Advancement in technologies in areas like artificial intelligence (AI), wireless transmission and voice control may be put to use for the rapidly growing elderly monitoring market, said smart home enabler Essence.
Essence started out as an alarm system provider and gradually established itself as a leader in Europe in the security industry. With its core competency in wireless and detection technologies, the company later moved into the smart home sector, providing solutions for security, healthcare and energy service providers, said Rafi Zauer, Head of Marketing at Essence.
The company waded into the elderly care sector in about 2011. “The elderly population is growing, and they are living more independently than ever before,” Zauer said, adding that Asia is a very strong driver of this market.
Essence developed a cloud AI to make the transformation needed to serve the senior market. The AI analyzes behavioral changes based on data gathered from sensors installed in a senior’s home. As the sensors gather data over time, it will establish the resident’s pattern of activities inside the house. How often the resident uses the toilet and the use duration may be recorded, for example. It is a “self-learning algorithm,” Zauer said.
The system, named Smart Care, will detect any changes in behaviors and send alerts to family members or caretakers when this happens. There are several packages with customizable alerts to let users decide which alerts they’ll receive. For example, when the elderly does not wake up at 9 am and have breakfast, or when the resident does not leave the house at a specific time.
The system was developed over a period of two years, before it went commercial in 2014. It is now deployed in multiple continents around the world.
Innovations in voice recognition also helped Essence develop new elderly care products. The Voice Panic Detector, which can be mounted on the wall in any room, recognizes distress calls from a senior like “Help, I’m hurt” and sends in help when there is an emergency. The device is also a panic button, but when it is not reachable by a senior, voice command can work too.
Development in wireless transmission technologies helped to improve Essence’s EP Advanced panic button, which combines panic button and fall detector functionalities. The device links to a home gateway via RF, but will automatically switch to Bluetooth and connects to the user’s smartphone when he or she leaves the house. With geolocation, the senior’s location will be relayed to the monitoring center or family members should an accident occur.