Telecare Services Association 2010 Tuesday 16 Nov

This report is brought to you with the support of the Telecare Services Association (accommodation) and Tynetec (travel)

09.00: Today, in the hope of discovering something new, I will be concentrating on the exhibitor’s offerings.

13:20 Exhibitors; First tranche

This morning, for want of a better strategy, I’ve made my way around the exhibitors located on the outer walls of the hall, for and this afternoon I’ll make my way around the rest. So in order there’s:

Intel/GE: The dead hand of corporate bureaucracy says I’m only allowed to give you their press release (and an old one at that)…but here’s what I picked up…Intel is exhibiting its Health Guide, and GE a screen-based demo of QuietCare. The latter is in the process of UK medical device approval so that the new joint company (still unnamed, it seems) will have a product range that covers all the bases. The launch of the new legal entity is scheduled for the New Year.

Supra UK: Once again the Supra UK team have pulled out the stops to entertain with an attention-grabbing stand based on a US SWAT squad… but it’s the SWAP squad. Back in the summer they had a two-month opportunity for services with stocks of the old KeySafes to swap them for the new police approved C500 key safe, for only the cost difference, and they have reactivated the offer for the duration of the conference only.

Tynetec: The Tynetec stand has two new features. First, the Innovation Centre, which will be a feature at all future events they attend, where people will be able to see what developments are in the pipeline and give feedback. (A web-based version is due out in a few months.) The second is a working display of pre-production versions (in black and in white) of their yet-to-be-launched hub called ‘Reach’ and alert trigger called ‘Touch’. Production quantities are expected in early Spring. Both designs are the result of in-depth consultation with potential users. I stood by the stand for a while and people who saw them were genuinely taken aback by the good looks of the items which have the consumer wow factor that people have been asking for for so long. (Pictures on TA soon here now – Friday update.)

Tynetec Reach (white version – in black, see below)

Professor Heinz Wolff opening the Innovation Centre

Also: Be one of the first to see the Reach and Touch demo video on YouTube: (Gives you a good idea of why this was wowing the visitors.)

Tunstall: Today Tunstall has quietly (!) dropped something of a handgrenade into the marketplace – they have announced that they will make the specification of their radio receiver and transmitter devices available – for a license fee, of course. This is a smart market-share-preserving move, made in response to pressure from Tunstall system customers that want to be able to use other manufacturers’ sensor devices. Tunstall press release (PDF) listing its other conference launch items, including a preview of the new MyAmie and PNC 6.2.

STT Condigi: The second year exhibiting here for the Swedish company. Unfortunately, when I went past the bulk of their display material had not arrived.

Burnside Telecom: The message from Burnside is that no landline or wireless network is actually reliable enough for life-critical monitoring but they are specialists in retrofitting devices into existing systems to increase the reliability by providing automatic fall-back connections. This is likely to be more effective and cost effective than replacing an old system.

Fold Telecare and S3 Group: Nothing particularly new here, but they are reinforcing their presence as a major service provider in the Northern Ireland context.

Coventry University: Here to publicise the assistive technology courses they offer, including work-based learning for staff that cannot be released to study full time. They have a Foundation Degree in Assistive Technology; a Masters in Assistive Technology, and an online Assistive Technology Learning Tool. Visit for more information.

Royal Society of Medicine (RSM): Making the point that it isn’t just for doctors but membership is open to other professionals individually or through their organisations.

Carers UK: The carers’ charity – here to put in a plea to suppliers to remember that the majority of people who could benefit from telecare do not have contact with statutory services and that direct marketing to them ‘ought’ to be on their agenda.

CarelineUK: CarelineUK provided a sneak preview of the real time telehealth service that it is developing with partners CentriHealth, iMetrikus and Volt Delta. This will be a subscription-based service that brings together telecare and telehealth records for people with long term conditions and will enable multiple views of an individual’s health information for themselves, their carers, clinicians, primary care and social services, etc. Using this, CarelineUK aims to promote active involvement and personalisation of healthcare.

Cirrus: The telecare and life safety integration company’s focus for the conference is to network with customers, existing and new, and to promote its reactive and planned telecare and fire maintenance services.

Chubb: It is hoped that the just announced linkup between large Chubb and small, nimble Halliday James with its St Bernard GPS location system (first reported on TA from last year’s conference) will mean a more nimble Chubb. The system alerts carers by text message, email or through Chubb telecare, warden or nurse call systems using a new LocaLink remote trigger. Registered carers can ask for the user’s location via SMS and, where appropriate, it can be used as a simple emergency mobile phone enabling the carer to speak with the user. Chubb has also launched here a new ‘Secure Living Solution’ that combines telecare and fire monitoring and can work with a number of other suppliers’ systems. Press release (PDF) has details on both developments.

Vidyo: [To follow]

Tallon Monitoring: Tallon is showing its new telecare monitoring product range at the conference for the first time. The devices can be used to send data regularly for trend analysis and presentation to carers and relatives via a web page. The devices, such as one that counts the number of times a fridge door is opened, can also show the results to professionals while in the client’s home, thus minimising gateway and call centre expenditure.

Eldercare: Stealing the show with its stand, independent telecare monitoring service Eldercare has created a room which has several thousand pounds’ worth of telecare kit embedded. But it is not easy to spot. So they have come up with a ‘spot the telecare’ competition. It’s a great, fresh approach that makes a serious point.


Updated 23:30

Honeywell HomMed: Launching a couple of things at the show – a new version of the monitor, the key feature of which is messaging from the monitoring clinician. The back-end Lifescan software has also had a substantial update, with better customised reporting. The other ‘launch’ is that Honeywell HomMed in the UK is no longer being run out of the US, but has a UK base in Leicestershire, indicating a degree of confidence in its prospects here.

