This story originally appears in the 2017 Georgia County Government Member Services Guide.
“Together” is a word that has always been at the core of Woozy, a community wellness app that collects recalls and notifies mobile users in real time. In the world of Woozy, “together” is not just a tagline or a hashtag. It is a word that speaks of the motivation behind the app and how it works.
“Woozy is built around the concept of a community,” says Woozy co-founder Debbie Peterson. “Good communities help each other out, and that’s what we’ve always strived to mimic. Whether our users are family members or manufacturers and distributors of products, we want to create a way for them to work together to spur better decisions. To us, it’s more than just providing instant access to information that affects a person’s lifestyle and buying habits. It’s about bridging gaps.”
By consolidating recalls and sending them to users in real-time, Woozy manages to bridge three gaps: the gap among government agencies issuing recalls, the gap between recall information and consumer needs, and the gap between consumer health and corporate health.
Decoding the recall challenge
Here’s how the recall process is designed: The United States government announces product recalls through various agencies, depending on the classification of goods. For food, beverages, and medications, it’s the Food and Drug Administration that issues the recalls. For vehicles, it’s the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); for furniture and other consumer items, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The biggest challenge brought about by this particular setup stems from the lack of a singular funnel that consolidates all this information.
As these recalls are pushed out by separate agencies through separate channels, it becomes difficult for us, the consumers, to monitor them.
The right to instant information
If there is one thing that the Era of Mobile has taught us, it’s that our world just keeps getting busier, and we need the help of technology to keep pace. As opportunities to do different things continue to multiply, it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to stop and take the time to seek out information. As a result, developers and programmers ceaselessly create apps and innovations that bring the information straight to the very devices we carry around as we go through the motions of a busy world.
We all have the right to know information that can impact our well-being. We also have the right to gain easier access to this information. That includes government recalls, too, but up until the launch of Woozy, there has been no single medium that pools them together in one place.
Awareness of product recalls greatly influences lifestyle choices. Let’s say a parent of a child with peanut allergies constantly gets notified through Woozy that a grocery store chain’s bakery products are being recalled for not declaring allergy triggers on their labels. This happens repeatedly and becomes a trend, ultimately influencing the parent’s decision to refrain from buying products from that establishment. That way, they can avoid accidentally getting items that trigger their child’s allergic reaction.
Woozy pulls recalls from various government sources together in one feed through an API, filters and consolidates them through a data visualization source (Zoomph), and pushes them out in categories that its users can choose to ‘follow’ or monitor. Those who have an adverse reaction to products with gluten can follow a special, gluten-focused feed. Parents of toddlers can follow a furniture recall feed. Vehicle owners, meanwhile, can monitor a feed that pulls in automotive safety recalls.
Once users download the app, they become part of the Woozy community and receive recall alerts through their mobile devices in real time.
Through Woozy’s real-time notifications, users become aware of the most recent recalls, gaining access to important trends that help shape the purchase decisions they make for themselves, for their homes, and for their families.
Give and take
This accessibility of choice-critical information works both ways, too. It consequently affects the sense of accountability that brands and corporations have with regard to their products. Over time, consumers will eventually stop buying from brands whose products are being constantly recalled, which is why a huge responsibility rests on the shoulders of these manufacturers to ensure quality.
It’s a give-and-take situation that mutually benefits corporations and consumers, bridging their needs and wants to help each other make better choices. Woozy builds that bridge.
Keeping it together
It’s a domino effect: Woozy harnesses the power of technology to create a hub for all recalls, providing easier access of health information to its users. This, in turn, enables them to make more informed lifestyle choices that impact their behavior towards products, brands, and corporations. As a result, this fuels corporations’ sense of responsibility over the quality of their goods to meet consumers’ needs and preferences. It’s a cycle that requires mutual effort and community: the heart of Woozy’s mission.
In a world where information and choices are boundless, all it takes is an app that cares about keeping them all together for us to become an informed, healthy, symbiotic community—to ultimately be better together.