The market for mobility aids has been thriving in recent years, credited in no small part to advances in technology. Innovations in product development and the way mobility aids are attributed have made a broad range of mobility products more accessible, affordable and user-friendly than ever before.
In the UK, the mobility aid sector is expected to continue growing in size over the next decade, driven by an ageing population and an increasing number of people with disabilities. This growth is likely to be accelerated by the increasing adoption of new technologies and the development of more innovative and advanced mobility aids.
Accessibility of mobility aids is essential for the UK’s ageing population, playing a pivotal role in improving independence, reducing social isolation and increasing quality of life. With every technological advancement that boosts the sector, the benefits ultimately trickle through to those who need them most.
But which specific advancements in technology are driving the performance and prosperity of the UK mobility sector?
Smart Mobility Aids
The growing market for smart mobility products encompasses a broad range of devices that incorporate technology to enhance their functionality. These advanced aids can be controlled via smartphones or tablets, providing users with real-time information about their health and surroundings. Smart technology is being integrated into many new-generation mobility scooters and motorised wheelchairs, smart walking sticks, wearable sensors and more.
One of the key benefits of smart mobility aids is their ability to collect data about the user’s health and activity levels. This data can be used by healthcare professionals to monitor the user’s condition and make informed decisions about their treatment. For example, wearable sensors can track the user’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs, providing valuable insights into their overall health.
Assistive technology refers to devices and software that are designed to help people with disabilities perform daily tasks. Examples of assistive technology include voice-activated assistants, smart home devices, and purpose-made software for people with visual or hearing impairments.
Specialist hardware and software suites have made it easier for people with mobility impairments to live independently and improve their quality of life. For example, voice-activated assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home can help people control their environment, such as turning lights on and off or adjusting the temperature. Smart home devices like smart locks or cameras can also help people feel more secure and independent.
Another significant trend in the market for mobility aids is the rise of online marketplaces. In 2004, the UK’s first dedicated online mobility aids specialist – Mobility Smart – was launched by Andrew Atkinson. Having identified the potential for a dedicated online store to bring more affordable mobility aids to a broader demographic than any High Street retailer, Andrew transformed £1,000 into what would become the UK’s biggest online company specialising in mobility and daily living aids.
“I remember looking at how the existing mobility aids market was confined to a local retail setting and severely limited in its reach. At the same time, I could see how the rapid growth of the internet was going to create a great opportunity to get essential daily living aids and mobility gear out to a much larger audience on a national basis.” – Andrew Atkinson, Mobility Smart CEO.Mobility Smart helped to make mobility aids more accessible and affordable to people who need them, sparking the creation of a new sector focused on providing affordable mobility solutions. Online retail has now become the first choice for the vast majority of individuals looking to purchase mobility aids. And in doing so, benefit from greater affordability and accessibility than any conventional High Street retailer.
Cost-Effective Mobility Aids
New manufacturing technologies have also made mobility aids more affordable and accessible. For example, 3D printing technology has made it possible to produce custom-made mobility aids at a lower cost than traditional manufacturing methods.
Another cost-effective solution is the use of recycled materials in the production of mobility aids. An approach that not only reduces the cost of manufacturing, but also has a positive impact on the environment. By using recycled materials, manufacturers can reduce the amount of waste produced and reduce their carbon footprint.
Innovative Financing Options
Importantly, new technologies have paved the way for the development of innovative financing options for mobility aids. Some manufacturers now offer leasing options for their products, while most good online retailers offer their own take on flexible finance. It’s comparatively rare to be made to cover the full costs of a major purchase up-front if the buyer would prefer not to do so.
Manufacturers and retailers are demonstrating greater awareness of the financial limitations many people face, spurring the development of flexible and affordable funding solutions. A growing proportion of these are powered by technology and even AI, providing instant decisions and minimising admin requirements for the provider.
For more information, visit: https://www.mobilitysmart.co.uk/