Essence to release mobile solution

Rafi Zauer calls Care@Home Active a ‘step forward’ for mPERS
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

HERZLIYA, Israel—Essence announced a new PERS product for a more mobile demographic today, the Care@Home Active, which Essence’s head of marketing Rafi Zauer called a “seamless extension of current PERS capabilities.”

This is the company’s first foray into mobile monitoring in PERS. Care@Home Active is not a traditional mPERS solution, Zauer explained, because the wearable device uses RF communication to a PERS unit while the user is home and uses Bluetooth connectivity with a smartphone when the user is away.

“We really think it's a step forward for what mPERS today provides,” Zauer told Security Systems News.

The company had a soft launch of the product for ISC West and a full launch is planned around Catalyst—Affiliated Monitoring’s annual PERS-focused conference—and ESX.

“The obvious question is: How many seniors have smartphones now-a-days? There’s ample evidence … [smartphone use] is going to become almost ubiquitous over the next few years with seniors for several reasons,” Zauer said. “The availability of old phones, or non-smartphones is depleting. … Plus, the baby boomers in the next few years are becoming seniors themselves, and we know baby boomers use smartphones almost across the board.”

Zauer expects this offering will be “very attractive for seniors who are already more active.” The product can then accompany the user as they continue to age. “They can keep their same system and it will still be relevant to their new lifestyle,” Zauer said.

The Care@Home Active attacks several problems of traditional mPERS devices, Zauer said. MPERS devices have faced challenges with needing to be frequently recharged; the Care@Home Active’s battery life is about two years.

“There’s nothing to recharge and there’s nothing to forget,” he said. “You just need to get up, take whatever you would normally take when you leave the house, and seamlessly—the care, the safety or protection that you get inside the house is extended to wherever you go.”

This model can also help with connectivity. “A lot of the service charge going to mPERS is in the cellular connectivity itself,” Zauer said. “An individual will often select [their] cellular provider based on the compatibility of where they live,” he continued, and other traditional mPERS may not have the same cellular coverage in their area.

“There’s no way of not noticing the strength of the mPERS market. We saw, of course, that we needed to be in the mPERS market. But, we saw some deficiencies in what existed today.”

The Care@Home Active has a roadmap ahead of it, Zauer said. “This isn’t the end of the line for the Care@Home Active. … [Currently,] all of the alerts go to the family member and the monitoring center. The next level of what we’re doing now, is creating a user experience for the senior person themselves.”

While the Care@Home Active is going to be initially integrated to Essence’s PERS system, the offering could be offered as a standalone system working with the user’s phone in the future, he said.

The company also plans on a tighter integration with Amazon Echo, according to Zauer, as well as incorporating more analytics.