3rings’ well-handled transition to their March shutdown (updated)

In late summer [TTA 19 Sep] we learned that one of the most innovative UK companies in sensor-based assistive technology, 3rings, was ceasing operations as of March 2019’s end. We noted it was a planned shutdown that gave subscribers nearly six months to switch over to other technologies. Steve Purdham and his team have recommended three companies that in their estimation are good alternatives to 3rings in both their original electrical Plug (electric usage as a proxy for being up and around) and cloud-based IoT service. Three companies are recommended in detail based on needs. 3rings presents all three in detail with special offers, including a handy ‘how to’ on transitioning services.

  1. Clever Contact from Alertacall–a daily contact and reminder service
  2. Canary Care--motion sensor/IoT service which is fairly close to the way that 3rings developed. Canary Care has reorganized since last summer with new ownership [TTA 8 Nov].
  3. PPP Taking Care–pendant alarm

When asked to comment on Canary Care’s recent release (PDF) related to their service as a close fit to 3rings, Steve remarked that “As we plan our graceful close the key for us was to give all our customers significant notice of our intentions (almost 6 months) and where possible provide guidance as to ways forward. We also wanted to help as many of our customers to transition to technologies that would help them continue looking after their loved ones after March 1st 2019. Looking after all our customers means a lot to us so providing this help made sense. The team at Canary wanted to do a press release regarding their deal and I was happy to support it.”

The 3rings closing is regrettable, but the transition of their services to protect their customers deserves a ‘Well Done’. (Undoubtedly we will be hearing from Steve and the 3rings team in future.) Hat tip to Steve, Nicola Hughes of Canary Care/Lifecycle Software, and James Batchelor of Alertacall.

Kompaï robotics gets FABULOS in EU Horizon 2020 automated minibus competition

France’s Kompaï robotics, which Editor Steve first profiled in May 2011 (!), is still developing assistive robots for older adults, the disabled, and their caregivers. In another instance of technology integration and crossover into an area other than healthcare, they are a finalist in one of 5 consortia of 16 companies competing in the European FABULOS challenge to develop an automated minibus. Kompaï is partnering with Actia Automobile as the Kompai-Actia Consortium. Phase 1 of FABULOS starts 1 January with a feasibility study with conclusions for the start of prototype development. In autumn, the consortia will move to lab testing prototypes with real-world testing of the final three starting March 2020 in Estonia, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal. The R&D is being financed by the European Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme with a total fund of over €5,5 million. FABULOS release.

The Apple Watch, ECG and fall detection–a trend too far?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/apple-watch-series-4-elektrokardiogram.jpg” thumb_width=”125″ /]Mid-September’s Apple Fans kvelled about the Apple Watch Series 4 debut. Much was made in the health tech press of Apple’s rapid FDA clearance and the symbolism of their further moves into medical devices with the Series 4 addition of a built-in atrial fibrillation-detecting algorithm and an ECG, along with fall detection via the new accelerometer and gyroscope.

This latter feature is significant to our Readers, but judging from Apple’s marketing and the press, hardly an appealing Unique Selling Proposition to the Apple FanBoys’n’Girls who tend to be about 35 or wannabe. The website touts the ECG as a performance feature, a ‘guardian and guru’ topping all the activity, working out, and kickboxing you’re doing. It positions the fall detection and Emergency SOS in the context of safety during or after hard working out or an accident. It then calls 911 (cellular), notifies your emergency contacts, sends your current location, and displays your Medical ID badge on the screen for emergency personnel, which may not endear its users to fire and police departments. 

Laurie Orlov in her latest Age In Place Tech article points out the disconnect between the fall risk population of those aged 70+ and the disabled versus the actual propensity (and fisc) to buy an Apple Gizmo at $400+. PewInternet’s survey found that 46 percent of those over 65 actually own a smartphone, though this Editor believes that 1) much less than 50 percent are Apple and 2) most smartphone features beyond the basic remain a mystery to many. (Where store helpers, children, and grandchildren come in!)

