Microsoft Health: the company's new fitness and health platform

The new Microsoft Band and Health app

Last night Microsoft announced a brand new wearable device simply named the Microsoft Band. And while the device itself is an interesting and reasonably attractive fitness tracker, it wouldn’t be quite such a compelling product without the company’s other announcement: a new platform called Microsoft Health.

Health is the company’s unifying platform for all things fitness- and health-related and it’s designed to be a one stop shop for all your sport activities. The Health app is already available in the Windows, Apple and Google app stores and you’ll need it to set up your Band wearable.

But what’s interesting is that Health doesn’t limit itself to just one device or app. It integrates with other services and the platform is open for other developers to join. So far Health plays nicely with UP by Jawbone, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and MapMyFitness.

Microsoft Health wants to help you look like this

It’s also designed to work and support other devices including smart watches and mobile phones capable of tracking fitness activity, though we’ll see more on this in the future. You’ll also be able to integrate your Health data with Microsoft HealthVault where you can securely share it with your medical provider.

Finally there’s the Intelligence Engine. This is likely the most interesting part of the platform, as it collects all this data you’re feeding it and gives you interesting insights. Sure, it’s one thing to note that you slept lousy last night – most trackers can do that. But it’s a whole other thing to have the Intelligence Engine point out that you always sleep lousy after you’ve had meetings with your boss. And how does it do that?

By tracking disparate pieces of data, including your calendar, sleep, food, and whatever other data you let it collect, and then searching for patterns on different timescales. This sounds creepy and wonderful at the same time but it is here now and all it’s waiting for is your data.

This is certainly a large and ambitious project for Microsoft and it promises further innovation and openness, and even greater possibilities in the near future.

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