Earlier this year we shared our vision for using mobile health and wellness technology to make...
Despite the challenges many wearable device companies have experienced over the past several years, Amazon entered the market with the release of Halo, an on-wrist health tracker with an accompanying app. Amazon Halo uses five health metrics to give users a comprehensive look at their health and well-being as well as provide actionable recommendations on how to improve it. The five metrics are (i) activity, (ii) sleep, (iii) body, (iv) tone, and (v) labs. The screenless device, which will require users to access their app in order to see progress, has a fabric band and a seven-day battery life.
Unlike many devices, Amazon Halo will not assess activity levels with steps or distance travelled. Rather, the app will award “points” based on the intensity and duration of movement. For example, Amazon Halo will award more points for running than walking because of the higher intensity. The device sets a baseline goal of 150 activity points measured weekly, which is consistent with the American Heart Association’s recommendation that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week.
Amazon Halo will also provide users with a daily sleep score, out of 100, based on the duration and quality of their sleep, which will be determined by measuring motion, heart rate, and temperature while a user is asleep. It will also provide details on time spent in the various phases of sleep including deep, light, and REM sleep.
As Wellable has noted countlessly, body mass index (BMI), a common measure in biometric screenings that are part of many employee wellness programs, is a poor measure of health. This is why Amazon Halo chooses to measure body fat percentage (BFP) rather than BMI or just weight. Per Amazon, the “body fat measurement is as accurate as methods a doctor would use—and nearly twice as accurate as leading at-home smart scales.”
To get a BFP measurement, users will walk through guided instructions for taking scan images. After taking photos from the front, back, and each side, the app creates a 3D image of the body with a BFP score. It also tells users where their BFP stands in relation to people of the same sex and age. It also has a slider function that illustrates how the body could change from losing or gaining body fat.
Amazon Halo is also trying to address holistic health by going beyond physical wellness to include social and emotional well-being. The “Tone feature uses machine learning to analyze energy and positivity in a [user’s] voice so they can better understand how they may sound to others, helping improve their communication and relationships.” Once users opt-in to the Tone tool, they set a voice profile, and throughout the day, it will record short samples and analyze the acoustic characteristics that represent how users sound to the people around them. The app turns the analysis into daily summaries that describe how users can improve their communication.
“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.” Users will be able to select from labs created by Amazon Halo experts or ones from brands and personalities, including Harvard Health Publishing and the Mayo Clinic.
Amazon Halo boasts a number of privacy features as well as integrations with third-party programs, such as Weight Watchers. Wellable will be exploring adding Amazon Halo to its platform.
Currently, the Amazon Halo is available to users in the US for a special price of $64.99 (regular price: $99.99), which includes six months of premium app features. After six months, the premium app membership is $3.99 per month. Non-members will have access to all the “basic” features, which include steps, sleep time, and heart rate.