples of discreet humanized technology that provides security without stigma and overt restrictions on individual freedom.
In the movie “Kingdom of Heaven”, Balian asks Saladin, “What does Jerusalem mean to him? To which Saladin replies, Nothing, (pauses) and Everything! In a similar sense, we don’t need anything new. What we yearn for is stability, certainty, a sense of security and belonging, living in harmony with nature!
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