‘I want to exercise more but I don’t have the time’, ‘I don’t feel like exercising today’, ‘Isn’t it going to rain today?’. Have you ever used these statements yourself? Or do you often hear your friends or family say them? Lack of time and/or motivation and the weather conditions are the three main reasons not to exercise or to exercise less according to Ipsos’ research into the sports frequency of the target group (45+).
The project BAS-X (pronounced “basics”) aims to allow as many people (45+) as possible to spend a basic number of active hours per week outdoors through the 3 most popular activities: running, cycling and walking. BAS-X focuses on 3 aspects:
- BAS-X offers you a suitable route at the starting point of your choice. Whether you’re a cyclist, walker or runner, whether you’re in excellent shape or getting started at improving your physical condition… at any location.
- BAS-X gives you the perfect route as a cyclist, walker, runner WITHOUT the need to install an app or buy an extra device (GPS, wearable…).
- BAS-X will “nudge” you in order to convince you to go outside and follow a route on a regular basis.
What does BAS-X mean?
- Bewegen translated in English means exercising, as it is the main goal of BAS-X to exercise more.
- Apart means individual, BAS-X supports you to be able to do sports on your own (hiking, biking, walking).
- Samen means together, together virtually and physically. One of the best motivators to get you to move is to know that many others are doing it as well.
- eXplore, BAS-X allows you to discover/explore your own environment. And this in a context of desired predictability of the route (length, duration, level of difficulty, safety,…).
BAS-X will not only encourage you to exercise more through walking, cycling, and running, it will also measure and monitor community behavior so that the impact of the actions can be followed up. BAS-X aims at the 45+ man and woman who have a little more time and are physically active from time to time but need a little push to stay that way. The target person doesn’t want to be attached to a club. The aim of BAS-X is not the athletes who know their way around sports clubs and/or all kinds of wearables and tools. The target person has a lot of thresholds not to do sports. She/he needs to be “nudged” or convinced to overcome those thresholds.
How does BAS-X work?
BAS-X aims to be as accessible as possible and therefore focuses on the most accessible and popular environment: a browser environment on smartphone, using PWA technology. This removes the threshold to install yet another app. It has great potential to offer a simple solution via the smartphone’s browser, and thus with the Progressive Web App (PWA) technology. PWA technology is a set of new technological possibilities that allows a website to offer functionalities through a browser on a smartphone.
BAS-X makes use of the extensive community of RouteYou (more than 10 million unique users per year). BAS-X is part of the RouteYou platform. The 3 assets of BAS-X to that community are the following:
1. Offering a suitable route
A suitable recreational route will be offered with the characteristics you have filtered on: paved or unpaved road, whether or not along the most popular paths, distance, level of difficulty…. It will also respond to specific temporal problems such as overgrown slow roads, temporarily interrupted roads… which you can’t get through.
2. Exploring the route
Besides making it easier to find a suitable route, BAS-X also wants to lower the threshold to use them. With BAS-X you don’t need to install an app or buy an extra device (GPS, wearable…). Turn-by-Turn navigation will be offered in a browser environment of the smartphone, based on PWA technology. The reason to offer that within that mobile website environment is the simplicity for the user. It will offer both map rotation in the direction of the movement (bearing), turn-by-turn instructions and sound instructions (to work via earphones). Dynamic rerouting will also be provided, respecting the initial route.
When navigating a route, the user will also be able to share the position (if desired) in order to informally invite third parties to join the route, or simply show them where they are (gamification and safety).
The eXplore mode of BAS-X will allow you to navigate a route without knowing in advance which route to follow. This responds to the independence and the discovery of one’s own region. “I always do the same round” is one of the common remarks among athletes.
3. Nudging to stimulate more exercise
The third domain that will be elaborated functionally is “nudging”. When navigating a route, each user will be able to share her/his position if desired. As a result, fellow users can receive a notification to participate in the route. The weather is also indicated as one of the biggest arguments not to sport outdoors. BAS-X will inform the users about the weather conditions. It will also inform the user about the trends of sports behavior in the region. Within BAS-X, trends will be researched and users will be informed about those exercise trends (e.g. “this weekend is the most popular cycling weekend of the year”, “this hike in your neighborhood is among the top 10% most used hikes”…). Another concept is the ‘bucket list‘ concept. It focuses on the gamification aspect. Research shows that we are strongly driven to finish lists. When completing the routes, the user will be informed that she/he has done one element of the ‘bucket list’ and that there is still X elements to discover.
Who’s the team behind BAS-X?
The technology and research partner within this project has an extensive network of experts, and a huge expertise of state-of-the-art techniques that can be used within the project (this was already demonstrated in the RUNAMIC research that was carried out together with Sport Vlaanderen). The team of Prof. Steven Verstockt mainly focuses on techniques/tools to improve the quality of time-spatial (meta)data. They also conduct a lot of research on mapping, finding and analyzing this data in numerous applications (sports, culture/media, health, …).
Together with Pascal Brackman from RouteYou this project was started. RouteYou bvba is a Belgian business, which operates operationally from Ghent and offers a digital platform for recreational routes worldwide. The partnerschip between Ghent University, Imec and IDLab is the great strength of this project.
Are you interested in BAS-X? Please get in touch with us so we can tell you all about it!