Healthy, Safe, Accessible and Adaptable Homes

Healthy, Safe, Accessible and Adaptable Homes

The Real Estate section of The Washington Post featured an article that caught my eye and formed the basis of my post today. Builders imagine homes of the future — but some of their dreams are available today, by Michele Lerner, describes concepts that homebuilders are considering to make future homes healthier, safer, more accessible & adaptable, and more comfortable to live in & easier to run.

Ever thought about having a dedicated room with an operable opening on the top to accommodate drone deliveries? Or using a 3-D printer to supply hinges for your cabinets? Or imagined your home’s windows adjusting to light and seasons the way your photochromic glasses do: darkening slightly in the summer to reduce heat buildup and fading to black at night for privacy without shades? … Most of the trends expected to affect house designs address consumer’s concerns about healthier living, affordability and adaptability to future lifestyles.

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FCC Broadband Health Imperative – how we responded

FCC Broadband Health Initiative - Modern Health Talk respondsAs a retired IBM technologist, market strategist, futurist, consumer advocate, and founding editor of Modern Health Talk, I am please to respond to this FCC action and will describe my background afterwards. What follows is the detailed docket (16-46) with my responses inserted and key points highlighted. 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

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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 …

20-20 Vision of Digital Life in 2025

Pew Research Center recently published its vision of Digital Life in 2025, based on predictions from over 1,000 experts who generally said the Internet would become “like electricity” – more deeply embedded in our lives but less visible.

Word Cloud - Pew Research examines Digital Life in 2025

Before I present the top 15 themes from the Pew report, here’s my own Back to the Future vision of technology and and its impact & challenges, based on an article I wrote 11 years ago. It looked back 20 years to George Orwell’s 1984 and then forward 20 to the year 2024, and I present it here because it’s helpful to see a history of where things have come from as you contemplate the future. Futurists, however, will tell you that forecasting is not as simple as just extrapolating trends. 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 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 …

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 …

Lack of Fast Internet threatens Telehealth Future

I responded to an online discussion of a call for Congress to Expand Telehealth Services to Improve Patient Access and Outcomes and Decrease Healthcare Costs. Key to delivering telehealth is the availability of high-speed Internet access, and that prompted me to comment on an online conversation of this HIMSS problem description.

The enormous potential of telehealth or telemedicine to positively transform healthcare delivery in America is not being realized due to numerous impediments. These include out-of-date public and private reimbursement structures, inadequate broadband availability, and varying licensure and practice restrictions between some states. … In many areas of the country, there are not enough health professionals to provide in-person visits or appropriate follow up care, especially for mental health and highly specialized services like pediatric critical care. In other areas, distance or unavailability of transportation presents impediments to care.

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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

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Improving the Internet of Things

Click image to view TechRadar article.

Ahh, all those things on the Internet

Article summary and Modern Health Talk response about improving the Internet of Things (IoT).

I responded to a TechRadar article on The Internet of Things is nothing to fear, which explored the privacy fears when sensors sprinkled around our homes and communities monitor our every moves, and our health. The purpose of this article is to not to downplay those privacy fears but to share my perspective on the Smart House concept.

EXCERPTS:  Health is an area that is already embracing the IoT. The idea of the quantified self, measured by tracker gadgets like the FitBit or Nike Fuelband, is becoming commonplace, and as the tech gets smaller and more embeddable it will be possible to weave sensors into the fabric of clothing or footwear and into the realms of true health monitoring.

Google recently patented a smart contact lens – not as a future iteration of Google Glass but as a way of measuring glucose levels in tears. Anyone at risk of diabetic shock would be able to keep tabs on their sugar levels without having to stop and take a blood test, while an app on a smartphone or other personal computing device could make great use of that data to trigger medication alerts or prompt for medical review. … 

Packing our homes with sensors could give obvious, easy wins like mining temperature, room usage and weather data to fine-tune heating and ventilation. It could also offer a way to help care for the ageing population through projects like BeClose that look for changes in an elderly relative’s daily routine and sends alerts if anything seems amiss.

My Response Read More …

The role of Standards in Telehealth

Standards DilemmaNew market research on the convergence of telemedicine and mHealth suggests that “telemedicine now delivered on proprietary devices is becoming obsolete,” and I agree. I first wrote about the role of standards in telehealth two years ago in an article on Video Conferencing for Home Healthcare and have written several articles on the topic of standards since then, including The Smart Refrigerator & Smart Medical Device.

Platform Standards

Earlier this week I weighed in on a LinkedIn discussion of Tablets used in Video Telemedicine. It morphed into a discussion of HIPPA, so the comment I added applies just as much to HIPPA regulations as to the use of standards in telehealth. Read More …

mHealth: What does it mean and what’s included

What is mHealth, and does the term stand for Mobile Health or Modern Health?
That’s the subject of a an online discussion started by David Doherty, moderator of a LinkedIn group interested in using mobile technologies to improve health. He started the discussion to support my view that any definition of mHealth that only includes smartphones is both limiting and arrogant. This article supports that discussion by expanding the definition of mHealth and what’s included.

