Smart Home Technologies For Mature Homeowners

2016 research by The Hartford and The MIT AgeLab revealed their Top 10 Smart Home Technologies For Mature Homeowners (press release below).

They conducted joint research to better understand which smart home technologies may benefit homeowners over the age of 50 and get their perspectives on smart home technology. This research involved an extensive review of new smart home technologies by leading experts in housing, aging, and technology and an online survey of homeowners.

Top 10 Smart Home Technologies

Smart home technologies that may make life easier, help with home
maintenance, and enhance safety and security for homeowners 50+.

Top 10 Smart Home Technologies
Read More …

Interoperability in a Connected World

Can’t We All Just Get Along? Interoperability in a Connected World
was first published in CABA iHomes and Buildings.

By Lee Gruenfeld, Autumn 2016

The lack of Interoperability in a Connected World keeps Home Automation from reaching its potential.

Mark Moz, Creative Commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

“Can’t we all just get along?” The answer to that question about interoperability in a connected world is unfortunately, “No.”

Sorry. Wish I had better news. But there are some very good reasons why the ideal of everything in the Internet of Things blithely communicating with all the other things isn’t going to happen, at least not in the next few years, and not smoothly if it ever does. Read More …

Home Automation Shows Promise for Seniors, but HomeKit Isn’t the Answer – Yet

By Beth Kelly

Home automation has been a mixed blessing for senior citizens and those who provide their care. Individual assistive technologies and comprehensive smart home “ecosystems” are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and they’re more capable than ever of understanding older user’s needs and capabilities.

The development of comprehensive home technology platforms – such as Apple’s HomeKit and Google’s Home – has accelerated hopes that technology’s role in senior care will continue to make rapidly meaningful strides, via the ever-widening Internet of Things (IoT).

Smart Home applications of IoT

Integrating Disparate Subsystems

Read More …

Wireless Networks and Electromagnetic Radiation

Schumann Resonance

RESONANCE is eye-opening documentary, revealing the biological harm from and health impact of wireless networks and electromagnetic radiation. The entire documentary is included here with some added comments. Most troubling to me are the long-term effects of electromagnetic radiation on cellular structures, cancer, and Melatonin, an important antioxidant and sleep-inducing hormone. Read More …

The Smart Home Mess

The networking Tower of Babel contributes to the Smart Home Mess.

I often write about Smart Home technologies that can help seniors or people with disabilities live independently and safely at home, but I also criticize the media and marketers for their excessive hype and for ignoring the smart home mess.

The Smart Home Mess

Today’s posting is my response to, an excellent article by Stacey Higginbotham, published yesterday in FORBES.

The most insightful quote from this article is, “The smart home, for better or worse, is an ecosystem. And so far, most companies are trying to make it a platform.”

MY COMMENT: Even a SMART Home ecosystem, if it targets DIY consumers, is not very smart and will likely fail to reach mass market adoption. That’s because it puts Consumer’s in the role of systems integrator, in a complex ecosystem with competing standards and retail confusion. Read More …

New technologies to prevent senior injuries at home

Fall Risk - ActiveProtective's airbags for pedestrians help prevent senior injuries at home

By Daniel Lewis

Airbags for Pedestrians

There’s no doubt that people are living longer now than ever before. That’s largely because of advancements in medicine and technology, and these advancements mean that hundreds of thousands of elderly people can now live on their own and enjoy a more fulfilling life. However, a simple fall can change all that; and falls are the most common way seniors injure themselves. Here’s just one of the new technologies that help prevent senior injuries at home.

It’s not always easy to prevent our loved ones from falling at home, because we just can’t be there all the time to keep an eye on them! Thankfully, however, technology is coming to the rescue again!

Automatically inflated car airbags deploy in microseconds to take the brunt of an impact and have saved thousands of lives. There have even been airbags designed for use when riding a motorcycle. And now ActiveProtective’s smart belt is an airbag for the waist, designed to prevent hip fractures. Built-in 3D sensors can detect when someone is falling and, just like the car airbags, air bags will inflate down the side of the hips to protecting them. Early tests have shown a 90% reduction in the force of impact. The product should be available at the end of 2016. What do you think?

Some related articles about preventing falls include:

Wearable sensors

A relatively new product to the market is the wearable sensor, the most advanced versions of which can monitor heartbeat, breathing patterns and even learn the routines of the wearer. They can send this information to you and, most importantly, tell you if there’s a significant change in normal patterns. This will alert you in case an emergency or other issue; whether they have injured themselves.

