Amazon looks to build foothold in fitness, wearables with Halo, Halo Band

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Amazon looks to build foothold in fitness, wearables with Halo, Halo Band

By David Salazar - 09/02/2020

Amazon is looking to go beyond the traditional fitness wearable with its latest effort. The e-tailer is rolling Amazon Halo — a subscription service that pairs its proprietary Amazon Halo Band wearable with an app offering AI-powered wellness insights that pairs with — to customers who request early access 

The company said that Halo — which is offered on a membership basis with an introductory price of $64.99 for the Halo Band and six months of Halo membership — is aimed at driving actual population health changes via the wearable and app. 

“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. 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,” said Dr. Maulik Majmudar, principal medical officer for Amazon Halo. “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.”

At the center of the offering is the Halo Band, which doesn’t feature a screen, but contains an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a heart rate monitor, two microphones, an LED indicator light and a button that turns the microphones on or off. It is water resistant and is meant to be worn all day, with a battery life that lasts up to seven days and 90-minute charge time. There are three fabric band colors available at purchase, with fabric and silicone sport accessory bands sold in 15 additional colors. 

The Halo app focuses on five core features:

  • Activity — the app awards points based on the duration and intensity of movement and deducts points for every eight hourse of sedentary time in a day outside of sleep, setting a baseline goal of 150 activity points for users;
  • Sleep — Amazon Halo uses the Halo Band to detect motion, heart rate and temperature to measure time asleep and awake, as well as time in various sleep phases, offering users a daily sleep assessment;
  • Body — Halo uses computer vision and machine learning to allow users to measure their body fat percentage and calculate their body mass index;
  • Tone — The app uses audio from Halo Band to asses energy and positivity in a user voice, offering insights into sources of stress and its impact on emotional well-being; and
  • Labs — Halo Labs are challenges, experiments and workouts that allow users to find what works for them in order to build healthier habits. They are created by Halo experts, as well as such brands and personalities as  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.

Amazon underscored its data security efforts with Halo, noting that health data is encrypted in transit and on the cloud, body scan images are automatically deleted after processing and tone requires a personal voice profile, with speech samples analyzed locally on the user’s phone and automatically deleted. The company said this means that nobody hears them, not even the user. 

Amazon also has built third-party integration into the Halo ecosystem, particularly with users of WW, formerly Weight Watchers. Halo app activity can be translated into WW FitPoints and Halo members have access to all of WW’s labs in the app. WW will offer a promotion offering a free Halo Band six months of Halo membership as part of a new WW membership. 

WW is committed to inspiring healthy habits for real life and we are continuously looking for ways to enhance the WW ecosystem. The Amazon Halo Body composition tool is an important complement to weight measurement, and we are thrilled our members will have access to this information on a regular basis from the comfort and privacy of their own homes,” said Mindy Grossman, CEO, WW. “WW members who previewed the Body feature said it was highly motivating in their journey and we are excited to offer WW members a more comprehensive understanding of their wellness through Amazon Halo."

Other integrations include the John Hancock Vitality wellness program, which will offer Amazon Halo as the featured complimentary wearable, which comes with three years of free membership. Halo also is integrated into Cerner solutions to enable easy sharing of health info with their care teams and integrate with electronic health records.