Home Security

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 the rest of this entry »

Tech Tools That Enable the Elderly to Age at Home

Senior Woman Reading BookBy Christopher Wise

Nine out of 10 aging Americans want to stay in their homes as they age, an AARP survey discovered. Furthermore, people who reach age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 19 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Fortunately, advances in technology are available to help these aging Americans remain in their homes for a longer period of time. Let’s take a look at the top tools helping Americans to remain at home while they age:

Remote Pacemaker Monitoring Device

Individuals with pacemakers usually visit their doctors several times each year to have it checked. Some of these individuals can now send data remotely using a standard phone line and a device called a Carelink Home Monitor. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Healthcare Lead The Future of Smart Homes?

As a technologist, futurist, mHealth advocate, and past Home Systems consultant, I’m a fan of embedded technologies that make products smarter and easier to use, especially those that improve healthcare, but I side with “Smart Home” skeptics and add my own comments after this press release. – Wayne Caswell, mHealthTalk editor

The Future of Smart Systems

By 2020, experts think tech-enhanced homes, appliances, and utilities will spread, but many of the analysts believe we still won’t likely be living in the long-envisioned ‘Homes of the Future’

Imaging the Internet, a market research reportJune 29, 2012 — Hundreds of tech analysts foresee a future with “smart” devices and environments that make people’s lives more efficient.

But they also note that current evidence about the uptake of smart systems is that the costs and necessary infrastructure changes to make it all work are daunting. And they add that people find comfort in the familiar, simple, “dumb” systems to which they are accustomed.

Some 1,021 Internet experts, researchers, observers, and critics were asked about the “home of the future” in an online, opt-in survey. The result was a fairly even split between those who agreed that energy- and money-saving “smart systems” will be significantly closer to reality in people’s homes by 2020 and those who said such homes will still remain a marketing mirage. Read the rest of this entry »

Caregivers and the “Smart” Homes of Tomorrow

This article features comments I posted on a James Holloway article about Smart Homes of Tomorrow, where automation is based on sensors and learned intelligence that encompasses any device providing automatic control of home functions. Systems most likely to be automated are: lights, thermostats & home appliances; television, video & music systems; security alarms &  monitoring systems; and home health care monitors, alarms & communication devices.

A conceptual smart home with 17 components, including automated pet feeder.

mHealthTalk Comment:

My perspectives aren’t too far from what Mr. Holloway wrote about. They came from introducing IBM to the Smart Home market in 1994, helping it launch IBM Home Director, and retiring in 1999 to start CAZITech, a Digital Home consulting firm.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wireless remote control of door locks

HAI control of Kwikset Zigbee door locksIt’s time for bed, but did you lock the door? You can see who’s at the front door on your smartphone with a video intercom, but can you unlock the door to let them in without getting out of bed, out of the comfy chair, or off of the sofa? Those two of many other scenarios where remote access to an electronic door lock would be convenient.

The cost and simplicity of installing remote door locks is coming down, but this project is still more expensive and costly than simple lighting controls. Still I post this article with a video and press release of HAI control of Kwikset ZigBee wireless door locks. Read the rest of this entry »

Keyless Door Locks

Keyless Door LocksTo unlock the door of my wife’s 9-year-old Lexus, I can insert and turn the key OR just press a button on the wireless key fob, but I still need to get the key out of my pocket. I don’t even need to take the key out to unlock or start my newer Infinity because it uses near field communication. I just push a button on the door to get in and turn the ignition to start.

Wouldn’t it be nice to enter the home the same way? As shown in the photo, I still use a key, but many keyless door locks are available. Each has advantages for certain situations, so which option would you prefer? Here are some ideas, but we’d like to hear from you, so leave a reply below.

Read the rest of this entry »

ActiveCare combines Technology and Remote Monitoring

INSTEON Wireless Motion and Occupancy SensorMore and more companies are getting into the Home Healthcare market with products and services. Some, like Intel-GE Care Innovations, are large. Others, like ActiveCare, are small. And some will succeed while others, like Google will fail or leave the market.

I noticed in the press release below that ActiveCare is using the same ActiveHome software and X10-based sensors that I’ve used in my own automated home(s) for years as a Digital Home consultant. X10 is a mature networking protocol that communicates over radio signals or 110V power lines. It’s not the latest technology, but it’s cheap and works, usually.

With Launch of New ActiveHome Monitoring System, ActiveCare Opens Its CareCenter and Showroom to the Public

SALT LAKE CITY, June 27, 2011 — /PRNewswire/ — ActiveCare, Inc. (ACAR.OB) a leader in senior care technology, today announced the opening of its CareCenter and showroom to the public. Moving into its new state-of-the-art home earlier this year, the CareCenter operates 24/7/365 monitoring the health and well being of its members. Read the rest of this entry »

When will the Digital Smart Home market take off?

Market Research: Mass-market Households versus High-end New HomesDigital Smart Homes, including some of the same sensor and networking technologies that we promote for home health care, have long been associated with large and expensive new homes with custom installation. It’s a market that has languished as a niche for over 40 years now and has never managed to find its way to mainstream consumers. Why?

Someone asked that question in a forum I monitor, and I had to add my two cents, which I include here for perspective.

Contrast the Digital Smart Home with a modern car. When you buy a new car, it comes with everything included and already integrated to work together. There are many things you DON’T have to buy separately and install yourself, including tires, air conditioning, radio, CD-player, navigation, antilock brakes, towing package, etc.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fire Safety and Seniors: Builders Oppose Sprinklers

House fireFire sprinkler systems have long been required in commercial buildings, apartments, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, and the most recent version of the International Building Code (IRC 2009) requires automated file sprinkler systems in new homes too. That’s great news, except home builders have been fighting in State legislatures to prevent adoption of the new rules.

Home builders have opposed new laws requiring fire sprinklers and have promoted misinformation. Some of the facts are:

Read the rest of this entry »

Mini Eco-i-Lite: When a Great Product Review Turns Bad

Mini Eco-i-Lite, available at retailers like Amazon.com, Container Store and OfficeDepotBeing a digital home consultant and an advocate for universal design and simplicity, one of my favorite home automation gadgets is the nightlight with photocell. It improves the safety of moving about in a dark room, because it turns on when it’s dark and off when it’s light. Like magic, when you turn on the room’s light(s), the little nightlight turns off; and when you turn off the lights, the nightlight turns on again. That’s why I was happy to find a new version and wanted to write about it.

While visiting OfficeDepot in Houston, I discovered the Mini Eco-i-Lite. It only costs about $10 and combines the functions of a nightlight, power failure light, and flashlight. How cool is that? By addressing the combined benefits of safety, ease of use, and sustainability, it seems ideal for the elderly, so I bought one and planned to write a glowing review about it here. But all is not what it seems.

Read the rest of this entry »

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