17 Apr 2024
The Future of a Hyper Aging Society Navigated by Well-Being Technology.

The Future of a Hyper-Aging Society Navigated by Well-Being Technology

Takashi Miura

EY Japan Technology Sector Leader, Partner, Technology, Media & Telecommunications, EY Strategy and Consulting Co., Ltd.

Supports the transformation of business models and operations by utilizing digital technologies for EY Japan's TMT sector clients.

Hiroyuki Okabe

Senior Manager, Technology/Media & Entertainment/Telecom Sector/Intelligence Unit, EY Strategy and Consulting Co., Ltd.

Leading TMT Intelligence Unit and building creative Thought Leadership.

17 Apr 2024

Navigating Innovation: How Well-Being Technology Empowers Aging Population.

In brief
  • Navigating aging and social transformations with Well-Being Technology: Enhancing personal health and social connectivity.
  • Well-being technology can be used in wearable devices and mobile apps to better mental and physical health, increase financial stability and improve other aspects of well-being.
  • Unlocking potential: How Well-Being Technology meets consumer demands and elevates employee wellness.

Well-being technology: Why should companies pay attention now

Today, humanity is experiencing a paradigm shift and transitioning to a new era. We live in a world where every person’s well-being - the happiness of the body and mind - is impacted by social environments born of numerous changes, including an aging and increasingly diverse society, changes to how and where we work, and outbreaks of emerging diseases. This changing panorama is raising people’s interest in well-being technology, as well as its value and importance. “Well-being technology” describes technology that is intended to enhance happiness of the body and mind, and ultimately to improve the quality of people’s lives. Well-being comprises four essential elements.

The four elements of well-being

The four elements of wellbeing

Well-being technology can be used to optimize these elements. These are examples of how to:

1. Maintain and improve mental health

  • Stress-relief technology powered by biometric data such as heart and respiration rate
  • Applications and services that alleviate stress and anxiety

2. Maintain and improve physical health

  • Fitness tracking on mobile apps and wearable devices
  • Rehabilitation using VR or AR
  • Telehealth that provides online healthcare services

3. Enhance social well-being

  • Social networks that prevent loneliness and isolation
  • Technology that reinvigorates local communities

4. Support people to be financially secure and have fewer concerns

  • Apps for services to seamlessly manage spending and savings goals
  • Robo-advisors that leverage AI to manage and optimize the user’s investment strategies

The increase in use of well-being technology can be attributed to two factors: social changes and technological advances. Significant changes are emerging in lifestyles and values in today’s world. Alongside a hyper-aging society and demographic changes, people are attributing ever greater importance to health and happiness. Well-being technology is accommodating these social needs by providing people with solutions to enjoy a more fulfilling daily life.

Additionally, rapid advances in technology such as AI, actuators, and robotics are significantly changing our approach to well-being. These technologies have enabled highly complex data analysis and automation which provide people with tailored support for their well-being.

As society witnesses these technological progressions, why should companies now pay attention to well-being technology?

  • A promising market worth approximately USD7 trillion: Business related to well-being technology serves as an excellent opportunity for companies to fulfill the demand of a market that is interested and invests in consumer health and happiness. Companies will need to enter this market in order hyper-aging to maintain and enhance their competitiveness. Well-being technology is drawing increasing attention as a means for companies to engage in this sector and, according to the Global Wellness Institute, its market value is projected to reach approximately USD7 trillion by 2025.
  • Source of company competitiveness: Employees are the most valuable asset of a company, and their enhanced well-being is directly linked to higher productivity and motivation. By implementing well-being technology, companies can improve employee health management and working environments, and can anticipate greater competitiveness. In addition, some investors closely monitor well-being initiatives in companies where they have invested, and associate them with long-term growth and profits.

However, initiatives encompassing well-being are nowhere near adequate, and we believe that further progress and advances are required. This is where new opportunities lie, and it is now time for companies to focus their attention on well-being technology and to play a leading role in solving social issues.

Takeshi Ando, Head of the Robotics Promotional Office at Panasonic Holdings commented on the role well-being technology should play in our hyper-aging society. “It is important for people to do what they like, and feel motivated to do it. If you find a task to be tedious, you can simply automate it. Working on these sorts of tasks solely out of obligation can be mentally draining, and one role that well-being technology can play is to automate them. Another role for well-being technology is to free you to do what you want and, whether it be work or non-work related, to find motivation in what you do. It is important for technology to support everyone, including those who may have disabilities or are unable to work, so that we can all continue to take on challenges and do what we feel motivates us.”

In the EY CEO Outlook Pulse survey conducted globally, 32% of CEOs responded that the most important strategic action within the following six months was to “use technology to enhance customer loyalty, and optimize products and services.” However, when limiting the responses to CEOs within the Japanese TMT industry, this figure fell to 22% - a remarkably low figure when compared to the global TMT industry.

EY CEO Outlook Pulse survey results

The use of technology is important in promoting the development of more effective and easy-to-use well-being technology, and such developments support its users to build a healthy lifestyle. Against the backdrop of today’s society where the attention economy prevails, companies must utilize technology that appears invisible to customers. They should strive for a business model and strategy which continues to attract rather than repel customers. This is how companies can utilize technology to ultimately enhance customer loyalty and optimize their products and services.