Some related articles about wearable sensors include:

OnStar for PeopleUnaliwear Kanega watch can help prevent senior injuries

It is now possible to buy a voice-controlled smart watch for seniors that can be worn all the time, even in water, and that does not need a phone subscription. Unaliwear’s Kanega will start shipping in the summer of 2016 and includes its own cellular and GPS capability. For someone who is lost, the watch provides voice directing the way home. It can connect to an emergency service if needed and even reminds you to take your pills. A built-in accelerometer can detect falls and lack of response and make emergency calls on your behalf, directing first responders to your location. In many ways, this is the latest and most advanced watch to date.

Wireless sensors

It’s become easy to fit your senior’s home with a variety of wireless sensors, connected to either a phone system or the Internet. They can then detect if someone has fallen and automatically alert emergency services. Researchers are also studying how these sensors can give an early warning system by identifying deviations from learned patterns. Sensors can beep when approaching a trip hazard to a fall before it happens.

The same wireless sensor systems that turn on lights or track motion patterns to detect or prevent a fall can also be linked with home security systems to detect an intrusion.

Google's NEST thermostat is just one of the wireless sensors that can help prevent senior injuries at home

PROVO, UT – JANUARY 16: In this photo illustration, a Nest thermostat is being adjusted in a home on January 16, 2014 in Provo, Utah. Google bought Nest, a home automation company, for $3.2 billion taking Google further into the home ecosystem. (Photo illustration by George Frey/Getty Images)

Some related articles about wireless sensors include:

There is no doubt that technology will make life easier and safer for all elderly people. However, in special circumstances your loved one may have to be put in a nursing home. Today’s care homes are no longer cold and unappealing; quite the opposite. There are high-tech facilities with 24/7 surveillance and advanced technology to help your seniors recover and sustain their mental abilities for as long as possible. Why should you risk their wellbeing when you can do what’s best for them and their health? Make a sensible choice and allow these new technologies to prevent your loved ones from getting hurt.

About the Author

Daniel Lewis is interested in writing about health and fitness related issues. He has a deep knowledge of this field and writes for a site (http://www.foresthc.com/) providing elderly care homes and retirement villages.

Digital Health at CES 2016

Digital Health at CES

EDITOR:  The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest trade shows and conferences in the world, with well over 150,000 attendees, including more than 30,000 international attendees from 140 countries. Each January they come to Las Vegas, NV to see the latest tech products from over 3,000 exhibitors or showcase their own. Nowhere else on earth can you see and experience so much in such a short space of time. That’s why I love attending, but now I do it without the expense and hassle of traveling there.

For background, I’ve attended big technology shows like COMDEX & CES as an exhibitor, speaker or attendee for some 30 years, and while still at IBM I organized one of the first Hot Spots (now TechZones). It was for Home Networking just after I introduced IBM to the Connected Home concept (in 1994) and while I held leadership positions in some industry standards groups.

My CES coverage starts with an article by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn about what to expect, which first appeared in Huffington Post. It’s followed by links to Related Articles that you won’t want to miss if you’re a tech geek like me. Read More …

How Technology is Changing Home Security

By Janet Miller, Yoga Instructor, Nutritionist, and Work at Home Mom

EDITOR: Janet wrote the following article for Huffington Post (see original), presented here with my additional insights and recommendations. 

Surveillance Cameras are Changing Home Security

7 Ways Technology is Changing Home Security

Technology has radically changed the way we protect our homes. What was previously only possible in Sci-Fi movies is now gradually becoming reality. The digital revolution has made its way into our homes.

1. Remote Monitoring: Remote monitoring is a great way to keep an eye on the home when you are at school or work, or on your second home. Even if you are vacationing on a beach miles away, you can still receive real time videos and photos of what is going on at home. Some of the features monitoring systems now provide include the ability to arm and disarm security systems, send fire or intrusion alerts, and stream security camera feeds. Read More …

The Trouble with Home Automation at Retail

I’m sharing a link to a detailed article on home automation because of how this technology can simplify aging-in-place. It has some good analysis of the different product platforms and the retailers promoting them.

