Microsoft launches health platform and smart band to deliver fitness insights

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 30 October 2014
Microsoft launches health platform and smart band to deliver fitness insights

Microsoft has unveiled a new wearable smart band and health platform that aims to make the process of tracking personal fitness easier, more insightful and more holistic.

Microsoft Band is designed to be worn 24 hours a day and features ten smart sensors that monitor wearers’ heart rate, calorie intake, sleep quality and more. It also keeps wearers connected at a glance with smart notifications, including incoming calls, e-mails, texts and social updates, as well as access to Cortana.

Microsoft Band is powered by a new open cloud platform called Microsoft Health, which stores, organises and learns from wearers’ fitness information in order to give specific prompts to improve their fitness.

The platform allows users to sync their band with Windows Phones, iPhones, Android devices, and Windows and Mac computers. Microsoft Health also integrates with other apps such as Jawbone, MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper.

Over time, Microsoft Health will combine fitness data with calendar and e-mail information from Office. This will help to deliver insights into fitness performance relative to work schedules and determine things such as whether eating breakfast improves performance.

The new device and platform has been nearly four years in the making and marks Microsoft’s first foray into the wearable device market and latest push into health services since it launched HealthVault in 2007.

“Within health and fitness, there is rapid innovation occurring around wearable devices with smart sensors that are telling us more about our lives,” said Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president at Microsoft. “A vibrant marketplace of devices and services is giving us access to a wealth of data about our nutrition, health and fitness. We see an opportunity to bring these devices and services together to allow you to combine the information they collect and use the power of the cloud to turn that data in to something more valuable.”

Microsoft Health is now available to download on Windows Phone, Android and iOS devices. At the moment, Microsoft Band is only available in limited quantities in the US and is retailing at US$199.

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