Connected health solutions are on the rise

John Carpenter
Wednesday December 12, 2018
Written by John Carpenter
Physically active baby boomers, now in their 60s, are creating the need for more mobile options

Everyone is familiar with the traditional PERS (Personal Emergency Response) device that sits on a counter, plugs into a phone line, and features one large red button that is pressed in the event of an emergency.

While these traditional PERS devices are still being sold today, a new wave of modern mobile PERS (mPERS) solutions are taking the connected health industry by storm, meeting the demands of a far more active generation of seniors while offering significant new revenue opportunities for security dealers.

A new generation of active customers

Historically, PERS has been a somewhat limited category of security sales, since the average age of the device buyer is around 81-years old. Traditional PERS devices are stationary; they only work within the home and not outside of it. And, once purchased, the devices are used for an average of 18 months — eliminating the opportunity for any potential meaningful recurring revenue for security dealers.

Fortunately, mPERS is changing the game completely, targeting seniors that are more youthful and more active, and therefore need a solution that is well-adapted to users on-the-go. As the baby-boomer generation approaches their mid-60s, they are more engaged with sports, exercise, work, and travel than any other generation in history.

So, why would active and healthy seniors need an mPERS device? Even though the new generation of seniors is mobile, the reality is that one out of every three people over the age of 65 will experience a fall that requires medical attention. And, once they have fallen, they are three times more likely to fall again.

That’s why the market is looking for a modern mobile solution –– and it’s a need that security dealers can capitalize on right now.

Technology is expanding the customer base from individuals to families

Today’s mPERS devices are equipped with advanced technology that relays critical information to more stakeholders than ever before, greatly expanding a security professional’s potential customer base.

Most notably, new solutions are able to upload information into a cloud-based service that makes a wide range of information accessible to concerned family members. This development is simultaneously keeping seniors safe, while also allowing security dealers to use a subscription-based model for recurring revenue generation.

The information that is acquired by an mPERS device and then uploaded to the cloud is getting increasingly more detailed, which entices more and more family members to subscribe. For example, one of the biggest innovations in the mPERS industry today is detailed fall detection. Historically, most PERS devices include an accelerometer, which can determine whether or not someone has fallen. Today’s solutions include a magnetometer and a gyroscope, which measures specific details of the fall and the twist motion.

A modern mPERS device can send the fall data to the cloud service, where it is compared automatically to 3,000 different fall types, then matched and identified. Therefore, mPERS devices can tell the difference between a fall from the chair, an accidental drop of the device to the floor, and a heart attack.

These developments allow family members to get more involved in the monitoring process, with minimized false negatives. It also opens up an entirely new customer based in addition to the user.

Currently, 70 per cent of these devices are purchased by family members and care givers. Therefore it is important to provide them with services to keep them involved with their loved ones and their device. With cloud-based services, such as the Numera EverThere, families can login on their mobile device and check the status of their senior family member’s device. They can set personalized notifications. For example, they can configure the system to send them a ping if the device has been inactive for 24-hours, or if the battery is low and needs to be charged.

Dealers can sell more solutions to more family members because there are more solutions that directly cater to families, as opposed to just the individual users. More potential customers equates to more potential sales.

New market opportunities

In addition to selling to family members, security dealers can begin targeting health professionals — a new commercial market that can benefit from cloud-based service mPERS solutions.

mPERS devices equipped with Bluetooth functionality help to connect medical devices directly to health-care agencies or hospitals that seek to monitor chronically ill patients. mPERS devices can monitor a user’s vitals, such as blood pressure, and automatically upload these results to medical professionals through the unit, opening up an entirely new market of health professionals for potential sales.

Other commercial markets will also begin adopting mPERS solutions. For example, the lone worker market is a primary industry that could greatly benefit from the ability of equipping remote employees with an mPERS device. This includes oil, gas, and mining industries as well as sales, delivery, or driving services.

In the next few years, these advancing technologies will only keep adding new customer markets. We expect to see even more technological developments similar to that within the smart home industry, including voice commands and voice recognition, that make devices more personalized and easier to control.

Security dealers don’t need to wait to capitalize on the opportunity to sell more to more potential customers. The technology is here — so, what are you waiting for?

John Carpenter is the vice-president of channel engagement at Nortek Security & Control.

This story appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of SP&T Magazine.

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