Last week, Amazon introduced its Amazon Halo Band wearable device and the accompanying AI-powered Amazon Halo app, available for iOS and Android. With a focus solely on health and fitness, the Amazon Halo Band differs from other smartwatches and wearables because it does not have a screen or regular notifications to distract users. Instead, the water-resistant device uses advanced sensors to provide AI-powered actionable health and wellness insights to users.
“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, Amazon Halo, in Amazon’s August 27 announcement.
“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,” Dr. Majmudar added.
Key features and pricing
The Amazon Halo Band is designed for all-day wear. Its battery lasts for seven days and can be fully charged in 90 minutes. The wearable device 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. The Halo Band works in concert with the Amazon Halo app which focuses on five core health factors:
- Activity: Amazon Halo awards users with points based on intensity and duration of movement, as well as points for walking. It also deducts one activity point for every hour over eight hours of time where the user is sedentary, outside of sleeping hours. The app starts with a weekly baseline goal of 150 activity points.
- Sleep: Sensors in the Amazon band measure sleep continuously and uses motion, heart rate and temperature to measure time spent asleep and awake, time between phases of sleep (deep, light and REM), and skin temperature. Each morning, Amazon Halo provides a sleep score based on the previous night’s sleep.
- Body: The Amazon Halo measures body fat percentage the way doctors do, going beyond a simple BMI measurement.
- Tone: Surprisingly, this is not muscle tone, but a measure of a person’s social and emotional well-being. Amazon Halo uses machine learning to analyze a person’s energy and positivity in their voice to better understand how they sound to others.
- Labs: Amazon Halo Labs provides users with science-backed challenges, experiments and workouts to help users define better habits and routines that work for them.
Customers in the U.S. can request early access to Amazon Halo. The Amazon Halo Band and a six-month Halo membership are currently available at an introductory price of $64.99, regularly priced at $99.99. The membership will automatically renew at the end of six months for $3.99 per month. Non-members can use the Amazon Halo Band, but will only be able to use its basic features including steps, sleep time and heart rate. The Amazon Halo Band is available in three color combinations: black and onyx, winter and silver, and blush and rose gold. Customers can also buy additional bands for an extra cost.
In addition to being used as a standalone device, Amazon Halo Band integrates with WW (formerly Weight Watchers), the John Hancock Vitality wellness program and with Cerner.
Another key feature to the Amazon Halo band is the built-in privacy and security. According to Amazon’s announcement, customer health data will be kept safe and within the customer’s control. They can download or delete their data at any time through the app.
According to Meticulous Research, the wearable devices market is expected to reach $62.82 billion by 2025 with a compound annual growth rate of 11.3% between 2019 and 2025. The top 10 companies in the wearables market, as of January 2020, include:
This is an interesting take on wearables. While the frontrunners in the wearables market are trying to add features to their smartwatches, Amazon is trying to make the device simpler but more valuable in terms of health and wellness insights. While doing so, Amazon is also making the device more affordable to the everyday consumer and ensuring that Amazon has yet another source of recurring revenue in the process.
The launch is timely too. With the pandemic continuing past its sixth month, health and wellness is at the forefront of many consumers’ minds as they continue to work from home, many leading more sedentary lives than before. We can see Amazon having a hit on its hands, and if it doesn’t do well, Bezos and company will do what they do so well – fix it or abandon it and move onto something more profitable.