Having heard about the Mio PAI algorithm from CES 2016, I decided to give the mobile app a test this week with the economically priced Mio Link optical heart rate sensor. An iPhone 5S was used to test the Mio PAI mobile app and I understand the app is also available on Android platform as well.
The mobile app is clean looking and reminded me of the Mio GO app; simple yet barely adequate. For starters, the miserably tiny heart rate readings at the top right hand corner of the mobile app seem to imply the PAI scores takes precedence over the heart rate readings. But I shall pass my judgement after using the app thoroughly.
Currently the Mio PAI mobile app connects exclusively to Mio Wearables and the yet to be released Mio Slice activity tracker is the only piece of equipment from Mio capable of displaying real time PAI points. Strangely I was able to connect my Scosche Rhythm+ optical heart rate monitor to the Mio PAI mobile app and it worked fine. I was also able to connect a Polar H7 heart rate monitor to the Mio PAI app and achieved comparable PAI points for the same workout when compared against a Mio Link. I’ll be dropping a query to Mio Global and will update here again.
I did receive a reply from Mio Support and I’m reproducing it here verbatim:
“We don’t currently officially support 3rd party devices, so can’t speak to the accuracy of PAI points gained through 3rd party devices as each may feed data to PAI in a slightly different way. 3rd party support is something we’re considering for future updates.”
There you have it. 3rd party devices may work now or show signs of connectivity but it may not work like Mio Wearables. Future support for 3rd party hardware is being considered.
After an hour of wearing the Mio Link connected to the Mio PAI app during work where I teach physical education to teenagers, I clocked an unsurprising 3 PAI points. Ouch.
During the weekend, I ran for 25 minutes on a treadmill, keeping my heart rate at a relatively high level, and the PAI points started to pile up.
Spending 44 minutes in High intensity net me 44 PAI points while 5 minutes at moderate intensity only garnered me 4 PAI points; so getting the heart rate up is really key to hitting and maintaining 100 PAI scores for the past 7 days.
Mio’s PAI scores does not give equal weight-age to all activities but activities that are considered moderate and high intensity clock the PAI points at a faster rate; specifically activities that tax the cardiovascular system.
Every time you hit a new milestone, the Mio PAI mobile app would notify you. Over time, you’ll slowly gather and clinch accomplishment badges.
The premise of step counting is such that walking or running must be registered. Yet activities such as gym workouts or cycling, even though they can be strenuous and high in intensity, seldom show up as intense in terms of step count. I see value in quantifying physical activities with the PAI score.
At present, the real time Mio PAI scores can only be seen during a tracked sessions with the PAI mobile app connected to a Mio Wearable. Because the Mio Link I used while reviewing the app does not store data, it has to stay connected to the Mio PAI mobile app in order to stream HR activity; battery sapping is a big consideration.
Also, while I appreciated the emphasis on making sense of heart rate data rather than steps, the promise of being able to earn PAI points while swimming appears to be less than reality at present.
Firstly while water resistant, none of Mio’s Wearables were specifically designed to perform optimally under water. Secondly, how am I supposed to connect the Mio Link/ Velo to the Mio PAI mobile app while swimming? And third, water activity dedicated heart rate monitors such as Garmin’s HRM-Swim are not compatible with the Mio PAI mobile app.
IN A NUTSHELL
Fitness tracker companies have resorted to using “active minutes” in the last few years in place of a standard step count; Jawbone has “Active time” , Fitbit has “Active Minutes” and Garmin has “Intensity minutes.”
Mio has bucked the trend by producing the Mio PAI scores; throwing step count into the wind and focusing on heart rate. While the 10000 steps goal has been around for a long time, Mio’s PAI scores look set to shake things up if the buy in from the masses is high.
The PAI is proprietary algorithm based on the Hunt study, an population based health study from Norway. It is individualised and the science behind PAI is robust. Execution is easy to follow for most people; maintain 100 PAI points for the past 7 days. The benefits?
The PAI app is scientifically proven to help you maximize your longevity and reduce the risk of lifestyle-related diseases.
The Mio PAI mobile app is freely available for download but you’ll require a Mio Wearable though.