American consumer electronics retailer Best Buy has announced the acquisition of GreatCall, a digital home healthcare service provider for seniors. The acquisition was valued at US$800 million.
GreatCall will be integrated into Best Buy’s growing e-commerce business, providing digital health services to senior homes.
About 50 million U.S. citizens are 65 or older, and the population is expected to grow by more than 50% within the next 20 years, says Best Buy. The senior homecare market is expected to reach US$9 billion in the future.
The U.S.-based GreatCall was founded in 2006 and started its business by selling Jitterbug, a cellphone for the elderly with a touchpad displaying oversized letters and numbers. In the last two years, however, the company has dived into digital services business through acquisition and internal development.
GreatCall bought HealthSense, a remote monitoring service provider, in 2016. In the same year, it also began to sell Lively, a wrist or neck wearable device, and set up a call center for automatic fall notification. The device costs US$50 and the monitoring plan starts at US$19.99 per month.
“We have a great opportunity to serve the needs of these (senior) customers by combining GreatCall’s expertise with Best Buy’s unique merchandising, marketing, sales and services capabilities,” says Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy, in a statement.
“We look forward to the opportunities we have in the health space and the strengths we can bring to bear in this area, especially our experience with technology and serving customers in their home,” Joly adds.
Best Buy recently introduced a new program called Assured Living, using mobiles, sensors and smart home healthcare technology to help family members or caregivers remotely check on the health and safety of seniors at home.
Smart home devices such as indoor cameras can be installed in the homes of seniors living independently. With a monitoring service, family members or caregivers can track data on sensors from a mobile app or online dashboard. The sensors will show whether seniors opened the medicine cabinet or refrigerator and their quality of sleep and activity levels.
Best Buy wants to use its more than 1,000 store networks to sell the program, which includes an entry-level package of digital healthcare gadgets for US$400 with a US$199 installation fee and a monitoring service for US$29 per month.
The acquisition of GreatCall will give Best Buy a new platform to expand its Assured Living program. GreatCall claims to have 900,000 subscribers using its digital products and services.