IBM and Nokia develop Aging in Place solution to help elderly in their homes

‘Getting old is not for sissies’, said Bette Davis, famously. That’s certainly true – and for many it’s a subject we prefer to ignore, especially if it’s happening to us. But it’s also true that aging is better than the alternative, and increasingly, technology is helping us see the way to a better quality of life in our old age.

Offering personalized wellness solutions with IoT

One such assistive initiative comes from IBM and Nokia, and it’s called ‘Aging in Place’. The solution is designed to help monitor the health and wellness of elderly people within their own homes, enabling them to stay put for as long as possible and deferring the need for assistive living care.

In December 2016, IBM opened an ‘Aging in Place’ environment in its Austin Research Lab, to try and understand the types of interactions elderly people have in their homes. Using insights from this research, Nokia and IBM have developed the Aging in Place solution, which was announced at this year’s Genius of Things event in Boston. The solution combines motion sensors in the home, a Nokia IoT-enabled wellness watch, Nokia Gateway, IBM Watson IoT Platform and Nokia Wellness applications. Together, these platforms and devices can provide personalized wellness patterns tailored to each individual, and provide early warning notifications if something seems wrong.

People using the system can elect to automatically notify select friends and family as well as care givers at certain points in the day – either to assure them that all is well, or make sure they are on the scene as quickly as possible should the occasion call for it.

Pilot and deployment

While thoroughly tested in laboratory conditions, the solution has yet to hit the market. To ensure that it’s fit for purpose, Aging in Place will be deployed as part of a pilot scheme involving 40 participants, for the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB) – an internet services provider in Tennessee. Following a successful pilot, the solution will be promoted to EPB’s existing customer base of around 140,000 subscribers.

It’s early days yet, but interest in Aging in Place is high. It could help prevent avoidable accidents and help elderly people keep in touch with loved ones, while giving them a comprehensive care solution that still leaves room for independence and privacy.

Learn more

To learn more about IBM’s work on aging and care of the elderly, visit our website.

The post IBM and Nokia develop Aging in Place solution to help elderly in their homes appeared first on Internet of Things blog.

Internet of Things blog

How will IoT change the lives of our aging population?

K4Connect

How do we conceptualize aging and disability in an era where there’s a heady excitement about a future reality that surpasses our current lived experiences of health and old age? Consider future tech such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a growing movement of people into posthumanism and of course fiction like the TV series Black Mirror with the incredibly poignant San Junipero episode giving a fictional account of life beyond our physical beings.

See also: Will data analytics change our healthcare system?

With these thoughts in mind, it’s not every day that you talk to a hugely successful tech entrepreneur who comes out of retirement to create a company serving the aged and people with disabilities. CEO and co-founder of K4Connect, Scott Moody has done just that.

You may recall Moody as the co-founder of AuthenTec, a company that provided mobile security software licenses to mobile manufacturing companies and biometrics sensor technology, such as fingerprint sensors and NFC technology to mobile and computer manufacturers. The company was acquired by Apple, in 2o12 for $ 356 million.

From tech security to health and well-being

Today Moody heads a team of technologists intent on improving the health and well-being of the aged and people with disabilities. I met with Moody to learn about his new venture. Their first product, K4Community, leverages the power of our platform to deliver technology to the tens of millions of older adults living in senior living communities.

Their mission is to serve the underserved with the belief that technology shouldn’t be just about the next generation but every generation. K4Community is specifically designed and tailored for the residents of senior living facilities, through three central pillars: Helping to make life simpler  (integrated smart home); healthier (connected wellness); and happier (social engagement). As Moody explained:

“We’re  a mission centered technology companies really serving older adults and those living with disabilities and we achieve this through a software platform (which we call a connected life platform)  to integrate all aspects of your life into a single application. This means a more independent life a that is oriented around IoT.  This includes home automation, such as thermostats, sensors, door locks and video doorbells. Then we wrap in healthier elements so that connected wellness and home products connect such as a garment activity tracker to a scale, a blood pressure monitor and tele-monitors.

The happier element is that as your mobility is becoming reduced, the whole idea of being able to provide or keep a connection with family and friends. So those are things like video chat or Audio Chat, messaging, picture sharing.”

The K4 platform is a patented software platform that is open, modular and scalable. As Moody explains,

“One of the things that we’ve done is while everybody ran to the cloud we actually use a combination of the cloud and edge process. So you know if your internet is down, if your wifi is down, your house continues to live, the latency is exceedingly quick, So if grandma is getting out of bed at 2 a.m. in the morning, you want the light to come on almost immediately. You don’t want to delay it 20 or 30 seconds.”

