Dream team or dance of the dinosaurs? Another view of Legrand’s recent acquisition

The recent news of  Legrand’s acquisition of Jontek Ltd to join Tynetec in their Assisted Living & Healthcare Business Unit stirs many nice memories, as this editor has much to thank both Tynetec, and Jontek for.

Once Tynetec quality was a match for the other major player in the telecare market, their competition was truly appreciated in restraining the cost of delivering telecare. They were enormously helpful, particularly when this editor was working in Surrey. However at the end of the day, their systems, like the other major competitors in the market, were proprietary. Thus once a Tynetec dispersed alarm unit was installed, only Tynetec peripherals could be added.

Jontek on the other hand were able to receive alerts from all the major telecare players, so enabled mixed economies (as we had in Surrey) to be managed by the same call centre. Although “for legal reasons” there were problems with getting as much detailed information from alerts from one company’s sensors as was available when the same alerts went through that company’s own call centre software, Jontek still did a brilliant job helping us bring down the cost of delivering assisted living, to help people remain in their own homes, for which this editor is especially grateful.

However, at the recent Wearables event in Excel, there were two internet-connected & programmable products displayed that claimed to be able to network with many different sensors, both fixed and worn, around the home.  One – nCube – claimed a couple of months ago to be able to network with over 75 different devices, and that pairing was easy. Already in the US there is now Amazon Echo, which apparently can do all that is claimed of nCube, plus act on voice instructions via excellent voice recognition (Alexa) and response too. Products like these offer the opportunity to transform telecare and meld it into a smart home environment as the inhabitants age and need greater support. In addition services already in existence like KemuriActiv8lives, and Oysta, to name just the last three companies that this editor has recently encountered (there are many more), are all offering low cost very different solutions to support independent living. Even Jontek, if you feel the need for control centre software able to accept alerts from many sources, has worthy competition in Verkilizan.

The world is changing too – as we covered recently, there are fresh attempts to sell telecare directly to users and their carers, via Boots, and apparently almost all the components of a connected home can now be bought from Maplins (apart from the important bit: 24/7 monitoring). Local authorities are still the main buyers of telecare, however they are increasingly contracting for services, rather than purchasing kit outright, so providers have to keep the kit on their balance sheets.

This editor just wonders therefore whether the combination of these two great companies will indeed produce a world beater able to challenge what this new technology is already providing, and will match what is already in the pipeline, or whether we are seeing two organisations like those big beasts of old whose feet were already adhering to the surface of the La Brea tarpits?

Readers views particularly welcomed.


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