This is the fourth post in our “5 Teams Changing Diabetes Management” series, featuring Q&A with the Alexa Diabetes Challenge Finalists. These concepts demonstrate the vast potential for voice-enabled solutions to improve life for those with type 2 diabetes.
Our fourth post features a Q&A with Anne Weiler and Mike Van Snellenberg, co-founders of Wellpepper. Their team developed Sugarpod, a multimodal diabetes care plan solution that provides tailored tasks based on patient preferences, delivered via voice, mobile, video, web interactions; includes a smart foot scanner that detects and alerts patients about potential foot problems.
What inspired you to create this voice-enabled solution?
Through our platform, Wellpepper, we deliver interactive patient experiences via SMS, email, web, and native mobile application. Voice is a natural next step. We found that people have an emotional attachment to their mobile devices, but voice takes it a step further, and is definitely more convenient in the home. Given that diabetes management happens at home, we saw a great fit to help patients track and self-manage their disease.
Describe your first experience with voice technology. What aspect of it did you find most compelling?
Mike: When I worked at Microsoft Bing, my team built features for Microsoft’s AI voice assistant, Cortana. However, it wasn’t until recently that I understood how ubiquitous voice interfaces had become. My family was on vacation, and my 3 year old daughter asked me why Alexa wasn’t with us, and whether she would be lonely at home. My kids will never know a world without a voice-driven user experience.
How will your concept help people living with type 2 diabetes?
Our entry is a comprehensive, but not overwhelming, care plan that breaks down activities associated with managing type 2 diabetes into manageable and interactive tasks that can be personalized for patients. Sugarpod by Wellpepper, is an interactive, multimodal diabetes care plan solution delivered via voice, mobile, video, and web interactions and includes a smart foot scanner that detects and alerts patients about potential foot problems.