The Challenge Voice
Welcome to the official blog of the Alexa Diabetes Challenge. Read the latest news and announcements and go behind-the-scenes with the Challenge team.

Blog Post

October 16, 2017
And Our Winner is...Sugarpod by Wellpepper!
The Wellpepper team takes home the $125,000 grand prize

The final decision is in! It’s with great pleasure that we announce the Alexa Diabetes Challenge winner: Sugarpod by Wellpepper, a concept for a multimodal care plan solution to improve life for those with type 2 diabetes. The Wellpepper team will take home the $125,000 Challenge grand prize.

About Sugarpod: a game changer in diabetes management
Sugarpod is a comprehensive diabetes care plan solution that provides tailored tasks based on patient preferences. It delivers patient experiences via SMS, email, web, and a mobile application – and one day, through voice interfaces as well.

Since so much of diabetes management occurs in the home, Wellpepper recognized that integrating voice was the natural next step to make the platform more convenient where patients use it most. Sugarpod breaks down activities associated with managing type 2 diabetes into manageable and interactive tasks.

Taking their solution even further, the Wellpepper team also prototyped a hardware device during the Virtual Accelerator phase of the Challenge. Foot problems such as ulcers are common and costly diabetes complications, and the Sugarpod solution integrates with an Alexa-enabled scale and foot scanner to provide patients a frictionless way to monitor for potentially serious problems.

“Sugarpod helps newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes integrate new information and routines into the fabric of their daily lives to self-manage, connect to care, and avoid complications. The Challenge showed us the appeal of voice solutions for patients and clinical value of early detection with home-based solutions,” said Anne Weiler, co-founder and CEO of Wellpepper.

Meet Sugarpod:

From the call for entries to a grand prize winner: how the Challenge unfolded
The multi-stage Challenge is sponsored by Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, U.S.A. and supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It launched in April with a $250,000 prize purse, calling for concepts that demonstrate the future potential of voice-enabled solutions to improve the experience of those newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

“Technology advances are creating digital health opportunities to improve support for people managing life with a chronic disease,” said Tony Alvarez, president, Primary Care Business Line and Customer Strategy at Merck & Co., Inc. “One purpose of the Alexa Diabetes Challenge was to identify new ways to use the technology already present in a patient’s daily routine. The winner of the Challenge did just that.”

Wellpepper and four other finalists were selected by the panel of judges to each receive $25,000 and $10,000 in AWS promotional credits and advance to the Virtual Accelerator. During this phase of the competition, the finalists convened for the Innovators’ Boot Camp at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters and received expert mentorship as they iterated their solutions in preparation for Demo Day. At Demo Day on September 25, 2017, the five finalists presented their solutions at the AWS Pop-up Loft in New York to compete for the grand prize.

What’s next
We are just beginning to imagine how we can apply voice technology to transform chronic disease management. We’ll be closely following Wellpepper and the other Challenge finalists as they continue on their journey to improve the diabetes patient experience.

If you’re attending the Connected Health Conference later this month, hear Anne Weiler, co-founder and CEO of Wellpepper, discuss the Sugarpod solution.

And please join us in congratulating Wellpepper, using #DiabetesChallenge and @ADchallenge!