Earthquakes are hard to predict because, depending on the local geology and where you are in relation to the future epicentre, they vary in speed, intensity and effect. However, there are four generally recognised stages:
- a long period of between quakes when straining deep beneath the surface that goes unnoticed
- a build up of intense pressure along the fault which may be noticed as slippage
- the release of the pressure which causes the well-known effects of tremors, liquefaction and damage as the two sides of the fault realign
- the new resting position of the land each side of the fault
O2 and Bosch realising that systems which do not use smartphone-based technology are now dead in the water and therefore exiting from the UK telecare market was not the quake; they are just signs of stage two slippage. We will see more strains and cracks appear over the next couple of years especially in the UK where almost all installed telecare systems are landline- and pendant-based. But it is not just a matter of technology, there is strain beneath the surface of the systems.
People close to telecare know better than anyone that the benefits of increased security, reassurance and independence are less real with current systems than their necessarily upbeat announcements lead the public and the commissioners of services to believe. Public perception and confidence is a fickle thing which can evaporate quickly. It will only take a few incidents such as the recent death of a telecare user in Scotland to cut the ground away. Revealed: system failure in fire death (Inverness Courier)
It may be stage two I am observing now but I believe I have seen what could trigger stage three of the telequake. The changed landscape that will result does not look good for current telecare suppliers.
So what will release the building strains and stresses and trigger the dramatic third stage of the telequake?
An NDA constrains me from being too specific but I can say that there is a wrist-worn/Android smartphone device which has been developed under the radar in the UK for the past few years which knocks the socks off any current telecare device. I have seen it working. It has all telecare scenarios covered and brings real intelligence to bear on any potentially dangerous situation for the user. Telehealth applications are close to completion. If it can be brought to market in the next couple of years we will see a huge upheaval and dramatic rearrangement of the landscape.
To bring the device to market the company developing it now needs a licensing deal with a large, well-resourced and highly ethical company. If any TTA readers are sitting in such a company wondering how to move quickly into this market email me and, if your company is acceptable to the developers, I will put you in touch. (Steve’s email)
You’ve heard the prediction. Where do you want to be when the telequake strikes?
Former Editor in Chief, Telehealth & Telecare Aware
Disclaimer: The company concerned paid travelling and overnight expenses for me to visit them but I have no financial interest in the success of the company.