The idea of sensors and monitoring seems to set off fears of privacy and “big brother” when discussed in relation to keeping “track” of someone’s activities or actions around the home. Park that conspiracy theory and think about the logical benefits technology can bring to some very simple situations – like caring for your elderly relatives who are living at home – perhaps alone.
Enter Lively – the “Smart Home” solution aimed at our elderly but with potential applications in a range of places and ways there are no cameras, no microphones – just sensors which detect the movement of the most mundane things.
Let’s say you’ve got an elderly relative – lets call her “Nanna”. Nanna is in her 90’s, super keen to stay at home, does a great job looking after herself, but as happens with age is more susceptible to worrying things like falls in the home which could mean she is left stranded till next time you come round, or call – if the phone is even in reach.
There are plenty of “smart alert” systems which have “back to base” technology where the elderly can press a button and call for help. But what about when things are just not happening as and when they should.
For example, Nanna is on medication – but she hasn’t touched her pill-box since last night. And it’s now 11am. That’s not right.
Or perhaps Nanna hasn’t opened the fridge in 12 or 18 hours – surely she needs a drink? Should we be worried?
Until now, these kind of simple little things required a probing question during a “check in” phone call – “have you taken your pills today?” – “are you eating enough?”, perhaps these calls would be better spent talking about the weather and family than making Nanna feel like you have to ask about every little thing.
Lively is a very simple concept. An internet connected hub, which has six or more sensors available to be placed on and around your home. One on the pill-box, one on the cutlery drawer, one on the fridge door, or on the water bottle, one on the pantry cupboard, one on the front or back door.
The idea is to be aware of what’s happening without being intrusive – you don’t know what Nanna got out of the fridge, you just know she’s going there, and that’s good.
An internet connection, or a WiFi network is not common place in the homes of our elderly, so Lively bypasses that requirement – built into the hub is a SIM card which connects to the mobile network and can access the outside world that way.
Once setup, permission can be granted for one or many family members to access a dashboard of information, or get email alerts when certain rules are not met – like the pills not being touches.
Next time you call up, no need to ask about the pills or the fridge, you can tell Nanna how the great-grandkids are going.
The product is being sold in Australia by the iconic Hills company, the people who brought the Hills Hoist clothes line to the world is now looking at innovations like this for the future.
A Lively starter pack is $175 and comes with 6 sensors, and the ongoing cost is just $19.95 per month which gives you that 24/7 connectivity.
As an added little bonus, and something very much fun – there’s also a “Livelygram” included within that price. Each and every month you can share a bunch of photos like your Instagram or Facebook pics of the kids, and Lively will physically print them out and post them to Nanna. Very cool idea.
Frankly, for $20 a month it’s not even worth thinking twice about.
Sure the first conversation explaining the concept and what you’re “monitoring” will be complex – but it will be well worth it.
Available at http://www.mylively.com.au/
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.