LYS Technologies discusses how to let light in and improve wellbeing
During September, we invited Christina Blach Petersen (CEO & Founder) and Shira Jeczmien (Content Director) from LYS Technologies to The Creative Exchange to discuss the impact of modern living and light deprivation on wellbeing. Light exposure it yet another factor that impacts consumer health and wellbeing – a topic that every sector should take seriously now.
What is LYS Technologies?
LYS Technologies (the Danish word for “light”, pronounced luce) is a data and wearable technology firm aiming to improve productivity and wellbeing. It has created a wearable to track light intake and show the impact of light on the wearer’s sleep, energy levels and productivity.
The company believes that improving light intake is key to improving workplace productivity, which according to Peterson has “never been lower than it is today”. And, according to data presented by LYS Technologies, 54% of adults in the UK say the workplace has affected their wellbeing. LYS Technologies feels passionately that a lot of this is to do with the incandescent, artificial lighting of offices and the blue lights of smart screens.
Until now, the impact of circadian rhythms (or internal body clocks) on our wellbeing has not been widely understood or discussed outside of academia. In 2017, a Nobel Prize in physiology was awarded to three American scientists for providing insight into how humans, animals and plants sync their internal body clocks with the Earth’s rotations. This has spurred more interest in the field and how it impacts us day to day.
How to use a LYS device
The LYS 1.0 wearable is designed to be worn on the wearer’s clothes, as close to the eyes as possible. The device tracks the quality and quantity of light the wearer is exposed to in their day. A complimentary app turns this information into actionable insights and suggestions. The app sets individual “light goals” for users, for example to get two hours of blue light first thing in the morning to naturally wake up the body. Alternatively, you can try a free version of the app that hacks the phone’s camera to analyse light intake. Since launching in 2016, LYS Technologies has worked with a number of companies and researchers who are focusing on optimizing wellbeing or want to understand the data behind it better. This includes the English Institute of Sport helping to prepare athletes for the 2020 Olympics, and Velux windows, which is now focusing on the wellbeing of “The Indoor Generation” to sell its products.
The Light Diet
Peterson does not want the LYS app to become an “addictive addition to the attention economy” where consumers use yet more tech to track their lives. Instead, the wearable should be worn for a purposeful interval in which behavior is changed. Wearers will learn about their own circadian rhythms, so that in future they can continue to use light intake to boost their productivity without constantly tracking it.
As well as offering its wearable and app to companies to try and improve wellbeing and productivity of employees, LYS Technologies has also designed a bespoke, seven day program called The Light Diet for workplaces. It was created to try and improve sleep and increase energy levels of participants to ultimately enhance their productivity. The LYS Technologies team determine people’s peak productivity times by understanding their chronotype and analyzing this alongside their sleep-wake cycle and light intake, to help people use their energy productively, rather than working to a fixed time schedule.
What can brands learn from LYS?
Make tech purposeful: LYS Technologies is keen to note that its app and wearable do not use gamification techniques. Nor does it use notifications to encourage users to spend more time on the app or checking their progress unnecessarily. Instead, system empowers users to maintain their wellbeing without the support of intrusive products over the long-term. Simply vying for users’ attention is not a sustainable model, and in the long-term could cause wellbeing and mental health to suffer.
Approach technology with a strong design ethos: Peterson and Jeczmien view themselves as “different to the typical tech founders”. They come from a background in fashion, design and writing, which has encouraged them to make LYS Technologies an appealing offering to those who aren’t just interested in the technology. Their emphasis on “cool”, minimal, Scandinavian design is intentional, and they want to avoid the pitfalls of tech stereotyping. This is something that other tech brands can consider when developing their branding.
Consider the impact of circadian rhythms on productivity: A lack of natural light or access to outdoor spaces could negatively impact the productivity of workers. And some people simply work better at nighttime. Allowing more flexibility in how employees can work could boost productivity, and workforce wellbeing.
Design workplaces and consumer-facing spaces with wellbeing in mind: This will ensure that employees and customers are more productive and happier. According to LYS Technologies, some workplaces, hospitals and planes already implement light conscious design. The team would love to see schools, as well as trains and other public transport spaces do the same.
Use temporary ownership models to reduce waste: As the LYS wearable is not designed for long-term use, Peterson and Jeczmien hope that one day they will be able to evolve the business to a more sustainable model. This would mean that the product could be returned to the company and reused to reduce waste – and is something that workplaces who have purchased multiple LYS wearables are already offering to employees. In a time when waste-reduction is high on society’s agenda, the possibility of leasing hardware and products needed for short-term use is an attractive one. LYS Technologies also uses recycled plastic for its hardware.
LYS Teschnologies took part in The Creative Exchange @ Foresight Factory, where we invite innovators, experts and industry disruptors to share their ideas. Sign up to our newsletter for more insight.