Amazon Enters the Smart Health & Fitness Market to take on Apple Watch with the Halo Device and Annual Membership
Last week Patently Apple posted a report titled "In the First Half of 2020, Global Smartwatch Revenue was up 20% with Apple Watch taking a surprising Leap to over 50% of the market." The key take away from the the first half of 2020, according to Counterpoint's Senior Analyst Sujeong Lim, was that "wearables continue to see greater demand with consumers becoming more health conscious." Today we've learned that Apple has a major competitor stepping into the fitness device market, Amazon.
Amazon is taking the razor and razor blade market approach. A cheaply priced fitness device for $65. Alternative bands sell for either $16 for a sports band or $20 for a woven band. Then, after the first 6 months free, there's an ongoing membership fee of $4/mo. When the promotion ends, the device will retail for $99 + $4/mo membership.
The new Amazon Halo is 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. It's available for both iOS and Android.
“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. “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.
"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," said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., MPH, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention, American Heart Association. “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."
Privacy by Design
Privacy is foundational to Amazon Halo, and multiple layers of privacy and security are built into the service to keep data safe and in customers’ control. Health data is encrypted in transit and in the cloud, and customers can download or delete their data at any time directly from the app. Body scan images are automatically deleted from the cloud after processing, so only the customer sees them. Tone is enabled by creating a personal voice profile, after which it begins capturing short samples of speech and providing insights and daily recaps. Speech samples are always analyzed locally on the customer’s phone and automatically deleted after processing—nobody, not even the customer, ever hears them. Learn more about Amazon Halo privacy features.
Get More with Third Party Program Integrations
Amazon has collaborated with leading health and wellness companies to enable customers to connect their Amazon Halo account to third party programs for even more ways to enhance their health journey. Account linking occurs via the explicit opt-in of the Amazon Halo customer and they can opt back out any time directly from the Halo app.
Members of both WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and Amazon Halo can choose to link their accounts to share Halo Activity information, which the WW app translates to FitPoints. Amazon Halo members also have access to all of WW’s labs any time in the Halo app.
WW will offer a variety of promotions, including the ability to get a free Amazon Halo Band and 6 months of membership as part of signing up for a new WW membership. Learn more. “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."
Amazon Halo will be the featured complimentary wearable for the John Hancock Vitality wellness program, including three years of Halo membership. Vitality members can choose to link their Amazon Halo Band to their account to earn Vitality Points for the things they do to try to live longer, healthier lives. Learn more. "At John Hancock, we are committed to helping our customers live longer, healthier lives. We know Amazon shares this goal and are excited to integrate with Amazon Halo and continue to transform the role our industry plays in our customers’ lives,” said Brooks Tingle, President and CEO, John Hancock Insurance. “This strategic endeavor allows us to offer our customers the latest in insights-driven personal health technology that can help them improve their overall wellness. We believe these enhancements will have a positive impact for our customers."
Amazon Halo is now integrated into Cerner solutions to enable consumers to easily share health information with their care teams and directly into their electronic health record (EHR). Amazon Halo members will be able to share their body fat percentage with participating care providers as well as activity and sleep data with Cerner Consumer Well-being programs. Sharp HealthCare is the first Cerner client to benefit from this collaboration. “For more than 40 years, Cerner has ushered in health care’s digital age by moving medical data from paper to electronic health records. Now we are seeking breakthrough innovation focused on making the health care experience more seamless and insightful,” said Brent Shafer, Chairman and CEO, Cerner. “Integrating the revolutionary body fat percentage measurement from Amazon Halo directly into the EHR provides physicians an actionable and previously hard to obtain health metric without the need for a doctor’s visit or costly technology. We believe our collaboration with Amazon Halo has the potential to improve the health of individuals and populations, reduce health care costs, and increase satisfaction for consumers and clinicians alike.”
Pricing, Availability, and Colors
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.
Customers can choose from three color combinations for their Amazon Halo Band: a Black fabric band with an Onyx sensor capsule, a Blush fabric band with a Rose Gold sensor capsule, or a Winter fabric band with a Silver sensor capsule.
Customers can purchase fabric accessory bands for the special early access price of $19.99 each. Six additional fabric color options include: Denim, Hummingbird, Mint Edge, Olive,Unicorn, and Volcano. Customers can purchase sport accessory bands for the special early access price of $15.99 each, with nine color options available: Ash, Black, Dark Mint, Domino, Lavender, Pink Slate, Seafoam, Sunset, and White.