ONKÖL begins production

Company combines home and health technologies in one unit
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

MILWAUKEE—ONKÖL aims to unify a variety of home technologies in one unit and is officially rolling out its products this week.

“The ability for us to do connect health and connected home out of one unit is basically a huge advantage for us,” Marc Cayle, founder of ONKÖL, told Security Systems News. The system connects to home health technologies, such as blood pressure cuffs or PERS devices, as well as smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, door and window sensors, pressure mats, motion sensors.

Prior to founding ONKÖL, Cayle gained experience in the aging-in-place market owning three in-home care agencies. ONKÖL got funded in February 2013, according to Cayle. The system “has to be simple and easy. To make it simple and easy took 4 years of R&D and software engineering and there’s a lot that went into it.”

“It’s really through feet on the street experience that this was developed,” Cayle said. ONKÖL has been field-testing the unit. “We had about 50 units in the field for over a year, everywhere from individuals in their homes to individuals in senior facilities,” Cayle said. “Call centers were testing them and in-home agencies were testing them.”

Cayle described the requirements he gained through feedback: “It had to be beautiful; because people didn’t want an ugly emergency hub in their house that screamed that they were sick and frail,” he said. The housing of the system is partly made out of wood to aide the resonance and clarity of the speaker.

“It had to be really simple, which is why—literally—there is one button on the front that you interact with based on events and that’s it,” Cayle said. The button will change colors and functionality in coordination with different events, such as when pairing new peripheral devices, canceling panic alarms or for timed medication reminders.

The system also needed an open architecture “so that any peripheral, whether it’s health or home, could connect to it easily,” cellular for easy install and dropship delivery, and remotely configurable, he continued. The system’s cellular capability also allows for easy firmware updates as new technologies are released.

“Anyone can remotely configure these devices, from a phone, a tablet, or their computer, in just a few minutes. It’s very easy to do,” Cayle said.

ONKÖL is currently working on integrating with several wholesale monitoring centers, Cayle said, but declined to release which companies. Cayle said he is looking for monitoring centers that can handle threshold events, when certain health readings or activities, break predefined parameters.

Aspects of the system, such as activity tracking, PERS alerts, and medication reminders can be professionally monitored.

The system will also aide care agencies. “When the emergency alert happens, the call center will be dropping notes into the portal,” Cayle said, including information on PERS signals, response, and whether the user is currently at a hospital. This portal will also give relatives and caregivers information on various aspects of the user’s health and home.

In addition to monitoring center partners and their dealers, ONKÖL is working with medical equipment distributors, in-home care agencies and wellness companies.

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