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 …

Innovator’s Prescription: Disruptive Healthcare Solution

book cover of The Innovator's PrescriptionHarvard Business School’s Clayton M. Christensen — whose bestselling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, revolutionized the business world — now presents The Innovator’s Prescription, a comprehensive analysis of the strategies that will improve health care and make it affordable.

In this meaty 87-min lecture at MIT, Professor Christensen explains how you can’t believe everything you learn in business school and reveals insights into such socially significant and complex industries as health care. “It’s the principles of good management that can cause successful companies to fail,” he says.

The lecture introduced concepts from his latest book, where Christensen applies his principles of disruptive innovation to the broken health care system. With collaboration from two pioneers in the field — Dr. Jerome Grossman and Dr. Jason Hwang — he examines a range of symptoms and offers proven solutions.

Read More …

UPnP Forum wants TVs to make you Healthier

UPnP logoStaying Well Connected: UPnP Forum Targets Health and Fitness Networking

It’s True — TV Can Now Make You Healthier and May Lower Your Energy-Bills

BEAVERTON, OR–(Marketwire – Nov 15, 2011) – Leading global home networking standards group, UPnP Forum, has announced the formation of an E-Health and Sensors (EHS) Working Committee. The new body intends to address consumer-electronic (CE) industry opportunities in the areas of home personal health and wellness, as well as the increasing availability of sensor applications to monitor and control devices within the home.

Read More …

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 More …

The future of connected health devices

IBM's Future of Connected Health DevicesFrom a recent IBM Executive Report:

Health device makers, to date, have primarily targeted consumers who are either fitness focused or chronically ill. But between these two extremes sits a large, fragmented and often overlooked population who seek better information to effectively manage their health. IBM research suggests that successful solution providers will approach this market opportunity as an ecosystem of partners – with an integrated solution that extends beyond the device itself. By plugging the information gap for these consumers, solution providers can help fuel healthcare innovation.

Read The future of connected health devices.

Health Information Seekers

From the report: The Information Seeker segment represents a broad spectrum of consumers unified in their need for assistance in managing a health challenge.

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 More …

An iPad for All Ages

No computer skills required … and now no computer either


iPad for the Ages - from Toddlers to Seniors

Flickr photo credits: Toddler by umpcportal.com, Senior by Courosa, licensed under Creative Commons


Everyone says the Apple iPad is intuitive, easy to learn, and easy to use. It almost seems tailored to toddlers and seductive to seniors. Grandparents and great grandparents with no prior computer experience can reconnect with family and make new friends online with email, social media, and video conferencing. But as easy and seductive as  iPad is, it still required a PC or Mac in order to download or upgrade its software. Not any more. Apple changed that last week with its iCloud announcement and its latest iOS 5 operating system.

Read More …

Verizon & Healthsense Team on Home-Health Solutions

Verizon & Healthsense Team to Bring Home-Health Solutions to FiOS-Equipped Senior & Assisted-Living Communities

PRESS RELEASE: NEW YORK – April 27, 2011 – Verizon and Healthsense will help bring cost-effective wellness and health monitoring services to planned senior-living communities, under an agreement announced Wednesday (April 27).

The new services will be offered to senior- and assisted-living housing developments utilizing Verizon’s advanced FiOS all-fiber-optic network.  Healthsense’s Wi-Fi based technology systems will provide increased independence for residents and added assurance that they are safe.

Read More …

Future of Home Automation (market research)

Reportlinker Adds The Future of Home Automation

NEW YORK, May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Reportlinker.com announces that a new market research report is available in its catalogue:

The Future of Home Automation [mHealthTalk comments and emphasis added]



This [$2,875] report examines how consumers and governments are creating a booming market for “smart home” devices. It analyzes the companies, technologies, and products behind automation in energy, entertainment, home security and health care. It details pilot projects, product costs, industry trends, business alliances, and the new and emerging technologies that are shaping the future of the market.

Read More …

IBM’s Jeopardy-winning computer is delving into medicine

IBM’s Watson supercomputer beat the two world champions in the intellectual game of Jeopardy in January, and now the company plans to extend its artificial intelligence and language abilities to the task of medical diagnoses and treatment. USA Today covered the announcement and its potential.

Read More …

Verizon, Healthsense Bring Solutions to Assisted Living

Alliance Will Promote Cost-Effective Monitoring and Response Systems

NEW YORK (4/27/2011) – Verizon and Healthsense will help bring cost-effective wellness and health monitoring services to planned senior-living communities, under an agreement announced today. [mHealthTalk editor: Healthsense also provides solutions for home healthcare.]

