Another assistive technology/TECS company decides that they have reached the end of the road.
Mark Smith, one of our Readers and Business Development Director of 3rings, which has been featured more than a few times in these pages over the past six years from Kickstarter days, this morning passed along the sad news that 3rings is closing. From Steve Purdham, the founder and chairman (and updated by him today 19 September):
It is with great regret and sadness that we have to inform you that we will be bringing the 3rings Care plug and Internet of Things sensor service to a close.
After a journey of 6 years we have taken this decision because the technology adoption within the Social care market is extremely slow moving, which means that we are not able to attain a sustainable business model that would give the quality, and daily operational support that we believe is the minimum we would expect to deliver, to look after you, our customers.
Our customers including individuals, regional council’s and housing association’s that use 3rings as a safety net of care, are very important to us and this is the reason why we haven’t waited until the last moment to notify you of our decision.
With this in mind, we will be maintaining support for the 3rings care service, including the Plug and IOT sensors platform until Friday 1st March 2019.
Given the extended notice period we feel that this provides enough time for you to make alternative arrangements.
The 3rings team strongly believe in the world of IoT sensors and true digital solutions to provide a safety net of care, 3rings has always evangelised this as our goal, we know that digital safety nets of care will change the face of social care in the future. With that in mind we are still exploring alternatives and should anything change we will inform you at the earliest opportunity.
We are truly sorry to have to deliver this message, but can I personally thank you for your support, we are immensely proud to have helped so many families and vulnerable people, and to have saved lives through the 3rings service.
Your support for the 3rings product range made a massive difference, and we thank you for your understanding and commitment to providing to the safety net of care for your loved ones or clients.
Should you wish to clarify anything or have any comments then please don’t hesitate to contact me directly either by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 01260-222853 or my mobile 07899 803555.
Steve Purdham · Chairman
Steve, in his separate note to this Editor, explained that they chose this four-month-plus winding down in order to responsibly look after their customers so that they have enough time to transition to other monitoring systems. Individual users of 3rings will be separately notified as well.
It was, as Mark said, a shock, but as this Editor noted in the Canary Care article from earlier today, in many ways the TECS/AT/telehealth business has not progressed much since 2006. The funding, technology, and consumer acceptance are all better since the early 2000s, but there is a lot more competition with not enough market takeup to warrant it. Even 3rings’ integration with the very trendy Amazon Echo and the IoT space showed innovation, but not the reward.
The social care area is more developed in the UK than the US as a concept. In the US, we speak more about ‘social determinants of care’, with one determinant–transportation–getting most of the action and the money. When you look at the truly disproportionate amounts of investment in certain hot companies with sexy tech, for instance a few ‘unicorns’–the now expired Theranos being the Poster Child–where far smaller amounts funding tech that works in real companies with real customers would do immediate good and would change things in the long term (longer than 18 months, which is the usual VC horizon), one wonders if we haven’t gone a little bonkers.
Yet those of us in the industry remain hopeful. As Steve Purdham said to me in a separate note, “the market has all the tools to change face of social care but the families and the existing structures are so glacial in the acceptance of this change. It will come and it will make a massive difference when it does.” We’re all trying.
We wish Steve, Mark, and the 3rings team all the best–and perhaps a White Knight will Save the Plug. Hat tip to Gerry Allmark of UK Telehealthcare as well for the information.