The HELO (Health and Lifestyle Oracle) is touted as the most advanced personal health monitor on the market today. The latest released version, the HELO LX, is an upgrade to the previous HELO Classic and offers more features. World Media and Technology Corp (Wor(l)d) pushed this product to market late 2016 and had remarkable uptake in over ten (10) countries worldwide. It is powered by Toshiba’s recently developed ApPLite processor, a low power technology that enables the smart wristband to measure a host of vital statistics, one of which is–you guessed it–sleep! Assuming regular use, you can expect the battery to last for up to a week before requiring a recharge, which is pretty phenomenal given everything it’s doing. I should mention as well that the HELO utilises haemodynamic analysis to collect some of its information (mainly cardiac and respiratory data). That’s really just a fancy way of saying that it passes light through the skin and measures the type of light reflected by the content in your bloodstream.
What Does It Do?
The HELO is a well-rounded device that offers a plethora of features. Naturally, here at FYST, we’re very excited by the sleep quality features. When paired with the Heka+ and Lifelog applications, it offers not only sleep tracking but analysis as well and is able to let you know how well you’ve been performing in the sack (no pun intended). Like most wearables that depend on wrist actigraphy, it can be “tricked” into thinking you’re asleep if you’ve been on the couch for a while, but by and large the consensus from early adopters has been that it is largely accurate. The sleep data also takes a little while to compile since the device has to detect whether or not you’re still asleep and crunch the data. We found that sleep measurements were usually ready within 30 minutes to 1 hour of waking up.
Depending on the reporting intervals you set, the Heka+/HELO app will alert you each time a fresh set of readings is ready. If you have set thresholds for any of your statistics, it will also warn you if have wandered into either Low or High Zones (eg. for blood pressure, heart rate, etc). All the data collected is aggregated and synchronised via Bluetooth with the Heka+ app which runs on your smartphone. Once you register your HELO in your online backoffice, you will also gain access to the LifeLog application. If you have the free version, do note that you will only be able to keep your data (inclusive of sleep statistics) for 30 days. If you go Pro, you can keep it as long as you like. This is excellent if you’re a seeing multiple specialists for a long period of time, with different drugs being thrown into the mix. You can then observe what the pharmacological effects of said drugs are on your sleep quality! Additionally, because of the large volume of data that the monitor collects, it’s easier to spot correlations between, say, your blood pressure and nightly arousals. This can be used as supplementary evidence by a physician or specialist in order to determine what kind of corrections to make to your sleep patterns.
How Does The HELO Compare With Other Wearables?
Without needing to get into too much detail, see the comparison below for yourself (not that blood glucose is now being trialed).
In addition to the named capabilities, HELO also offers WeCare and Guardian features. WeCare is for those persons who enjoy being part of fitness clubs, and other various health activities that benefit from social accountability. The HELO supports that accountability by allowing persons to monitor each other in a virtual setting, which makes it definitely easier to see how well persons are doing with achieving their goals. As an example, if you had committed to run 3 miles per week with a friend, along with a specific diet, then within 6 months both persons should show a marked decrease in heart rate alongside an increase in average step count. These can be perfect indicators for weight loss and fitness enthusiasts.
The Guardian feature is a bit different. It allows activation of a ‘Panic Button’ that allows users to send an SoS. This presents an excellent use case for caregivers of elderly persons who may be prone to accident and injury. Can you imagine if you were at work and your grandmother fell at home and broke her hip? She would not have been able to reach the phone…but what if she had a HELO? You would have been alerted and gotten her to the ER far faster than coming home to a potentially horrific situation. The Guardian function is also perfect for kids who may sometimes travel unaccompanied or who may become accidentally separated from their parents/guardians. Since the Guardian function also transmits a GPS position, they can be found quickly and easily, and are also able to alert responsible adults if they may be in trouble.
I See “Earn Income” In The Features. Can I Make Money From This?
Absolutely, but it depends on your own personal fortitude, salesmanship and sense of adventure. The HELO can’t be bought in stores, so it grows by converting each customer into a distributor. Financially speaking, it shows great topside potential as a product, and can be a very profitable venture should you choose to pursue that route. The intent of this review however is to focus on the features. You can find out more about the business opportunity by watching the 5-minute video below (skip to 3:26 if you like).
Should I Get One?
That depends on your taste and/or personal situation. If you’re looking for raw information and dedicated charting without necessarily getting bogged down by aesthetics, then yes, the HELO LX is for you. If you’re a personal health evangelist, a fitness club enthusiast, and/or a follower of the Quantified Self Movement, this is also a great product for you. And last (but by no means least), if you’ve got kids, a loved on, or elderly folks to care for, the HELO represents a great opportunity to provide low-impact and unintrusive monitoring. With new capabilities such as glucose monitoring coming on stream, I expect that this device will capture a relatively large proportion of market share in the wearables? market very soon.
Let’s wrap up by checking out the pros and cons:
- The HELO employs cutting edge technology in its use of haemodynamic analysis (this makes it able to analyse a wider range of health statistics than the regular smartwatch)
- It’s basically the only smart band than can perform an in-place EKG (how cool is that?!)
- Fairly accurate fitness analysis capabilities (the sleep tracking is pretty good)
- WeCare features are great for health/fitness accountability groups
- Guardian features enable remote personal monitoring for loved ones, kids, and elderly persons
- Loyalty program available (at a cost) for users which carries a host of benefits (including no-cost replacement and upgrade entitlement for newer models)
- Distributor model is customer-based so each customer can also sell the product and make commissions
- May require some calibration at the outset
- Depending on your reporting interval, the Heka+ app can be battery intensive?
- Somewhat expensive but no more so than big players in the market (eg. Apple)
- You can only keep your data for 30 days unless you go Pro (by purchasing Loyalty)
- Registering your HELO for support in the backoffice can be painful
I hope I’ve helped you better understand and appreciate the HELO as a personal health monitoring tool. It’s not big on looks, but it is big on data and Wor(l)dGN clearly recognises the more social side of healthcare. This device can certainly help you achieve your fitness goals if you are dedicated, and you can look forward to new updates and improvements in the future. I should also mention that Wor(l)d has invested heavily in the product, recently buying Heka Healthcare (a Silicon Valley company) in order to further improve its offerings. This says to me that there is commitment on the part of the company to delivering greater value to the average person, such as you and I. If you’re interested in getting a HELO, you can click the link below. DO NOT PURCHASE ON AMAZON AS YOU WILL NOT GET SUPPORT FROM WOR(l)D!
Full disclosure: I will receive a small commission should you purchase.