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Connected and SmartHomes and the Elderly

March 26, 2016

Connected and SmartHomes and the Elderly

Todaysnote discusses the following post at Ovum.com: Analyst Opinion: Smart homes are unsettling, but could be great for the elderly. Ovum is a London based telecom analysis firm, and their site, ovum.com, produces many interesting posts; this is the first one of their posts to be reviewed at todaysnote, but I encourage you to check out their content if you have an interest in Telecom. The author of the post is Nick Wallace; I could not find a twitter handle for him.

The post discusses the a deal made between a Latin America telecom provider and a Chinese internet technology company named Huawei. The deal will help deliver Huawei’s smart home technology to Telefonic’s Latin America customer base. Wallace’s take is simple: “Telefónica can offer customers a service none of its rivals in Latin America currently do and Huawei gets to sell through the second-largest telecoms firm in the region.

But the really interesting observation Wallace makes draws out a broader application of the technology. Wallace’s take implies that he believes Smarthome technology may be a bit overblown, but has truly important implications for people with extra needs: the elderly or those with certain medical conditions that require special monitoring or support. In his words, “Some see smart homes technology as intrusive, but those faced with a move to a depressing care home or endless hospital visits might see that as a price worth paying.

The analysis goes on with this insight:

Smart homes and smart cities are both underpinned by connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT), but they should be seen as separate concepts: cities are public spaces, and homes are private spaces. However, connected cities and connected homes present opportunities for personalized public services in both.

I had a little trouble finding specifics about Huawei’s offerings. There is interesting material at their website, huawei.com, but their Smarthome section doesn’t show a lot of products beyond connectivity technology. Huawei is on twitter at https://twitter.com/Huawei.

So it’s not entirely clear whether Huawei has health specific offerings for Telefonica’s customers, or is simply offering some foundation for that. Wallace suggests several possible scenarios or applications of the connectivity:

  • “Those with long-term conditions such as diabetes or heart disease could use connected medical devices for routine checkups at home

  • Dementia sufferers could continue to live at home for longer, instead of in care homes, supported and kept safe by automation and connected sensors

  • This is to say nothing of the money it could save health and social care services.”  [bullets and formatting are mine]

There is some material available on the internet describing services and products that fit into this model. A simple google search turned up products such as these: http://www.smarthome.com/assisstivetech.html. Also, there are a number of articles discussing the support of the elderly using technology, for example to avoid or delay nursing home support. One such article is Devices Help Seniors ‘Age in Place’. Finally, there is an interesting legal note discussing the need for regulation on this topic.

Wallace’s post has scratched the surface of a very interesting topic, and one which will undoubtedly grow in intensity in the coming years. Wallace’s post is well worth a quick read. I hope you will enjoy it. Please leave your thoughts about smarthome support in the comments below.

 

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6 Comments
  1. kentuckygal50 permalink

    I can see both benefits and difficulties with this technology. I’m sure it would have been of use to my FIL when he took care of his mother in her declining years. However, a lot of people might be hesitant to have this sort of home (the “I, Robot” issue). My main concern is that some of the people (elderly poor) who could benefit from the technology will not have the means to obtain it.

    Very thought-provoking post!

    • You make some really good points! I think the cost is an issue that will need to be explored. Thanks for posting your comment!

  2. Ma pont ezen gondolkodtam.Otthoni app alkalmazás a családra.Ébresztő a mamának a papának a szülőknek és a gyerekeknek külön külön.Reggeli invitálás indulás a munka és az iskola mama papa gyógyszert mikor vegye be.Figyelmeztet a telefon a napi dolgokra szövegesen és hanggal.Az egész család napirendjét vagy havi szokásait feladatait be lehetne írni és a telefon figyelmeztet.
    Szerintem okos megoldás lenne.

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