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9.5.23 – SSI – Peter Giacalone

Although it appears that personal emergency response systems (PERS) engagement continues to grow, the space is changing and the technology available is finally evolving.

The introduction and adoption of these evolving technologies appears to have created a window for global organizations to move in and leave some traditionalists behind. I believe everyone who is familiar with the PERS space will agree that the core technology and associated features have not evolved during the past several decades.

Yes, we have had cellular communications to replace dial up and for active seniors, we have mPERS (mobile PERS) with location-based services. At the end of the day, it is all still “a button in a box.”

Taking a page from the evolution of the home security business and reflecting on how subscriber interaction through the adoption of mobile apps and lifestyle features was a catalyst for rapid growth in the home security channel could lead the PERS dealers toward greener pastures.

Consumers of all ages engage with interactive information and self-management. We already learned that providing these functions does not decrease revenue; it actually increases revenue while better serving subscribers.

As the needs and population of the sandwich generation grow, more services that are meaningful and engaging are necessary.

While speaking at the Parks Associates Connections Conference in May, I discovered that I wasn’t the only speaker suggesting that the word we will all hear more and more when it comes to home technology is “invisible.” This suggests that most consumers have all the physical technology hardware they need in their homes.

More About the Emergence of PERS

From small apartments to large homes, the amount of technology hardware that resides in a premise is vast. From smart televisions to smart thermostats, security systems, lighting controls and bulbs, etc. Although this technology and countless others may not be invisible, the new wave of technology that is disrupting the market is.

Many features and benefits can be delivered to consumers simply by subscribing and activating a “right to use” or a platform provider can turn on or update firmware on most of these devices to provide services for new features and an increase in monthly fees that were not available until now. This includes features and services that may be unrelated to the primary use of the hardware.

When it comes to aging in place and the PERS channel, the most compelling service that is extremely valuable and relevant is presence detection utilizing WiFi Sensing. Companies including OriginAI are taking many industries and channels by storm.

Having the ability to provide lifestyle monitoring and differentiating between normal activity and concerning activity or inactivity of a loved one or entire family without the addition of new hardware or invasion of visual privacy is priceless.

How the Security Channel Can Get More Involved

The challenge for the traditional players is that this technology is easily included with an Internet router or other WiFi device. This could allow those major enterprises to offer many services that would compete with the traditional PERS providers at a deep discount.

This is a significant reason that PERS and aging in place providers need to get in front of this and start offering these enhanced services as a standard element of their offering.

Last year, Verizon launched its new Home Awareness solution that utilizes WiFi Sensing technology to detect motion and report activity in the home without the need for any cameras or sensors. This is just the start.

There are roughly 4.9 billion Internet users worldwide and these additional services can easily be deployed by these global players. WiFi Sensing technology allows existing IoT devices to perform key services like home automation, security, monitoring loved one’s routines and lack of routines without the need for new or additional hardware.

This also leads to tremendous opportunities in the DIY space.

The PERS market is still alluring to newcomers for a variety of compelling factors. Many are attracted because professional installation is not required, which also opens the options on marketing opportunities. Although these factors are attractive and can add meaningful results, it’s important that all factors of the business are considered.

All in all, the PERS market — when approached properly and managed closely — can be a great addition to a dealer’s arsenal of services and contribute noticeable dollars to a dealer’s overall recurring monthly revenue.

The utilization of presence detection can be applied to a variety of channels as aging in place, fire/life safety, intrusion, etc. This technology comes in a variety of flavors. WiFi Sensing or WiFi radar is just the start.

It is anticipated that fall detection, sleep detection, breathing detection and even vomiting detection is on the horizon for introduction over the next year.

It’s essential to understand that although some of the great developers of WiFi Sensing for lifestyle monitoring as OriginAI are leveraged by mega-organizations as Verizon, it does not prohibit the traditional providers from engaging with their technology as well.

Routers are only one example of hardware that can be utilized to extend the services as WiFi Sensing. It is likely that most PERS or telehealth consoles that support WiFi or Bluetooth could become the nucleus of a WiFi Sensing platform.

Current manufacturers and dealers would be negligent if they didn’t explore adding WiFi Sensing to their host of consumer services. Existing manufacturers and providers have the competency, infrastructure and channels to enjoy a share of this profitable market.

Investigate what is in front of you and take the proper steps and move forward to be a leader in this area.