Posts tagged with "Bluetooth"

Singapore pays citizens to exercise with the Apple Watch

September 17, 2020

In its first-ever branding alliance with a sovereign nation, Apple has announced that it is partnering with the government of Singapore to launch an Apple Watch health initiative that offers cash rewards to participants, Fortune Magazine reports.

Starting in late October, Singapore citizens who own an Apple Watch (or want to buy one) can download an app called LumiHealth—which will challenge them each to participate in exercises such as swimming and yoga; as well as to complete health screenings and immunizations. By doing so, users can earn a maximum of $280 over the program’s two-year run.

The app assigns users tasks based on personal information such as age, gender, and weight. It was designed “with user privacy and security at its core,” according to Apple’s press release on the partnership.

“Even as all of us around the world are dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, we must keep investing in our future. And there is no better investment than in our own personal health,” Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Ministersaid in a statement.

Singapore’s government launched a similar initiative in 2019 when it partnered with Fitbit to provide Singapore residents with free fitness trackers, if they bought a premium subscription to the company’s coaching program. That program is ongoing.

The new program is a boon to Apple since it’s an added incentive for Singaporeans to purchase the brand’s watch. The watch is an increasingly vital part of Apple’s business. In January, Apple reported that revenue from “wearables” like the Apple Watch surpassed Mac revenue for the first time.

Singapore has a universal health care system often held up as a public health model for other countries; it also has one of the most rapidly aging populations in the world. The Apple and Fitbit collaborations are two of many programs designed by Singapore’s Ministry of Health to promote public health.

The government is also using technology for its management of the coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, Singapore began to distribute small “tokens,” which can be worn around the neck with a lanyard, that feature a QR code and a Bluetooth connection so that residents who don’t have smartphones—about 5% of the population—can participate in TraceTogether, the government’s Bluetooth tracking smartphone app for coronavirus cases that launched in March.

Currently, around 40% of Singapore’s population has downloaded the contact tracing app; the government is targeting a 70% participation rate.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Amazon offers new Alexa household appliances for a hands-free habitat

September 24, 2018

You work hard all day. Why cook at night, when Alexa can do it for you? A microwave is just one of the 70 new products announced by Amazon during its product blitz on September 20.

In addition to new Echo speakers and an advanced Fire TV Recast. the tech and delivery giant is rolling out a number of state-of-the-art interface devices that will operate your habitat in a hands-off mode.

USA Today reported on the top picks this week—among them:

  • AmazonBasics Microwave: At $59.99, the news outlet says, the latest microwave under the company’s AmazonBasics brand could be cheaper than your current, non-smart-enabled appliances. It integrates with Alexa over Bluetooth, allowing you to tell a nearby Echo smart speaker to set a timer for tasks such as heating up a potato or reordering popcorn. A blue “Ask Alexa” button on the front of the microwave enables you to you summon the digital assistant on command. Available for preorder, the microwave is scheduled to ship later this year.
  • Echo Wall Clock: No need to watch the time, your new clock—featuring Bluetooth to connect to an existing Echo device—has timers, alarms, and reminders galore. Since it is Internet-connected, the $29.99 timepiece it will adjust itself automatically at the start and end of Daylight Savings Time. The clock will be released later this year.
  • Amazon Smart Plug: If controlling the microwave isn’t enough, USA Today reports that Amazon’s new plug control other traditionally non-smart devices such as lamps and coffee makers, enabling you to turn them on and off with your voice.The Smart Plug is scheduled to start  shipping next month, and it will be available for $24.99.
  • Echo Auto: And finally, the news outlet reports, now you can enjoy the convenience of Alexa on the road. The new device features eight microphones that can pick up commands while you are behind the wheel. It also has Bluetooth wireless technology to connect to your phone. Bluetooth or a 3.5mm auxiliary jack can be used to connect the device to your car. Once connected, you can ask Alexa for nearby destinations, directions—or to play music or audiobooks. Powered by either your car’s USB port or its 12V cigarette lighter outlet, Amazon says Echo Auto will be able to boot up within a “few seconds” after hitting the ignition.

Research contact: eblumenthal@usatoday.com