On SmartVibes | An interview with CEO Kathryn Fantauzzi

On SmartVibes | An interview with CEO Kathryn Fantauzzi

Our CEO Kathryn reflects on our milestone achievement of launching SmartVibes and what this health and technology breakthrough means to her and Apollo

Why did you and your team develop SmartVibes?

We built SmartVibes to provide a real time sleep intervention — something that can help you sleep soundly throughout the night without drugs and without side effects. The results are profound with some getting up to an hour more sleep a night.

More than half of Americans report trouble sleeping, with women being hardest hit by lack of sleep. SmartVibes for sleep addresses two major issues: falling asleep and sleeping through the night. Using Apollo relaxes the body so you can unwind and fall asleep. With SmartVibes, we go beyond tracking to actively help people sleep through the night by preventing unwanted middle-of-the-night wakeups. SmartVibes sense when you’re becoming restless in the night and automatically turn on soothing vibrations that help you stay asleep. 

In addition to sleep issues, over 75% of Americans report that chronic stress negatively impacts their physical health. By integrating SmartVibes with other wearables, like Oura Ring, Apollo can better understand the person’s readiness and resilience to stress. Based on those inputs, Apollo personalizes Vibes to turn on automatically throughout the day to support the body’s recovery from stress.

With SmartVibes, we go beyond tracking to actively help people sleep through the night and help them bounce back from stress. With SmartVibes enabled, Apollo can sense when you're going to wake up and respond in real time, to soothe you back to sleep. We can understand when your body is fatigued from stress and generate vibes customized for the individual to support their recovery during the day.

Imagine feeling clear and calm during the day, with the energy you need to do what you want to do. Imagine what it would feel like to sleep through the night and wake up feeling refreshed. That’s why we built SmartVibes - to give people that feeling, without drugs or side effects.

Why is this launch so meaningful for you and Apollo? 

Over the last six months, over 2,500 customers have been using SmartVibes for sleep, experiencing up to 60 minutes more sleep each night. An extra hour of sleep is life-changing, especially considering how much more capable we all are after a night of high-quality sleep. 

The launch of SmartVibes is a pivotal moment in history, where wearables go beyond tracking to intervention. The ability to understand when someone will have an unwanted wake-up and be able to soothe them back to sleep, to give them back more sleep, is remarkable. It's meaningful for me because sleep underpins health and well-being. Everyone needs a good night's rest; you need it to recover, for your metabolic and mental health, and to reduce inflammation.

Understanding how to help people sleep soundly through the night  without drugs and side effects is monumental in helping improve people's well-being. And it's critical in helping to improve their body's resilience to stress. You are more resilient to stress when you enter a day after a restful sleep. And when you use Apollo during the day to relieve stress and support your resilience, it ensures you sleep better at night.

Become a SmartVibes member
Experience a more personalized Apollo. For a limited time, you can get an annual SmartVibes membership for $99.99 on iOS and $79.99 on Android. Open your Apollo app, go to the SmartVibes tab, and select “Get SmartVibes”.

How does SmartVibes differ from the current Apollo experience? 

SmartVibes leverages the data we have collected over the last three years to understand how to personalize Vibes based on your needs. The goal stays the same: to improve and optimize your well-being, to increase your stress resilience, and to improve your sleep.

What's different about SmartVibes versus the basic experience is with the basic experience, you can select a Vibe to help you focus, you can choose to play a Vibe to help you sleep, and you can schedule them to play depending on your routine. With SmartVibes, we can personalize Apollo Vibes to you, learning from your health data to customize Vibes specifically for your body and needs. An example is knowing when you will wake up in the night and responding proactively and in real time to soothe you back to sleep. SmartVibes will know when your body is in a state where it’s less resilient to stress, or you’re fatigued from stress and be able to intervene to support your body's recovery from stress.

SmartVibes represents an opportunity to leverage data and act on it. Customers who opt not to get SmartVibes still get all the features they know and love from Apollo. SmartVibes enhances the experience by upgrading the Apollo wearable to learn about their bodies and respond to their specific needs, generating the right Vibes for them at the right time.

Let’s talk about wearables. Why is Apollo unique in the wearable world?

With the launch of SmartVibes, Apollo is the only wearable to learn about your sleep and stress levels to intervene proactively, giving you more sleep and helping your body be more resilient to stress. In the case of sleep, SmartVibes predict when you'd wake up at night and respond to help soothe you back to sleep in real time. And for stress, we can understand how your body responds to stress to create stress-relieving Vibes specific to your needs to help you bounce back.

Apollo is an intervention that supports your body’s resilience and recovery. This is unique from other wearables that provide data and insights but don’t intervene to help you sleep or be more resilient to stress. 

SmartVibes have, without any overstatement, changed my life. I used to wake up in the middle of the night, sometimes at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, to scribble in my notebook or to stare at the ceiling. Now, with SmartVibes, I sleep straight through the night. I wake up feeling refreshed, and my overall health, well-being, and immune system are much stronger. Generally, I’ve seen that I'm more resilient to stress and I feel so much better.

Why did you decide to start with tackling sleep?

Sleep is paramount to our customers. So many people have trouble sleeping -  over a third of Americans are diagnosed with insomnia and women are twice as likely to be diagnosed. Sleep is vital to our health and our resilience. We know that if you get good quality sleep, other metrics fall into a healthier place.

If you get good quality sleep, you support your recovery from stress, metabolic health, immune function, overall mental health and well-being, and ability to focus. We knew that if we could help people sleep throughout the night, we could help unlock their ability to be resilient to stress. 

Our first focus for SmartVibes was preventing unwanted wake-ups and intervening to soothe people back to sleep. Everyone knows what it feels like to wake up and stare at the ceiling. Everyone knows what it's like to have your mind racing when you just need it to go to sleep. The Apollo wearable is a non-drug solution to help give people back more sleep so that they can wake up feeling refreshed and have the energy they need to take on the day.

Why are stress and sleep so important?

Sleep and stress are inextricably linked. If you sleep poorly, you wake up with less resilience to stress because your body didn't have enough time to recover from the day before. Then, when you are faced with pressure, your body and nervous system are not prepared, and you’re more reactive and less able to cope.

And you see that in your metrics, you have a higher resting heart rate, your heart rate variability (HRV) is lower, and generally, your well-being is not as strong. Then, when you want to go to bed, if you are stressed out during the day and don't have enough time to unwind, you end up with poor quality sleep, less time asleep, more time in light sleep, and less time in deep and REM sleep. The cycle is vicious. Apollo Vibes help reset that circadian balance, helping your body recover from stress during the day so that when you go to sleep at night, you fall asleep more quickly, and you get higher quality sleep, more deep sleep, and more REM sleep. It's a positive feedback loop: you use Apollo, it supports your body's recovery from stress throughout the day, you're able to focus, you're able to unwind, and then when your head hits the pillow, you fall asleep faster because your body is calmer, and you can enter deep sleep, and REM sleep more easily. When your body feels safe, your nervous system gets a chance to recover, and you can relax in peaceful, restorative sleep.

You’ve been testing SmartVibes for daytime – what words describe how these Vibes make you feel? 

I feel calmer, more present, and grounded. Think about how you feel when you wake up after a good night's rest, the sun's out, and you're looking forward to the day. That's how SmartVibes makes me feel. They help me sleep through the night, and I wake up feeling rested and ready for whatever the day throws at me.