Location: United Kingdom
Howz utilises smart home technology to detect activity around the house and to understand a person’s routine. If something changes, it prompts loved ones to check-in.
Supporting older people in their own homes is important, as many would prefer to live in their own place. For those who are independent, it can be difficult for family members or carers to know when to step in, and provide support if needed, especially if relatives or friends don’t live nearby. More recently, this is more challenging due to isolation or social distancing measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The daily routine is a good indicator of a person’s wellbeing; changes can indicate an issue. Howz quickly becomes familiar with a daily routine. The kit comes with a sensor that detects when the front door has been opened, a hallway sensor that detects motion, a smart plug, and a home hub that collects all the data from the three sensors. The plug should be used with an appliance that’s used regularly, such as a toaster or kettle.
Data is transmitted to the mobile app which the user and any number of friends and family members can access. It shows when time sensors were activated and provides an alert if anything unusual is detected. That could be anything from a late wakeup, the door being left open, or less movement around the house. The system can be easily installed, and there are options to add more sensors if required. CarePredict is another service using a wearable, sensors, and AI to detect habit or behaviour change in older people to understand if there are any problems.
“Supporting independence and autonomy within our older community is great. The system is using smart home tech that we are seeing more and more people use. Things like smart plugs, but adapted them for a monitoring perspective rather than convenience or energy-saving uses of such devices. With an ageing population worldwide, systems such as Howz are likely to become more widely adopted and experience growth.” – Dr Vinay Shankar