The adoption rate of K4Connect’s technology amongst senior residents is impressive. Moody says:

“In the 11 communities that have K4Community installed,  100% actually use the home automation features. They may not use the app but they use the home automation. Lights are coming on automatically when they get out of bed. Thermostats are changing automatically depending on the time of day to make rooms comfortable or to aid sleep. And then 75% of the clients are using the app, on average for about 15 minutes a day. I know that if you had a Silicon Valley company come out and say that 75% of their target demographic use their app, it would be pretty big. 15 minutes a day is as much as you see on pinterest or almost anyone besides Facebook.”

 

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The value of IoT data to health diagnostics and research

Intrinsic to the work of K4Connect is the value of the data technology that is delivered through the home automation, wearables and social enhancement. Telemedicine is gradually become a reality, enabling people to access remote medical services from the comfort of their homes. As Moody explains, a smart home is able to enhance this experience:

“The doctor can see if you’ve been getting out of bed at night or restless at night. They can see a record of your heart rate and other body metrics from wearable tech. They know whether you’ve bee leaving the home or talking to family, meaning that they have a greater body of information than they could glean in a simple 10-minute visit in the doctor’s surgery.

One of the things that I find about older adults is that they are very willing to participate in studies to not only help themselves but help others so I think that in time we will be a ready resource for research through those volunteers.  Just think, if you want to try out a new Multiple Sclerosis medication. You’re not only trying out the medication, all of a sudden we have all this other information we can provide separate to what is ascertained on their visit to the research clinic. We’re this platform where you can integrate a lot of different features, e.g. how much they’re sleeping, how much they’re communicating how much they’re moving around.  All of this information that we can provide to that study that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

K4Connect is at work on two related products, Casework home care which is for professional home care providers providing a service to clients in their homes and K4Life, a product for clients living in their own homes.  With our rapidly aging population, we can expect this to be just the beginning.

The post How will IoT change the lives of our aging population? appeared first on ReadWrite.

ReadWrite

Alexa And Aging: More On Voice As THE Interface For “SmartAging”

I predict every elderly person will soon have a personal home assistant, ready to respond to their every command.

However, that home health aide may not be human. Instead, it may sit on the kitchen counter and look suspiciously like Amazon’s breakthough IoT device, The Echo.

The late Mark Weiser, “the father of the Internet of Things,” famously stated that “the best computer is a quiet, invisible servant,” and that’s certainly the potential with Echo, or the just-announced Google Assistant (how sexy is that name? I like the fact it’s so impersonal—let’s fire one voice “assistant” and hire another without becoming personally attached, LOL), or the long-rumored Apple version, which might also include a camera (disclaimer: while I work part-time at an Apple Store, I ain’t privy to any inside dope, no way, no how).

Weiser’s statement is particularly true when it comes to seniors, and my SmartAging vision of an IoT-based future combines quantified self-health-monitoring devices that can motivate seniors to improve their fitness levels, and smart home devices that can make it easier to manage their homes as they age, avoiding costly and soul-deadening institutionalization. Even better, why not combine the two, as with one of my favorite IFTTT “recipes:” Program your Jawbone to wake you gently at the best time in your sleep cycle, and gradually turn on your hue lights. How better for a senior — or anyone — to start their day on a positive note? (OK, I know what you’re thinking: Better turn on the coffeemaker automatically!)

What really got me thinking about the advantages of a voice-activated future for seniors was a recent story about a similar app or the other end of the age spectrum, developed by our children’s hospital, for Alexa: KidsMD. What better for a harried mom or dad with a sick child than to simply ask for advice on temperature, fever, and the like? That got me thinking that the same would apply to seniors needing advice with some of the unwanted aspects of aging (I could mention here an example from a senior I care for, but that would be most unpleasant…).

As I’ve said before, this would be helpful under any circumstances, but when the person needing help is a frail, tech-averse senior, it would be superb if s/he needed only to speak a simple command or request to get help or advice on something such as the proper amount of an over-the-counter drug to take.

There are tons of other life-improving reasons for such an approach for seniors, including:

Of course—and I can’t emphasize this enough, especially since seniors are already victims of so many scamming tricks—because these counter-top devices are always on, listening to you,  and because much of their possible use could be for reporting confidential health or financial data, privacy and security must be the top priority in designing any kind of voice-activated app or device for seniors. Think of them as the canaries in the coal mine in this regard: protecting vulnerable seniors’ privacy and security should be the acid test of all voice-activated apps and devices for people of all ages.

Having said all that, as I noted in a piece last week about what a stunning combination of services Amazon has put together to become the dominant player in the retail IoT sector, one of those offerings is the $ 100 million Alexa Fund to fuel advances in the voice-activated arena.

I’m ready to put their money where my mouth is (LOL) to design voice-activated devices and services for seniors.  If you’d like to partner, email me!

For more on how cutting-edge tech is improving lives, see Precision Medicine: A New Social Contract For Healthcare.


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