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Seniors a growing focus of smart home devices

With an aging population, an opportunity exists in the smart home market for passive monitoring of habits and patterns of older people living independently, according to Blake Kozak, principal analyst, IHS Technology.


May 17, 2016
By SP&T Staff
SP&T Staff

By 2020 the global senior population is expected to exceed 600 million. Kozak feels that the increasing proportion of seniors, will lead to an emphasis on home care over assisted living care, whenever possible.

According to the latest information from the IHS Smart Home Intelligence Service, the global market for digital healthcare products was worth about $15 billion in 2015. Clinical care represents the lion’s share of this revenue, led by unit shipments of consumer medical devices. In 2015 only about 25 per cent of the digital healthcare market had a level of connectivity conducive for smart home integration, but that percentage is projected to increase to about 30 per cent by 2020, Kozak reports.

With the global cost of health care rising, providers are being forced to reduce costs, even as they are expected to improve outcomes. By implementing precise biometric-monitoring equipment in the home, the opportunity to predict care needs and monitor adherence will lower the overall cost of care and readmissions, say IHS analysts.

This is where the opportunity for smart home begins. Since most multiple service operators (MSOs) and security providers are not Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliant and are not permitted to provide medical recommendations, the long-term opportunity lies with passive monitoring of habits and patterns of older people living independently, Kozak explains.

In order to increase the penetration of home care, motion sensors, plugs, lighting, thermostats and mobile personal emergency response systems (mPERS) will all play a vital role in the future of aging in place, Kozak predicts.

Clinical-grade equipment may no longer be the only devices collecting data. “With fewer than 150 thousand monitored accounts globally in 2015, the market for independent living is untapped for now, but it won’t be for long,” he comments.

These independent-living solutions can provide peace of mind for family members who care for elderly people – allowing them to remain connected at a much greater level than what a personal emergency response system (PERS) can offer, says Kozak. “In addition, independent-living solutions play an integral role in outcome-based care, providing physicians and direct-care professionals with a comprehensive view of a patient’s daily activities, helping to confirm adherence to medication and other medical regimens, in addition to promoting independence for capable seniors.”