When asked about well-being technology, Takashi Maeno, President of the Society of Well-being (a Japanese academic society) and professor at Keio University's Graduate School of System Design and Management, offered that “people who are happy are typically in a good place in terms of social capital and in favorable personal relationships, are highly motivated and full of positive energy, and can decide to take on new challenges and express their individuality. Well-being technology should serve to enable people to leverage their sensibilities, and pave the way for personal relationships and motivation.”

A hyper-aging society supported by well-being technology

Japan, China, and other developed countries are experiencing a particularly high level of aging in society. Given that a hyper-aging society entails a wide range of issues relating to nursing, a labor shortage and increased loneliness, well-being technology is expected to help confront these issues.

1. Maintaining and improving health: Well-being technology can be used in wearable devices and mobile apps to collect health-related information, help monitor health conditions and detect illness at an early stage. Personalized health advice and rehabilitation programs that utilize AI will also emerge, and will play a major role in maintaining and improving the health of elderly people.

2. Reducing the burden of elder care: We are currently seeing advances in elder care support that utilize robot technology and AI. From physical assistance to memory support and functioning as conversation partners, it enhances the quality of care across various aspects, thereby alleviating the burden on human caregivers.

3. More effective medical and nursing services: Medical and nursing services will become more accessible and usable through telehealth, online examinations, and remote monitoring services for elderly people who live in remote areas. These technologies will also play a pivotal role in bridging the medical and nursing gap between cities and remote areas.

4. Encouraging social participation and alleviating loneliness: Digital devices and social media will provide elderly people with opportunities to participate in the community and stay connected to others. Preventing social isolation and participating in the community is essential for maintaining mental health.

5. Resolving a labor shortage: Technology will support working environments where elderly people can thrive. The option of working online or remotely provides elderly people with an environment to continue working, while platforms for work training and re-learning also assist in updating their skillset.

Professor Maeno, also describes the benefits of well-being technology as “it’s overall ability to extend healthy life expectancy and motivate people in their lives, and contribute to life’s ultimate objective - happiness.”

At the same time, we have also discovered that using well-being technology in a hyper-aging society brings its own challenges.

1. Digital literacy: The majority of elderly people currently lack the knowledge and skills to use digital devices. Gaining an understanding of new technology can also be difficult and represent a barrier for them to integrate new technology into their lives. As an example, when using applications that monitor health conditions on smartphones or tablets, navigating the app or understanding the displayed information can be difficult. Simple and easy-to-use user interfaces tailored to elderly people and education programs to enhance digital literacy are essential to address this situation. Takeshi Ando of Panasonic, has stated that elderly people have a need for “easy-to-use well-being technology which does not make the user aware of the fact that they are using it.”

2. Privacy and data security: There is concern for how health-related information and other personal data is managed and used. Elderly people can be less aware of security concerns, which introduces the risk of information leakage. Among all types of personal data, health-related information is particularly personal and sensitive, and must be handled with great care.

3. Absence of appropriate support and guidelines: The use of technology requires continuous support but there may be cases where it falls short. Setting up devices and troubleshooting are typical scenarios requiring support. We must also keep in mind that insufficient equipment and systems in medical institutions and nursing facilities, and a lack of guidelines and regulations governing digitalization, are issues that are yet to be resolved. Additionally, while well-being technology should be based on scientific evidence, there may be products that directly contradict this fundamental principal and are promoted with pseudoscience. These products can provide misleading information to users and affect their ability to make informed decisions.

In order to overcome these issues and leverage well-being technology to its utmost, it is important for companies to engage in initiatives to understand user needs and problems, establish extensive education and support systems, ensure data privacy and security, disseminate technology, and to enhance accessibility.

The key for companies to succeed in products and services incorporating well-being technology

Given the various challenges, what are the 4 key points that companies should be aware of to successfully provide products and services that incorporate well-being technology?

1. User-oriented designs that utilize personal data (service design): Accurately understanding user needs and providing suitable solutions is essential when designing products and services that incorporate well-being technology. In other words, a design that focuses on user experience would be effective; these are designs that include features such as an appropriate user interface, convenience, and customization functions that can be tailored to the needs of every individual. Another important aspect of these products and services is a mechanism to specify the goals of well-being and allow the user to confirm their progress and achievements. If elderly people are to operate these products and services without outside assistance, these offerings will also need to be equipped with interfaces and functions that align with the capabilities, habits and level of digital literacy of elderly people. In terms of technology, important aspects will primarily be gathering personal data, data entry through sensors and devices, and robots providing humans with support in everyday life. Companies will also be required to build algorithms based on this data and provide services that are customized appropriately for each individual customer. This approach will enable health support to the maximum extent for all individuals and shape an ideal well-being ecosystem. Companies can finally optimize well-being to its maximum by utilizing the results obtained through these initiatives to design personalized services and to provide specific products and services for each user.