Selling to older adults is obviously not the way that Apple is going, but there may be a subset of ‘young affluent old’ who want to sport an Apple Watch and also cover themselves for their cardiac or fall risk. (Or have children who buy it.) This is likely a sliver of a subset of the mobile PERS market, which is surprisingly small–only 20 percent of the total PERS market. But monitoring centers–doubtful, despite it being lucrative for GreatCall.

Canary Care goes into administration, is acquired by Lifecycle Software (UK)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Canary-Care.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Abingdon-based Canary Care, a developer and marketer of wireless sensor-based home health monitoring systems, has gone both into administration (the closest US equivalent is Chapter 11 bankruptcy) and been acquired by Lifecycle Software Ltd., a developer of CRM and billing software for telecommunications, internet service providers, and utility companies. In US terms, this is basically a pre-packaged bankruptcy.

According to their listing on Companies House, the administration started on 31 August. At the end of August, Lifecycle acquired the company (5 September press release). The Lifecycle website now features that Canary Care will be ‘keeping your dearest nearest’.

Stuart Butterfield, a Canary Care director as well as interim managing and technical director, was kind enough to answer my inquiry about the company’s status with a message that expressed a great deal of hope:

So, we’re still very much alive, and will continue to provide the Canary Care product and service that our existing customers know and love. As you will be aware, adoption of TECS is painfully slow. However, our new owner provides us with the stability and resources to continue to develop the Canary Care offering and we’re very excited and optimistic about the future and the opportunity to bring Canary Care to a wider audience.

Innovative assistive technology/TECS, despite the investments by major players, remains a difficult area for funding and adoption not only in the UK but also in the far larger market of the US and Canada. While we see a Best Buy acquiring GreatCall, we’re also reminded that GreatCall picked up the remnants of Lively for the IP and Healthsense for their assisted living customers and for the technology. The “name” health tech companies of the early ’00s are largely gone or no longer independent (Viterion, Living Independently, HealthSpot, Cardiocom, WellAware…)

In many ways, we have not progressed much from, say, 2007, in the field, except for tech advances and the number of players.

We wish Canary Care and Lifecycle success–and the patience they will need with this market. Hat tips first to a UK industry insider who alerted this Editor, as well as Gerry Allmark, managing director of UK Telehealthcare for help in sourcing Companies House.

Apply to pitch your older adult health solution at the SOMPO Digital Lab Pitch Event at Aging2.0

SOMPO Digital Lab Pitch Event, 14 November, Aging2.0 Optimize Conference, San Francisco

SOMPO Digital Lab, in partnership with California senior care communities Front Porch and Carlton Senior Living, will host a pitch event for high potential startups at the Aging2.0 OPTIMIZE Conference on 14 November in San Francisco. Startups focused on Brain Health, Caregiving and Daily Living and Lifestyle are invited to present. The grand prize is $5,000 and a pilot opportunity in the U.S. or Japan. Your startup must have raised a minimum of $100,000 up to a maximum of $5 million.

SOMPO Digital Lab is the innovation group of Sompo Holdings, one of the largest insurance and senior care conglomerates in Japan. Please view this document to see the eligibility requirements for this event: http://bit.ly/SOMPOapplication

Deadline is 28 September.

We should also mention Aging2.0 OPTIMIZE 14-15 November. For more information and to register, click here. For a list of their other local and international events (oddly, none in NYC for the foreseeable future), click here.

More events for your autumnal calendar, from Israel to Ireland to Santa Clara to NYC! (updated)

Startup of the Year, Mediterranean Towers, Ganei Tikva, Israel, Sunday 3 September, 6-8pm (Past–but there’s a winner!)

