Oct 13, 2017 07:12 PM IST | Source:

Health Bots: HealthifyMe bets on Ria to coach users to fitness & diagnose medical conditions

The health bot understands 10 different medical conditions and can reply in eight different languages

Health and fitness startup HealtifyMe on Friday launched a conversational nutritionist bot – Ria – powered by artificial intelligence, which is expected to be used by its app users to take care of their health.

“Conversational AI has been a failure till now. We feel Ria can beat Siri and Google assistant at a lot of levels, first being intelligent and relevant replies. We understand the market, we understand you and the local context,” HealthifyMe co-founder Tushar Vashisht said.

The AI coach, which has been under works for over a year now, will be launched first in beta version over the next two months.

It is expected to transform the way people manage their nutrition and fitness plans.

The service will be rolled out to all paid users by January 2018.

The company monetizes by offering weight-loss programs and then connecting participants with over 200 nutritionists and fitness coaches for online consultations.

It claims that its programs are effective in the prevention of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

For unpaid users, HealthifyMe may introduce it as an ask-me-anything feature than a full-blown conversational bot.

The startup, which has raised about USD 7 million to date, expects the venture to turn profitable in next 12 months, while it is already profitable operationally, Vashisht said.

Developed under the codename ‘Project Amadeus’, Ria is a self-learning bot that uses key learnings obtained from HealthifyMe’s 150 million tracked meals and over 10 million message exchanges between coaches and users.

Amadeus, which is a step forward from Jarvis, has been fed with 200 man years of nutritionist intelligence.

It understands 10 different medical conditions and can reply in eight different languages.

“We started with the vision of creating healthy living. The first step was the mobile platform backed by a cloud that helped us cater to Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Now with the AI capabilities, we intend to refine Ria and Jarvis to the point where they can allow us to serve beyond India,” Vashisht said.

The 3-year-old AI platform Jarvis is an assistant for nutrition coaches to become more efficient by learning from their interactions with clients.

With Ria, HealthifyMe is looking at scaling up to have 1,000 clients per coach by mid next year.

The startup currently has 3 million registered users, of which 20 percent are active users.

Vashisht hopes to take the base of active users to 1 million by the year-end on the back of Ria.

Ria, like Siri and Google’s Assistant, will field questions around nutrition and fitness with both audio and text. The startup has also added a coach handover feature to switch to human touch-point if Ria is unable to answer a question. “It basically works when all other bots will fail,” Vashisht added.

HealthifyMe was founded as a calorie counter app in 2013 by Tushar Vashisht, Sachin Shenoy, and Mathew Cherian. Its most exciting feature is a calorie counter specific to Indian meals.

Western-made nutrition tracker apps typically do not include a breakdown of nutrition information that works with Indian food habits.
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