Much of this article builds on an earlier article that I wrote in May 2012, where I addressed confusion among syllogisms, using the analogy that Lions & Tigers are both Animals, but not all Animals are Lions or Tigers. Likewise, there are some confusing overlaps among the terms mHealth, eHealth, Wireless Health, Connected Health, Digital HealthTelehealth, and Modern Health. The devices that serve these market segments overlap too, so I must discuss them collectively.

Syllogism examples in healthcare Read More …

Sensor Network to Protect the Elderly

Marge Skubic

Marge Skubic developed a remote sensor network to monitor seniors’ activity and baseline health. Click image for credits and larger version

System monitors seniors’ health in the comfort of their own homes

By Marlene Cimons, National Science Foundation, December 6, 2012

Many elderly dread the prospect that chronic medical issues will force them to leave their homes for an assisted living facility or nursing home, making them dependent upon others for their care and personal needs. Sometime in the near future, however, new technology could help them remain in their homes longer, perhaps indefinitely, without having to give up their independence.

“Our goal is to keep people in their private homes for as long as possible,” says Marjorie Skubic, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri. “The idea is to detect functional decline or early signs of illness, so we can identify problems when they are very small and proactively address them before they become catastrophic. That way, mom won’t have to leave her home.” Read More …

mHealth – Is it Mobile Health or Modern Health?

What is Mobile Health?  That’s the subject of a Linkedin discussion started by Wendy Thomas, founder of the Mobile Health Association in Austin, TX.

Her purpose was to clear up confusion between syllogisms, and the analogy she used was that Lions are all Animals, but not all Animals are Lions. The same goes with the health terms such as digital health, ehealth (electronic healthcare), mhealth (mobile healthcare), and telemedicine, so she argued that…

Mobile Health IS Wireless Health AND Mobile Health IS Telemedicine, but Wireless Health AND Telemedicine are not necessarily MOBILE HEALTH.

Syllogism examples in healthcare

While I agree with the premise of Wendy’s argument, people often associate Mobile Health with the ambulance that shows up to provide care and transportation, rather than the use of mobile devices and wireless networks. That’s why I drew the diagram with Mobile Health not entirely within Wireless Health or within Telemedicine. Confusion still persists, and I’m adding to it with yet another term – Modern Health. Read More …

Intel-GE Care Innovations, a critique

Care Innovations™ is a unique joint venture that brings together GE’s expertise in healthcare and Intel’s technology expertise 
— to help change the way health care is delivered.

I’ve worked with Intel before in the wireless standards area and have great respect for the company. And I also like their approach to market development, which often starts with ethnographic market research to understand the people who use technology products rather than starting with what’s technically possible. But in this case I question their design choices, because I think they ignored widely accepted standards and mainstream opportunities. Let me explain. Read More …

A Totally New Healthcare System

KingOfTheWorldFive months ago I posted a challenge on Linkedin titled, “Innovative Ideas for a Totally New Healthcare System?” and it generated a discussion that’s been active for 5 months now with over 900 responses from different perspectives worldwide.

As a fun exercise to stimulate creative, out-of-box thinking, pretend you have all been appointed to the new World Health Commission by the new King of the World (or whatever title you prefer). You have absolute power to determine health strategy, for the whole world. Think like a child, and forget the constraints you’re used to dealing with as adults. There are no financial hurdles, no political worries, no cultural barriers, no legacy to contend with, no managers looking over your shoulders, and no imposed time frames. What is it that patients, providers and society seek from healthcare? Why can’t they get that now? Starting with a completely blank canvas, what would be the objectives of the new System? Imagine potential roadblocks and how we might overcome them.

The discussion has evolved, and most participants have come in and out of it, but Clifford Thornton posted one of the longest and most thoughtful replies and gave me permission to reprint it here.

A Totally New Healthcare System

By Clifford Thornton

Wow sir, a blank sheet; this is a dynamic exercise.

I came into the healthcare field about 9 years ago from a marketing strategy business background in the cable/telecommunication industry. Let me say that I cannot think or even imagine a bigger contrast in terms of quality of service, efficiencies, level of customer satisfaction, duplication of service levels, delivery, and range/availability of services.

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A Consumer Electronics Christmas

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year in 2012. As for me, I can hardly imagine a better one, filled with family… and electronics.

Our son visited for 3 days with his pretty wife and our 7 month old granddaughter. What a treat. It ended too soon, and Yvonne and I miss them already. That helps explain our Electronics Christmas.

We’re like baby boomers split between keeping up with their adult kids and grandkids while also caring for elderly parents, but since our parents are long gone our attention is laser focused on our only son and his family. That’s why I’ve long wanted a good video conference system – to lessen the need for 4-hour trips to Dallas to see them.

Apple FaceTime Read More …