Target, Sears and the Trouble with Home Automation at Retail

Sears Connected Solutions: flagship home automation experience center in San Bruno, Calif. (CLICK IMAGE to view slide show)

By Julie Jacobson, CE Pro Magazine

Target and Sears build impressive showcases for home automation, but the breadth of offerings and confusion around ‘smart home hubs’ expose inherent flaws of retail IoT channel.

… It seems every major brick-and-mortar retailer has gotten into the IoT business in the past year or two, usually with flagship home automation launch partners – Home Depot (Revolv and Wink), Best Buy (Peq), Staples (Connect), Lowe’s (Iris) and to a sad degree Walmart.

Amazon established its online home automation shop in 2013, which brings us to the Sears smart-home initiative. … (MORE)

My Comment (directed at industry professionals)

I’ve known Julie Jacobson for years, think of her as a true expert in this field, and loved her in-depth analysis in this article. I’ll be sure to link to it in comments on some of my own articles, including http://www.mhealthtalk.com/elusive-smart-home/. Read More …

Apple and The Future of Homebuilding

Apple announces HomeKit

Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks about the Apple HomeKit at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Can Apple influence the future of homebuilding? 

I’ve long been critical of SmartHome marketing hype, and I’ve not been a fan of using speech commands to control home devices, but a Forbes article last week got me thinking and inspired today’s posting. (See Here’s How Apple’s Siri Will Control Your House Under HomeKit Program.)

Apple Understands Accessibility

Homebuilders can learn a lot from Apple when it comes to making homes more accessible and easier to live in. For the most part builders still focus too much on what potential buyers can see in the model home, such as marble entries, granite countertops, textured walls with rounded corners, and Moën faucets with lever handles. They don’t focus enough on foundations, insulation, infrastructure, and design elements for aging-in-place, although this is starting to change. Read More …

Apple TV 2.0? — If I were Tim Cook

Apple TV

Will there be an Apple TV 2.0?

Apple, if you’re listening, here’s some free advice from my decades of Digital Home experience that I don’t mind sharing, since you’re not likely to hire me at my age, and I really do want an enhanced Apple TV. Yesterday, Business Insider wrote that you have an ambitious plan to take over the home, but I’m not sure you know how.

You may have already read The Elusive Smart Home, where I present a video of the RCA-Whirlpool Miracle Kitchen from 1957 and argue that still no one, including Apple, seems to know what it will take to make that Smart Home vision a mainstream reality. Apple, with its Apple HomeKit, however, has real potential when combined with Apple HealthKit and ResearchKit, especially if the company follows my advice and executes right. Read More …

Caretakers harness the Internet of Things

What Caretakers Can Do RIGHT NOW to Harness the Power of the Internet of Things

By Beth Kelly

SThe Internet of Thingsocial technology and home automation have moved upstream. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, nearly one-third of seniors own a tablet or e-book reader. Almost 50 percent of seniors own high-speed Internet access and browse the Web at least 3-5 times per week.

These typing, Skyping, texting seniors are the next beneficiaries of the Internet of things (IoT), the growing network of WiFi-enabled appliances, wearable sensors, automated security systems and other connected devices. For instance, researchers at UCLA are investigating how to use WearSens, a piezoelectric necklace, to remotely monitor breathing patterns of recovering surgery patients. BrainAid offers the PEAT smartphone app to help seniors with memory loss live independently with scheduling assistance.

The revolution is now. Here’s how to get involved. Read More …

How to Make a Smart Bed for your Smart Bedroom

Luna

Here’s you can make a smart bed for your smart bedroom.

Because good sleep so closely tied to good health, I’ve posted dozens of articles about sleep, including many about technology and how artificial lights interfere with our biological clocks and sleep-wake cycle. I’ve also been working with Dr. Bruce Meleski to open Intelligent Sleep, a new sleep wellness and brain health center here in Austin. We’re doing some pretty cool stuff with metabolic, neurosensory, and behavioral therapies, and we’re promoting a vision of the Smart Bedroom. So today’s post is about a new product we hope to carry and that I think you’ll like. (video below) Read More …

The Elusive Smart Home

With the annual Consumer Electronics Show starting next week, the news media is filled with marketing hype about the elusive Smart Home market, which is nearly as misdirected today as it was in 1957. Watch this video of the RCA-Whirlpool® Miracle Kitchen and ask how many of those products you can buy today.

