The world has just welcomed a new baby boy to the Royal Family. HRH Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have become first-time parents to Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Baby Sussex is sure to be one of the most high-profile new arrivals this year, but they certainly won’t be the only one – according to the Office for National Statistics, 679,106 births were registered in the UK during 2017. Whether for the first time or not, that’s a huge number of families adapting to parenthood, and recent research has found that getting the hang of things can take longer than many expect. A US-based study revealed that new mothers take an average of three months to feel like they are getting to grips with parenthood, while one in five said they didn’t feel prepared when they left the hospital.
Many new parents turn to the latest tech innovations to help them adjust, so much so that the global ‘Babytech’ market is predicted to surpass $1.6 billion by 2025 – and that’s just the baby monitor submarket. There’s clearly plenty of opportunity for product designers and app developers who find ways to make parenthood easier for new mothers and fathers – who are often sleep deprived and preoccupied – and many brands are using big data insights to achieve this. Even Amazon are capitalising on the babytech trend; it has launched a Baby Activity Skill Application Programming Interface (API), open software that enables developers to build Alexa voice-control functionality into their baby care apps and devices – perfect for parents whose hands are full.
As Royal Baby fever begins once again to sweep the nation, here’s how big data and data analytics are offering new parents a helping hand.
Baby monitors have come a long way from simply listening in to a sleeping new born. One of the trickiest aspects of baby care for new parents is establishing a routine, so today’s baby monitoring devices and apps encourage users to log the often erratic and unpredictable needs of their new arrivals.
This data soon builds a picture of a baby’s sleeping, feeding and changing tendencies over time, and is made simple to interpret thanks to data visualisation in the form of charts and graphs. The Baby Tracker app uses machine learning to identify patterns and trends in the data, so parents can try to nudge their baby’s natural habits towards something more structured. It can be a reassuring data picture to tired parents who may be unsure of their parenting abilities in the first few months.
Of course, it’s not just a baby’s physical needs that are to be met during the early years; new parents can often put their own health second when caring for a new born. Wearable fitness trackers – that record data metrics such as daily exercise, calories burned and sleep patterns – are now a must-have health accessory for many adults, so it’s no surprise that babytech brands have created an equivalent for new parents.
The most innovative have developed smart wristbands for both babies and their parents, which sync via secure Thread networking technology so that the adult wearer can monitor their baby from anywhere in the house. Baby wristbands use infrared to measure skin temperature, and track breathing and sleeping position through chest motion, sending automatic alerts to the parent’s wristband if the data recorded appears outside of expected thresholds. Through their own wristbands, parents can keep track of step counts and sleep patterns, while a central smart hub connects to Wi-Fi in order to store data in the cloud and sync it with a connected mobile app.
Even previously inanimate items can become data-gathering, data-generating devices designed to give parents insight into their baby’s development. Smart changing mats contain wireless scales so that they can track baby’s growth and weight gain over time, as well as producing data reports for health visitors at periodic check-ups. There’s also a smart baby sock with its own built-in biometric sensor, which records a baby’s heart rate, oxygen levels and temperature via pulse oximetry.
Devices like these link back to mobile apps that gather and visualise the data for parents, making it easy to spot anything out of the ordinary. With parental consent, the company behind the smart sock are also using their huge collective infant datasets to train machine learning algorithms to identify the optimum time of day to put a baby down for a nap, or to sound an alert if a baby displays signs of illness. Every baby is different, but this kind of contextual data can be invaluable when seeking to understand more about infant health.
Just like new parents, business managers can find themselves trying to juggle numerous responsibilities at once and, in much the same way, data gathering and analysis can simplify many of these. A comprehensive data infrastructure and analysis strategy can reveal a level of data intelligence managers can use to track and cultivate consumer relationships and business growth.
This is what we help our clients do here at Quant; leverage the power of data to help them better understand the intricacies of their customers. Like parents do with their new arrivals, our clients can use data to support their decision-making and nurture their businesses. Find out more by getting in touch with us today.