Amazon, Seattle, introduced Amazon Halo, a new service dedicated to helping customers improve their individual health and wellness, the company announced on Aug. 27.
The Amazon Halo offerings include an app and band that use artificial intelligence to deliver data on activity, sleep, body fat, voice tone and labs.
“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.,” Dr. Maulik Majmudar, principal medical officer, Amazon Halo, said in the media release. “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 doesn’t have a screen or constant notifications. The small sensor capsule delivers data using an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a heart rate monitor, two microphones, an LED indicator light, among other functions.
Amazon Halo delivers data in five areas: activity, sleep, body fat, voice tone and labs.
Activity: Informed by the 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: 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 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: Amazon Halo lets customers measure their body fat percentage from the comfort and privacy of their own home. The Amazon Halo body fat measurement is as accurate as methods a doctor would use—and nearly twice as accurate as at-home smart scales, according to Amazon.
Tone: The 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.
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.
Users can connect their Amazon Halo account to a number of third-party programs, including WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and the John Hancock Vitality wellness program.
Amazon Halo also is integrated into Cerner solutions to enable consumers to share health information with their care teams and directly into their electronic health record.
Customers in the United States now can request early access to Amazon Halo. Through the early access period, Amazon Halo will be available for a special price of $64.99, including six months of Halo membership, which will have a regular price of $99.99. The membership automatically renews for $3.99 per month after the initial six months. The membership unlocks access to all Amazon Halo features. Non-members will have access to the basics, which include steps, sleep time and heart rate.