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This Company Taps the Internet of Things to Give Caregivers of the Elderly Peace of Mind

March 27, 2017

Anyone who has ever been a caregiver for an aging loved one is well acquainted with the anxieties that accompany such a role: Is Nana safe while home alone? Is mum’s bedroom warm enough in the middle of winter? Is grandpa wandering out of the house in the middle of the night?  

There are currently 3 million UK citizens tasked with a seemingly impossible juggling act every day: Balancing a full-time job with caregiving responsibilities. One in six individuals in the UK, in fact, ultimately chooses to give up work in order to care for an elderly loved one —which has a significant impact upon a caregiver's ability to go about daily life, as well as a ripple effect upon families.

Howz, a startup that pairs home-monitoring technology with a routine-tracking app to keep families connected with their elderly loved ones, hopes to ameliorate some of these common issues.  

The app taps into existing systems such as a home’s electricity meter, and uses machine learning and long-term analytics to track daily activity patterns — all without requiring use of a wearable or invasive devices. Eventually, the app may also pair with a variety of smart-home devices to provide a more robust activity profile.

Howz products can be purchased online, and a trained installer will come to users’ homes to walk them through the system (self-installation is also an option). Upon set-up, the Howz team speaks extensively with users to develop a custom-tailored monitoring plan based on individualised goals and living situations.  

Louise Rogerson, the company’s director of service development, says that this holistic approach to  routine-monitoring is not only effective, but that it’s also one of the most affordable such systems on the market today. Rogerson, who comes from a background in neurophysiotherapy, also touts the technology’s minimally invasive nature: Most of the data points that Howz monitors (electricity usage, home temperature, etc.) are already being recorded in most people's homes. More data  — door movement, light levels, etc. — can easily be monitored without an obtrusive or complicated device. Then, Howz brings all of the information into a single ecosystem. 

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