KeepUs is a new, free app developed in the UK that when installed on an older person’s or a child’s Android smartphone, allows a family member to monitor that person’s both indoor and outdoor activity. Using geolocation, the family member can see that person’s visits (locations can be labeled), level of activity on any given day, alerts (being idle for too long), how much time was spent at each named location over the past two weeks (if Uncle Ted is spending three hours every day at the pub), and trends over two months. It requires no action from the person being tracked other than to carry the smartphone (certainly less obtrusive than a bulky non-removable watch). The family member/carer installs the app on both phones and controls permissions to view the other person’s activity. The app is in beta, free for individual use in the UK.
According to their chief marketing officer Brendan Dwyer, the longer-term plan is to have the system used for telecare in group housing or community settings, and this would be a bespoke/paid model. At this point there is no mention of the accelerometer feature being used for fall detection or of an emergency call setting, which this Editor sees as a significant drawback.
In general, this Editor sees a ‘pointer to the future’ in KeepUs. It fits well into active lifestyles, and in fact enables them, filling a job to be done with an already accepted device and form factor which is finally becoming more acceptable to an older group. It is also easy to envision other uses, such as for the younger, chronic condition group targeted for instance ineffectively by O2; for child/teen tracking (autism spectrum); for the disabled and even the safety of lone/remote workers. If successful/adopted, KeepUs and technologies like this which are light, smartphone based, work on the go, and are sans the hefty subscription fees (parallel: MediSafe Project for med reminders) may make home-based monitoring far more attractive for families. In the senior community setting, if it proves itself scalable, traditional residence-based systems that track activity (QuietCare, Healthsense, PERS) may want to take note. KeepUs website, quick start guide with illustrations. Hat tip to reader and company CMO Brendan Dwyer. Inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.