Mediterranean Towers Ventures, the investment subsidiary of the largest retirement living community in Israel, is sponsoring this competition featuring five finalists:

1. Facense – Facense Ltd. develops smartglasses with tiny thermal and CMOS sensors to measure vital signs unobtrusively and continuously, with one application being to detect a person having a stroke.
2. MyTView – My-TView’s proprietary technology enables dynamic modification and enhancement of real-time broadcasts, whilst numbing the “noise”.
3. Invisi.care – transforming existing non-medical data into an effective large-scale clinical prevention tool; a remote seamless population monitoring technology encourages independent and active lifestyle.
4. GaitBetter – A universal, VR based, expert system add-on transforming any treadmill to an operator independent motor cognitive training solution
5. TuneFork–a software audio personalization technology that gives you the optimal hearing experience anywhere you go. 

And there’s a winner–TuneFork. Their award includes free participation at the Aging2.0 Optimize Conference in San Francisco (14-15 Nov), professional mentoring by Mediterranean Towers Ventures, and the opportunity to be evaluated for investment. 

Hat tip to Dov Sugarman, co-CEO of MTV.

Health 2.0’s 12th Annual Fall Conference, Santa Clara, California, 16-18 September

This year’s conference, despite the corporate hand of HIMSS, may be as breezy as ever with a continued concentration on early stage companies and speakers like Lisa Suennen, late of GE Ventures, Sarah Krug of the Society for Participatory Medicine, and Sean Lane of Olive talking about AI. Register here, and dig deep for the ticket.

UK Health Show, ExCel, London, 25-26 September

A major and mostly free event for providers, NHS, local authorities, independent sector, and primary care that addresses system transformation and integration through digital technology, commissioning, procurement and cybersecurity. More information on their website here. Registration here (free full passes for providers and public sector, floor passes for vendors and commercial organizations)

Brain Health, Aging 2.0 Los Angeles, Thursday 27 September, 6-8pm

Not many details on this other than it will be in West LA and the topic will be Brain Health and Artificial Intelligence. The keynote speaker will be Adam C. Lichtl, Ph.D., CEO of Delta Brain, Inc. More information to come and RSVP for now on Eventbrite.

Inspiring Innovation in Digital Health: The UK Telehealthcare Marketplace Northern Ireland. La Mon Hotel and Country Club, Castlereagh, Belfast, Wednesday 3 October 10am – 3pm

UK Telehealthcare is traveling to Northern Ireland for their first event in the beautiful Lisburn & Castlereagh area, one of Northern Ireland’s fastest growing regions. It will be a showcase for digital technology to help people to stay safely and independently in their own homes for longer. A ‘don’t miss’. See the attached PDF for details including masterclass speakers and exhibitors. Free registration here. Hat tip to Gerry Allmark, UK Telehealthcare’s managing director.

Additional UK Telehealthcare events into December are listed on their main page which is linked through their advert on right or here. They are partnering with the UK Health Show (above) and exhibiting in the UK TECS Hub in the assistive technology area (blocks F98, F100, F92, F94).

MedStartr Momentum 2018, PwC Madison Avenue, NYC, Thursday-Friday 29-30 November

Put this on your calendars for after Thanksgiving. 20 startups, 9 Momentum Talks, 4 stakeholder panels, and Mainstream 2019. More here on Eventbrite and as in previous years, watch this website. TTA is a media partner and supporter of Momentum,  MedStartr and Health 2.0 NYC.

Tender Alert: NHS England–IAPT, Arden & GEM, Yorkshire and The Humber

Susanne Woodman, our Eye on Tenders, has three that cover a major initiative of NHS England, plus two regional telecare projects.