The new services will be offered to senior or assisted-living housing developments utilizing Verizon’s advanced FiOS all-fiber-optic network. Healthsense’s Wi-Fi based technology systems will provide increased independence for residents and added assurance that they are safe.

Read More …

Home Healthcare products shown at Electronic House Expo

The Electronic House Expo is a trade show produced by CE Pro magazine for the custom electronics business. Home Healthcare, Home Automation and Home Entertainment were just some of the applications demonstrated this year at EHX 2011 in Orlando. The following video shows highlights of the show.

Read More …

Wanderers welcome: New technologies for resident safety

By Julie Williamson, 4/01/2011, with permission from McKnight’s Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living

Much of Julie’s advice for assisted living centers can also help people with neurological problems stay longer in the familiar surroundings of their homes, so I thank her for letting me republish it here.

As more seniors enter assisted living with mild to moderate dementia, operators are faced with a somewhat daunting dilemma: how they can keep residents who tend to wander safe, without stripping them of their independence and freedom to roam the community they call home.

Read More …

Social and Economic Trends that affect Home Networks

What is driving and enabling the Networked Home?

I wrote this article back in 2001 with a look 10-15 years into the future, just half way through a typical home mortgage. I republish it here, because it’s still relevant today and applicable to home healthcare and the aging-in-home market. [2011 updates are added in italics.]

Homebuyers often ask this question if they’re concerned that their new home might be obsolete before they sell and move out (or if they’re starting to think about home healthcare).  Builders also ask it, since they don’t want to add new features until customers demand them but want to plan for shifting attitudes.  And companies that make the products, services, and technologies want to understand the market opportunities, leverage points, alliances and risks.  Although the question is simple enough to ask, the answer can be complex and involves a discussion of many technology, market and social trends.

This was the last of a three-part series exploring trends driving digital home technologies. The first article covered Science and Technology Trends, and the second focused on Market and Consumer Trends.  As always, your comments and suggestions are encouraged.

Demographic Trends - Live births per year, in millions

Read More …

Smarter Homes for Home Healthcare

Mr Coffee

Mr Coffee programmable coffee pot

Smart home technologies can anticipate needs and make tasks easier or automatic. They’re not just about high-end new homes, proprietary technologies, and professional installation. They’re about comfort, convenience, entertainment, energy management, communications, pet care, surveillance, and security & health monitoring. And you can often install them yourself, starting with the simplest of applications.

Your Coffeepot – I bet, if you look around, you’ll find that you already have some home automation products. It’s really not scary. The purpose of this article is to get you thinking how these products can help with home healthcare.

I was still working at IBM as a market strategist when our family moved from Dallas to Austin. I was trying to convince IBM that it had an IBM-scale opportunity in home automation, and I was studying that market. So when I built our new home, I used it as an experiment. I figured if my technophobic wife warmed to the benefits, then others would too. She did, mostly, and I learned a lot.

The local paper wrote a two-page article about my house, Home Automation Station, but that was 1997, and I retired two years later to become a Digital Home consultant.
Read More …

Are “Smart Home” technologies ready for mainstream?

30-page Virtual Trip Report of CES 2011

30-page Virtual Trip Report

An Unplggd.com article prompted me to write this article. As a long-time Connected Home consultant and marketing strategist, I have developed strong opinions about what it will take. Find me at http://waynecaswell.info.

Back in 2004, market research that I did for Parks Associates concluded that the Connected Home industry is “finally poised to cross a 30-year-old chasm separating high-end new homes from much bigger opportunities in mainstream retrofit markets.” That was based on my observation that several new networking standards finally allowed products to scale up- and down-market, from DIY projects in small homes to complex, system integrator projects in large homes and commercial office buildings. The promising new technologies included HomePlug & Insteon (powerline), MoCA (coax), HomePNA (phone lines), and Wi-Fi, Zigbee & Z-Wave (wireless).

But it’s been seven years now and so far no one’s got the right formula for success – not Cisco, GE, IBM or Microsoft, and not AT&T, Verizon, Comcast or Time Warner.

Will home healthcare and smarter, energy-saving appliances finally help people understand what’s possible? Yes, but will this be enough to drive mass market adoption of smart, networked sensor technologies? Or will the real driver be new apps on the iPhone, iPad and Android-based phones, tablets and TVs? Apps get my vote.
Read More …