Manchester gets pro-walking app to support public health

BeeActive harnesses internet of things to support walking as part of CityVerve programme

The University of Manchester’s Health eResearch Centre has launched an interactive app to promote walking in the city as part of the public health effort.

BeeActive screenshotNamed BeeActive, the app has been developed as part of the CityVerve smart city demonstrator programme, and ‘gamifies’ the streets to encourage people to walk around discovering different features.

It also sends out notifications of encouragement and missions for people to accept. This could involve, for example, reminding them they could get off a bus early to increase their step count for the day – using information on heavy traffic or good weather as a reason to do so.

The app will initially be used around the Oxford Road Corridor, where CityVerve is focused, with the potential to roll it out further afield in future. It is available through Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Julie Harrison, CityVerve project lead at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The main aim of the health and social care theme is to help people help themselves and BeeActive is a perfect example of this.

“By empowering people to take charge of their health, be this through increased walking motivated via the app, we can help bring health and social care back into the community.”

The CityVerve programme is aimed at deploying internet of things technologies at city scale, and is focusing on themes including health and social care, travel and transport, energy and the environment.