  • NHS England–IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies). NHS Shared Business Services is procuring ‘Digital Therapies for IAPT Assessment: Project Management Organisation’. The aim of the programme is to find good quality, evidence-based digital therapy packages for use in IAPT services. Up to 14 digital therapy products will be assessed for IAPT by 2020. This will help expand provision of psychological therapies, as well as improving access to digital services, both goals set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. Clarification questions are due by Wednesday 13 September at 10am. Bid deadline is Monday 18 September at noon. More information and contact here on Gov.UK Contracts Finder. Additional programme information on NICE and IAPT here.
  • Arden & Greater East Midlands: Bravo reference Project 851 is an Innovation and Technology Tariff. There are three parts (2-4): the closest related to health tech is #4, web-based applications for the self-management of COPD. Deadline is 2 October 2017 at 5pm. More information and application links on the Arden-GEM website here.
  • Yorkshire and The Humber: Kirklees Council is seeking a provider of assistive technology and telecare solutions aimed at supporting vulnerable people to live safely and independently in their own home. This also includes support for existing and future social care applications, lone workers, and building security. Value of the contract is £210,000. Deadline is 2 October 2017. There’s not a lot of information on the Gov.UK page and it directs questions to the Kirklees coordinator.

Tender Alerts: NHS Wales, Southend-on-Sea

Susanne Woodman, our Eye on Tenders, brings to our attention two upcoming opportunities:

  • NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) is developing a “cutting edge procurement project to establish a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for Digital Patient Services Partners”, the first ever for health in the UK. It cautions, “DPS are a relatively new and untested procurement process that is believed will have significant benefit not only for the NHS but also as a catalyst to create innovative and agile markets.” Deadline for submission is 29 August. Details at Sell2Wales.
  • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council in partnership with South Essex Homes and the Southend CCG is in the early stages of evaluating technology enabled care (TEC). They are seeking to pilot assistive technology enabled care in a 96 independent living residential block ‘Living Laboratory’. No deadline listed. Details at Gov.UK.

Tenders closing quickly: Cornwall/Isles of Scilly, Blackpool

Susanne Woodman of BRE, our Eye on Tenders, had sent these earlier but your Editor was at fault in being tardy in reviewing them. But there’s still time!

  • Cornwall/Isles of Scilly: The University of Plymouth and E-health Productivity & Innovation Cornwall & Isles of Scilly (EPIC) are seeking to engage specialist support for the Social Care Sector and Care Homes across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to develop their awareness and capability to adopt emerging ehealth products and services. This is closing Wed 14 June so go to the Plymouth website for more information. Gov.UK Contracts Finder
  • Blackpool Council: They are inviting “suitably experienced care organisations to participate in an exploratory exercise to help the Council better understand the market position with regards to supporting individuals with a learning disability and/or autism to live independently through use of assistive technology.” This closes Monday June 19. Tenders Electronic Daily (TED), Due North website

Further clarification on telehealth tenders and the North Yorkshire County Council

From Reader Vicki comes this clarification on what this Editor incorrectly reported as an open tender [TTA 9 Jan]. We are separately printing her comment to the original article, as a service to those interested in providing assistive technology to North Yorkshire:

A tender has not been issued by North Yorkshire County Council. There is some information regarding a market engagement event and an outline of the Council’s intentions. This reads:

This reads:
Thank you for your interest. The Council is shaping the future of assistive technology in North Yorkshire, and has carried out some initial engagement with the wider market, in May 2016, to shape our future of the assistive technology strategy that we are developing. To allow sufficient time to ensure that a robust strategy is in place which reflects the needs of people in North Yorkshire and the available market, we are delaying the launch of the new service until 1 April 2018. We are currently working on the draft assistive technology strategy which we will be consulting on in spring/summer 2017. It is our intention to launch the procurement exercise following this consultation. Further information and all the contract documentation will be made available through YORtender.

Our thanks to Vicki–Ed. Donna

Assistive technology tender open for North Yorkshire County Council (UK)

There’s an open assistive technology tender issued by the North Yorkshire County Council closing on 31 March. It doesn’t say ‘telehealth’ but describes needs for a patient-monitoring system, emergency and security equipment, surveillance and security systems, sensors, GPS, health/social work and community health services which are in the aggregate quite close. Award appears to be shortly thereafter but listed as 1 April. Duration is one year out to 31 March 2018. Registration is required on the YORtender website for DN198838 (Historical Ref: CONTRACT-A8SL-W8IAL7) and the contact is Matt Clothier of NYCC. Hat tip to Susanne Woodman, our eye in the sky for tender opportunities.