Whirlpool was wrong 58 years ago when it introduced its Miracle Kitchen, and I think it’s wrong about home automation today too. All the company did was offer a Smart Home vision that never crossed the chasm to mass-market adoption. The problem wasn’t a lack of sensors, actuators, electronics, or network standards, but marketing and the inability to understand consumer needs and wants, or the ability to show a value proposition or deliver a solution with ease of use and affordability.

I still have seen no company that “gets it” or knows how to deliver the smart home vision — not Whirlpool and not Apple or Microsoft or Google or Philips or BestBuy. A lot of innovation has occurred in the last 50-some years that is getting us closer to that vision, including smartphones and the Internet of Things, but there are still many marketing barriers that these companies don’t seem to understand. Read More …

Bluetooth versus ZigBee and Z-Wave

Bluetooth Competition

Dave Mayne of Resolution Products discusses security, home automation, ZigBee 3.0, Z-Wave, Bluetooth Low Energy and mesh networks.

My friend Julie Jacobson wrote a piece in CE Pro magazine about her interview with Dave Mayne of Resolution Products about three standards competing for wireless domination. Today’s article features my response.

Bluetooth versus ZigBee and Z-Wave

Anyone working with wireless networks, medical devices, home automation, or The Internet of Things should benefit from understanding lessons learned with HomeRF and why it ultimately lost out as the preferred standard for wireless home networking. Here’s a subset of history from http://www.cazitech.com/HomeRF_Archives.htm

Read More …

Make Remote Monitoring Simple

Evermind MonitorsEvermind has a cool idea and product that in my mind can make remote monitoring simple and less intrusive, tracking deviations from everyday activities such as making coffee, watching TV, or turning on lamps.

Details are still scarce since the company has just secured funding to commercialize the product, but I see real potential as long as the cost of the device and monitoring service is reasonable. Watch the video below for more information or read the funding announcement at MEDCITY News. Read More …

Top Home Tech for Seniors [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Tech for Seniors and Caregivers infographic courtesy of Home Access Products.

With innovations in health care, medicine, and nutrition, it’s no surprise that Americans are getting older. By 2030, nearly 20% of Americans will be over 65– and nearly 90% of them want to stay in their own homes as they age.

As aging in place continues to rise, seniors are increasingly looking towards technology to stay safe and connected. From personal alert systems to cell phones and tablets, seniors are embracing technology and all of its benefits. Whether aging seniors are tech-savvy, or prefer simple ways of communicating at home, these products and services can assist seniors with safety, entertainment, health/wellness, communication, and assistance. Read More …

Apple to enter Home Automation market?

Apple, Home Automation & Smart Aging by Stealth

guest article by Joseph F Coughlin, Director of the MIT AgeLab

Smart HouseThe word on the street is that Apple is set to announce a major foray into home automation next week at its annual developers conference. As noted by other analysts, Apple’s move into the home coincides with similar investments made by companies such as Intel, Cisco, Samsung, Microsoft, and, of course, Google. Regardless of which company ultimately presents the best value proposition to consumers, the resulting smart home of the future is likely to be the house you live in today, with a significant IQ boost thanks to a wide range of accessories and wireless devices that are all part of what is now widely known as the Internet of Things. Read More …

Home Automation and Home Health Care

In the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) kept a watchful eye on the crew.How Home Automation Can Change the Home Health Care Industry

By Spencer Blohm

In-home care is one of the biggest growth industries of the last twenty years. It makes sense; elderly folks don’t want to be chained down to a nursing home, and an in-home care aid gives them independence without sacrificing their health needs. However, in-home care aides and family members can’t always be with grandma and grandpa. That’s why home automation systems make sense for protecting the dignity of your loved one, while giving you, the caretaker, some room to run out and perform necessary chores. Here are some features to consider. Read More …

Helping Seniors Master Computers

Teaching Dad to use the PCHelping Seniors Master Computers is a guest article by James Owens with many added comments by the editor.

A Pew Internet survey shows that 53 percent of people over 65 are now online. Only a third of these adults actually use social media, with email being their preferred way to communicate.

EDITOR: The oldest age group in most market research, including the Pew survey, is 65+, but what about the “real” seniors 75+ or 85+? They are far less likely to use technology and will need more help getting started, according to this article by Laurie Orlov.

With some support, your senior friends and family members could be using their computers for a whole lot more. These suggestions will get you thinking of ways you can help them branch out with new computer skills: Read More …