Another Must-Have Amazon Subscription?

Gina Acosta
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Another Must-Have Amazon Subscription?
The company is offering the Halo band, app and six months of membership for an initial rate of $64.99.

Amazon is launching a game-changing new health service that can track emotions, measure body fat and monitor voice patterns -- all at a great value.

Amazon Halo is a new subscription service dedicated to helping customers improve their health and wellness.

The Amazon Halo app and the Amazon Halo Band will allow users to consult and shop for wellness products, supported by content from Amazon as well as 8fit, Harvard Health Publishing, Mayo Clinic and other third parties. Amazon has collaborated with health and wellness companies to enable customers to connect their Amazon Halo account to third party programs for more ways to enhance their health journey. 

The company is offering the Halo band, app and six months of membership for an initial rate of $64.99, before rising to its regular price of $99.99. The membership automatically renews for $3.99 a month after the initial six months. In comparison, the latest Apple Watch starts at $399, while trackers by Fitbit Inc. start at $69.95. 

“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.”

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.

The Amazon Halo app offers 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.

Amazon says it has built layers of security and privacy 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. 

Also Thursday, Amazon announced the name of its new traditional grocery banner: Amazon Fresh, which opened Thursday in Woodland Hills, Calif. 

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2020 PG 100 list of the top grocers in the United States.

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