An assistive robotic glove for those with hand disabilities

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/exo-glove-giphy-5.gif” thumb_width=”200″ /] There are many people who have lost hand mobility due to injury, stroke and other neurological conditions. Exoskeletons are a great idea, but for a small area far too bulky. At Seoul National University, research director Kyujin Cho and a group of SNU Biorobotics Lab students, working with disabled people, have developed the Exo-Glove Poly, a soft wearable robot ‘glove’ that is capable of grasping objects. Three soft, tactile fingers fit over the wearer’s thumb, index finger and middle finger, with a tendon-like routing system of wires connected to a motor which opens and closes the hand. It is waterproof, washable and reasonable looking. According to the article in AtlasoftheFuture.org, this assistive technology is scheduled for commercialization in late 2017. Exo-Glove Poly website. Hat tip to contributor Sarianne Gruber via LinkedIn.

Cybathlon: six ‘great races’ challenging assistive technologies

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/160215-bike-768×463.jpg” thumb_width=”200″ /]ETH Zurich – The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland–is challenging developers to a one-day Olympic-style competition using assistive technologies to navigate athletic tasks. The races, staged with ‘pilot’ athletes, test the advanced abilities of powered exoskeletons, powered arm prostheses, powered leg prostheses, brain controlled computer games, powered wheelchairs and muscle-stimulated electrical bikes (left, from last year’s competition rehearsal). The end result is to promote and showcase technologies which will be useful for the daily lives of persons with motor disabilities. The event will take place on 8 October at the Swiss Arena in Kloten, Zurich; ETH is also planning a symposium for researchers two days before the competition. ETF website, Medical News Today, GeekWire. Hat tip to Toni Bunting, TTA’s former Northern Ireland/TANN Ireland Editor.

Tech that enables disabled to use…tech

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/tecla-shield-side.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Toronto, Canada-based Komodo Open Lab has developed an assistive technology, Tecla Shield, that enables the upper-body disabled to use smart devices (smartphones, tablets, PCs) and other technology (home automation). It is battery powered and is a DOS that works with all assistive switches on the market (e.g. buttons, sip-and-puff controllers and head arrays), and is portable so it can be used in the home, in a wheelchair or other settings. The cost is moderate from C$ 349 and also couples with other Tecla kits. Springwise  Hat tip to our former Northern Ireland Editor Toni Bunting

Digital health supporting daily living with autism

A developing area for healthcare tech is in the assistive technology (AT) area–in this instance to support those with autism. The spectrum of abilities and capabilities here is very wide–as are the needs. Some major challenges: organization, communication, managing stress levels, managing transitions in everyday living as a college student with autism must. Last week’s Autech 2015 at Old Trafford, Manchester spotlighted AT such as Brain in Hand, a smartphone/tablet app that touches on all three: it helps with planning daily activities, logging stress levels, providing help with coping strategies and if it is overwhelming, a direct connection to a support worker at the Wirral Autistic Society. Other promising technology includes biometric wristbands to monitor signs of stress and provide feedback to identify and work to modify the autistic person’s reactions; the Kaspar assistance robot for socializing children; the Proloquo2go tablet app which speaks for those without speech by using speech-producing icons. AT for the autistic is at the very early part of the development curve, but this Editor could see dual or triple uses for these technologies for those with TBI, stroke or dementia. Studies on cost savings are early, but the Brain in Hand test in Devon estimated a 100-200x savings: £300-500/week for social care versus £20/week for the service (but does this include the live support worker?) There’s an app for that: how assistive tech changes lives of people with autism (Guardian)

Related: on a late adult diagnosis of autism, how it is to live with it on your own (Guardian)