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Amazon enters the fitness and wearable race

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Amazon this week introduced Amazon Halo, a new service dedicated to helping customers improve their individual health and wellness. Amazon Halo combines a suite of AI-powered health features that provide actionable insights into overall wellness via the new Amazon Halo app with the Amazon Halo Band, which uses multiple advanced sensors to provide the highly accurate information necessary to power Halo insights.

“Despite the rise in digital health services and devices over the last decade, we have not seen a corresponding improvement in population health in the U.S ,” says Dr. Maulik Majmudar, principal medical officer for Amazon Halo. “We are using Amazon’s deep expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer customers a new way to discover, adopt, and maintain personalized wellness habits. Health is much more than just the number of steps you take in a day or how many hours you sleep. Amazon Halo combines the latest medical science, highly accurate data via the Halo Band sensors, and cutting-edge artificial intelligence to offer a more comprehensive approach to improving your health and wellness.”

Amazon Halo Band—Comfortable, Stylish, and Distraction-Free

Amazon Halo Band is purpose-built to focus on your health and wellness—unlike smartwatches and fitness trackers, it doesn’t have a screen or constant notifications. The small sensor capsule delivers highly accurate data, and includes an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a heart rate monitor, two microphones, an LED indicator light, and a button to turn the microphones on or off, among other functions. Amazon Halo Band is water resistant for all-day wear and the comfortable fit means it won’t snag or irritate at night. Plus, the battery lasts up to seven days and fully charges in under 90 minutes. Customers can choose from three fabric band colors at purchase, with fabric and silicone sport accessory bands available in 15 additional colors.

A More Comprehensive Approach to Health and Wellness

The Amazon Halo app is a suite of five core features designed to give customers a comprehensive understanding of their health and wellness—and the tools to take action to make measurable improvements:

  • Activity: Informed by American Heart Association physical activity guidelines and the latest medical research, Amazon Halo awards points based on the intensity and duration of movement, not just the number of steps taken. For example, customers will earn points for walking, but will earn more points for running. Medical guidelines also advise that a sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact health, so Amazon Halo deducts one activity point for every hour over eight hours of sedentary time in a day, outside of sleep. A baseline goal of 150 activity points is set and measured weekly.
  • Sleep: The health benefits of consistently good, sufficient sleep are well documented—as are the potential negative health impacts of not enough or consistently poor sleep. Amazon Halo uses motion, heart rate, and temperature to measure time asleep and time awake; time spent in the various phases of sleep including deep, light, and REM; and skin temperature while sleeping. The sensors in the band allow for continuous sleep monitoring, so customers get rich, detailed information without having to charge the band every day. In the morning, Amazon Halo delivers a sleep score out of 100, any deviation from baseline sleep temperature, and a hypnogram showing time spent in each sleep phase.
  • Body: Medical research has shown for years that body fat percentage is a better measure of overall health than just weight or body mass index (BMI) alone, but the tools that measure body fat percentage can be expensive or difficult to access. Using new innovations in computer vision and machine learning, Amazon Halo lets customers measure their body fat percentage from the comfort and privacy of their own home, making this important information easily accessible. The Amazon Halo body fat measurement is as accurate as methods a doctor would use—and nearly twice as accurate as leading at-home smart scales. Learn more about the Body feature.
  • Tone: The globally accepted definition of health includes not just physical but also social and emotional well-being. The innovative Tone feature uses machine learning to analyze energy and positivity in a customer’s voice so they can better understand how they may sound to others, helping improve their communication and relationships. For example, Tone results may reveal that a difficult work call leads to less positivity in communication with a customer’s family, an indication of the impact of stress on emotional well-being. Learn more about the Tone feature.
  • Labs: Amazon Halo Labs are science-backed challenges, experiments, and workouts that allow customers to discover what works best for them specifically, so they can build healthier habits—for example, some customers might discover that cutting out afternoon caffeine improves their sleep quality, or that a certain type of at-home workout is more effective than others. Customers can choose from labs created by Amazon Halo experts, as well as brands and personalities they already know, including 8fit, Aaptiv, American Heart Association, Exhale On Demand, Harvard Health Publishing, Headspace, Julian Treasure, Lifesum, Mayo Clinic, Openfit, Orangetheory Fitness, P.volve, Russell Wilson, Relax Melodies, SWEAT, and WW. Additional content from more providers will be added to Labs regularly.

Says Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., MPH, chief medical officer for prevention, American Heart Association: “The American Heart Association is excited about technology that focuses on new and interesting ways for people to improve their cardiovascular health, quality of life, and healthy life years. We’re thrilled to see companies like Amazon innovating in this space. The Association is committed to helping people live longer, healthier lives—both physically and mentally. The first step is knowing your current status, and features like Body composition are important advances. Through our Center for Health Technology and Innovation, we are pleased to provide our evidence-based science as part of this solution, which we believe has the potential to drive behavior change towards healthier lives.”

Pricing, availability, and colours

Customers in the U.S. can request early access to Amazon Halo starting today. Through the early access period, Amazon Halo will be available for a special price of $64.99 including 6 months of Halo membership (regular price: $99.99). The membership automatically renews for $3.99 per month after the initial 6 months. The membership unlocks access to all Amazon Halo features; non-members will have access to the basics, including steps, sleep time, and heart rate.

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