Questmark: A first time exhibitor at the TSA conference, videoconferencing specialists Questmark has a customer base of  NHS organisations and are now looking to expand into the market for connecting health providers with patients at home. They were demo-ing high quality internet-based conferencing that is as simple to set up as a phone call.

Telehealth Solutions: In addition to the CardioPod, which has had the greatest amount of publicity lately, Telehealth Solutions has been taking a slightly sideways look at the market and is displaying its kit for doctors’ waiting rooms, where people can have a pre-appointment assessment, and it has another setup aimed at occupational health departments of large companies which will help them reduce sickness-related absence.

BT/Intel Digital Health: BT is showing its telecare/telehealth management software that, like Tunstall’s icp, makes it easier to track and manage the workflows associated with installations – except that it is manufacturer agnostic.

Solon Security: Solon is new to the exhibition, but it is an established security device wholesaler with many council and housing sector clients. New on the market (and not yet on their website see this web page) is a digital replacement for optical door viewers. On the outside of the door, where the ‘spy hole’ usually is, is a lens with the bell push and a PIR and when someone approaches, the digital camera-sized screen on the inside of the door clearly shows who it is. The clever twist is that stills or video is recorded automatically onto a memory card and can be used as evidence of who visited when, whether they are welcome callers or otherwise.

Red Alert: Kent-based telecare installation and maintenance service provider, here to reinforce relationships with existing customers and expecting to attract new ones.

Network Communications Systems (NCS): Door entry systems for housing providers and care homes, and a reseller of Tunstall call alarm systems.

buddi: the buddi company is doing its tracking thing even more slickly these days and its trial helping the Maudsley locate absconding people with mental health problems has been an even better success than previously reported. UK readers can look out for a ramping up of its publicity efforts after Christmas.

Alvolution: The product comparison site funded by the West Midlands Regional Development body. Previously mentioned in TA when launched, but interesting enough to have a closer look and an additional report when I’m back from the conference.

Centre for Housing and Support: Training provider to housing provider organisations.

Caretech: Swedish company Caretech AB, here reminding people of its CareIP digital care alarm system first shown here last year, but also showing off its new, small fall sensor.

Age UK: Here to show that it’s business as usual despite the organisational upheavals it has been through lately.

Pivotell: Have I grown, or have Pivotell’s medication dispensers shrunk in the past few years? I hope it is the latter and not that little white pill…Well, the main Pivotell news is that the company has become the UK distributor for the ‘Minifone’ phone. This is a wrist-worn DECT phone with a sensitive microphone and speakerphone facility. What this means is that an older person who is slow on their feet can answer their landline phone without rushing to answer it (as you do), and risking a fall. It also has a dialout emergency call function which can go to carers or to a monitoring centre. See this webpage

Bosch: Today I discovered the answer to something that had puzzled me for a while, which is why Bosch hasn’t taken a more aggressive sales position in the UK. It seems that, recognising that there are significant changes in the technology due to bite in the next couple of years they are taking a long view and concentrating on helping services that already have their kit to make more, and more effective, use of it. And the reason they can afford to take that position is that Bosch is 90% owned by the charitable Robert Bosch Foundation, and investing in long term good is in its genes. (Which is why Bosch whitegoods have built the reputation they have for user- and environmental-friendliness.) I suspect that such a strategy might just pay off well in the long term.

Just Checking: Has introduced here a more compact version of its kit – lighter for staff to take around, and less intrusive, but just as easy to install. It has also taken a step forward in extending to multi-user monitoring which is gaining particular interest in independent living facilities for people with learning disabilities owing to its ability to reduce the need for stay-over night staff which, in turn, is provoking further service redesign. (New website with more facilities coming next week, too.)

Jontek: The message from Jontek is that it is pleased to see that services are starting, at last, to catch up with the idea that monitoring by mobile phone is a sensible and low-cost option for some people and they will be pleased to talk to any service that wants to extend its offerings in that direction.

Novalarm: Novalarm, with its oddly named Umo monitoring system is the UK arm of Verklizan, which is big in this market in The Netherlands, Germany and other parts of Europe. It may be the novelty factor, but in the year since it first appeared at this conference Novalarm’s agnostic approach to sensor suppliers and flexible, cost-effective monitoring service arrangements has clearly won it a number of fans, including some big players. (Keep a look out on TA.)

Possum: Has just started to become the UK supplier for the Swedish NEAT telecare kit. As one might expect from a company that works with many severely disabled people, it has chosen to promote a system with many fail-safe features.

Philips: Still demo-ing its Motiva system and, like some of the other big companies, appears to be content to play for the long term, slowly extending its customer base and learning with them how best to introduce and implement telehealth monitoring while they develop new devices and systems behind the scenes.

Grosvenor Telecom: Long established independent telecare kit installation and maintenence company covering Wales, West Midlands and North West England.

Air Products: A first time exhibitor at this conference, and new to the telehealth field, Air Products main related business is the supply of gasses to patients at home. They have engineers and nurses and could work collaboratively with staff in the field, such as community matrons, because in many cases they are already in contact with them. A key feature is that the commissioner only pays for the service delivered – no capital outlay required.  

Tribal: Not a new name to many parts of the NHS where Tribal provides services in a number of fields, but it’s a newcomer on the telehealth scene. However, expect to see more about them in the future as they are partnering with Intel/GE to provide one of the main ‘missing ingedients’ in the latter new company’s offering – help and guidance to the system users, both end users and professionals.

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