2. Securing privacy and security (data): Well-being technology utilizes technology such as sensors and AI to collect and analyze large volumes of data. Established procedures for data collection, management and analysis are essential for this process to be successful. Companies should be thorough with security measures, including adopting appropriate data collection and management methods, implementing encryption technology, restricting access, and performing stringent verification processes. It is also important to provide transparent privacy policies to allow users to feel at ease. In relation to this point, Takeshi Ando believes that “companies are forced in this process to obtain information relevant to the individual in order to provide support. Manufacturers must not only satisfy the bare minimum of complying with legal requirements, but also perform the duty of providing users with an explanation of any upside and available services when entrusting them with their personal data.”

3. Establishing an ecosystem: Leading companies/industries and market conditions that previously prevented ecosystems from growing are now a place for collaboration and innovation, and can serve as a fertile ground for new opportunities. Cooperation between various stakeholders is essential for well-being technology to succeed. Companies should build a cooperative relationship with relevant stakeholders in industries, the healthcare sector, government and insurance companies. Building an ecosystem will enable sharing of data and know-how, cultivating new business opportunities, and discovering new markets. To build a cooperative relationship, companies and relevant stakeholders must understand the mutual benefits and the value it brings, and work collaboratively to achieve their common goal.

4. Encouraging mental health and social connection: While being healthy is generally regarded as important, many people are yet to realize that poor social connections or a lack of motivation can be a contributory factor in raising the risk of death. Initiatives that improve mental health and deepen connections with society by providing motivating activities or hobbies, encouraging participation in the community or alleviating loneliness play an important role in supporting elderly people to stay healthy. This is why companies and their representatives should be mindful of these elements when considering whether to enter the well-being technology sector. Products and services incorporating well-being technology should be equipped with creative features that offer users a natural introduction to their respective communities. In his professional opinion, Professor Maeno of Keio University, commented “Similar to paying attention to blood pressure or weight for health, it is equally crucial to have a sense of purpose, maintain social connections, avoid loneliness, and focus on mental well-being and happiness. These aspects are urgent societal issues. When considering well-being technology, it is essential to take these perspectives into account.

In order for products and services that incorporate well-being technology to be a success in our hyper-aging society, companies must take steps to integrate these four essential elements and create user-oriented designs, gather and analyze data, ensure privacy and security, build an ecosystem, and provide support for people to improve their mental health and stay connected with society.

Equipping the future with well-being technology: new challenges emerge

A panorama inclusive of well-being technology is already generating opportunities for companies to discover competitive advantages in various respects. On the social front, Japan has a notably high aging population even among developed countries: there is high demand for technology, products, and services to help resolve issues relating to this situation which also means that the market for well-being technology is constantly growing. Companies can leverage this growing market to apply their strengths of having a good understanding of user needs. Additionally, on the technical front, Japanese companies have access to cutting-edge technology and quality assurance capabilities in robotics, materials science, and manufacturing quality. By playing to these strengths, companies will be able to improve the accuracy of well-being technology and provide high quality products and services.

Well-being technology has the potential to connect corporate activity to social contribution. When companies utilize well-being technology to discover new markets, ensure employee health and happiness, and build a business that attracts investors, they are both fostering their own healthy growth and the wider economy, and also helping to improve the well-being of society.

In the field of well-being technology, companies today are confronted with large societal demand - a hyper-aging society - which coincides with their high technical capabilities and offers a great business opportunity. This panorama represents a competitive advantage to use well-being technology to produce excellent products and services. Well-being technology is our key to the shared journey which lies ahead. As we set sail toward the future, may these endeavors, coupled with well-being technology, be the first steps toward creating a healthy and happy society.


  1. Global Wellness Institute, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID, December 2021
  2. Ministry of Internal Affairs “Statistics by topic No. 138: understanding Japan’s elderly population with statistics” www.stat.go.jp/data/topics/pdf/topi138_summary.pdf (accessed on 15 December 2023)


EY Strategy and Consulting Co., Ltd.

Technology Consulting
Naoto Yamamoto – Partner

Technology, media and entertainment, and telecommunications (TMT) Sector
Tetsuo Kan - Senior Consultant

*Above ranks and affiliations reflect those at the time this article was published.

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EY Japan Consulting TMT team




Well-Being Technology: Addressing Challenges in an “Hyper-Aging Society”

  • Well-being technology provides support for several issues faced by society in the context of an aging population.
  • Its utilization across four domains—mental health, physical health, social connections, and financial stability—holds great promise.

Through advanced data analysis and automation, it becomes possible to support individual well-being.

About this article

Takashi Miura

EY Japan Technology Sector Leader, Partner, Technology, Media & Telecommunications, EY Strategy and Consulting Co., Ltd.

Supports the transformation of business models and operations by utilizing digital technologies for EY Japan's TMT sector clients.

Hiroyuki Okabe

Senior Manager, Technology/Media & Entertainment/Telecom Sector/Intelligence Unit, EY Strategy and Consulting Co., Ltd.

Leading TMT Intelligence Unit and building creative Thought Leadership.