A new tool to help you understand and improve your social wellbeing

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When we look at devices that track and measure our health, we’re hyper-focused on the physical elements like activity, weight, or sleep. But while these are important, they don’t make up the full picture. The globally recognized definition of health includes mental and social well-being in addition to the physical.[1] In fact, studies show that strong social connections are just as important to long-term health as adequate sleep, being fit, having a good diet, or even not smoking.[2] We recognized this and set out to build a tool that leverages our deep expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) to help customers understand how they sound to others, helping improve their communication and relationships. This tone of voice analysis tool is called “Tone,” for short.

Tone complements traditional metrics like sleep and activity by helping you understand how you sound to others. It uses machine learning (ML) to analyze the positivity and energy of your voice—positivity is measured by how happy or sad you sound, and energy is how excited or tired you sound. The Amazon Halo app then turns that analysis into daily summaries that include easy-to-understand descriptors—for example you might see that in the morning you sounded calm, delighted, and warm.

Using Tone to reflect on your interactions can help build connections or identify patterns so you can consciously make improvements. For example, Tone results may reveal that a difficult work call led to less positivity in family discussions, an indication of the impact of stress on social well-being.

There are many ways that you can use Tone, but I will share an example of my own. I have been working from home with three kids under the age of four, so I use Tone to gut check that I am not taking any stress out on my family or friends. I check my Tone results so that I can be more intentional about how I communicate in these strange times—and have noticed it takes a burden off my wife, as she doesn’t have to be the one to tell me I am overly stressed.

I’ve seen team members use Tone to practice for big meetings or presentations, understand how they may sound over video conference calls, and make sure they’re conveying what they want during an important conversation. And I can’t wait for Amazon Halo members to use it in ways we didn’t even think of.

What is Amazon Halo?
Amazon Halo a new service dedicated to helping you improve your health and wellness. Members can access a suite of AI-powered features through the Amazon Halo app, powered by the comfortable, innovative Amazon Halo Band. Monitor activity and sleep, analyze your body composition and tone of voice, and discover healthy habits that work for you. Halo is available via early access for U.S. customers.

How it works
Tone is powered by advanced machine learning-based speech processing technologies. The Amazon Halo Band and Halo app use voice detection algorithms to pick up speech, remove background noise, and optimize battery life. Our AI analyzes qualities of the customer’s voice such as pitch, intensity, tempo, and rhythm to predict how others would perceive and describe the customer’s tone of voice, which creates a summary you can see and use to identify trends within your life.

How to use Tone

Amazon Halo device screen with illustrations of features from the app

You can enable Tone by choosing to set up a personal voice profile within the Amazon Halo app. If you choose not to, the mics on the Amazon Halo Band remain off until and unless you create a voice profile by clicking on the Tone tile on the Halo app home page. Creating a voice profile is super easy—you just read a few quotes—in this case, some of our favorites from classic books. This trains Tone to only analyze your voice, not those around you.

Once you’ve opted-in by creating your voice profile, Tone will run passively and intermittently in the background so you don’t have to think about it. Throughout the day, it will take short samples of your speech and analyze the acoustic characteristics that represent how you sound to the people you interact with. This gives you a simple way to reflect on your interaction and communication throughout the day. As you continue to use Tone, Amazon Halo will also provide insights as Notable Moments.

In addition to the default mode, you can also bookmark important conversations by pressing the button on the Amazon Halo Band. This allows you to get continuous tone analysis for up to 30 minutes. You can also use Amazon Halo to see real-time tone analysis by pressing the speech bubble icon in the app, which is a great tool to help you practice for a presentation or a big toast.

Protecting your privacy
The way you communicate is incredibly personal—that’s why we designed Tone with your privacy in mind. If you choose to turn the feature on by creating a personal voice profile, your Tone speech samples are processed locally on your phone and deleted automatically after processing. Tone speech samples are never sent to the cloud, which means nobody ever hears them, and you have full control of your voice data—including the ability to delete Tone results, and your entire voice profile, from the app. You also have the option to turn the mics off any time to disable the feature—just press the button on the band for about three seconds until you see the LED light flash red.

We’re thrilled to expand our members’ definition of health with a tool to support emotional and social well-being and help strengthen communication and relationships. We cannot wait for you to try Tone and tell us what you think. Request early access to Amazon Halo, Be well.

[1] Preamble to the Constitution of WHO as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19 June – 22 July 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 and entered into force on 7 April 1948.
[2] Holt-Lundstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB. Social relationships and mortality risk: a meta-analytic review. PLoS Med 2010: e1000316.

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