Will AT&T Keep Your Grandmother Out of the Nursing Home?
AT&T's Digital Life wasn't just a home-security one-hit wonder. At the CTIA Super Mobility Week trade show, AT&T announced the next stage in its attempt to take over the smart home market: Digital Life Care, a bunch of services and sensors designed to keep caregivers in touch with their elderly relatives' needs.
"We're giving the option to the aging population to remain independent and stay at home longer versus having to go to some sort of assisted living," Kevin Petersen, president of AT&T's Digital Life unit, said.
Digital Life Care is designed for "informal caregivers," in other words, children who want to keep an eye on their relatives' health without moving in with them or shunting them off to assisted living. It won't actually take care of them, but it'll alert the caregivers to whether or not the elderly folks are taking care of themselves.
sample Digital Life Care room I saw (in the photo, with me taking the photo in the photo) was studded with sensors. If a person opened a drawer next to the bed, for instance, the bedside light would turn on. If she opened her medicine cabinet, a text message would be sent to her relatives saying that she'd taken her medicine. A sensor on a faucet could tell if it was left running. A sensor next to the bed could tell if Grandma doesn't get out of bed in the morning.
Digital Life Care will need to be installed by a professional installer; you can't just buy a bunch of sensors and hook them up, the AT&T reps said. That may bring up the cost. The service is being trialed in Dallas and Atlanta for a 2015 launch.
Digital Life: Just The Beginning
Digital Life is "a platform that's extensible to other areas," the new CEO of AT&T Mobility, Glenn Lurie, said at the event. Home security came first; now the sensor-studded home helps caregivers.
"We're adding devices, we're adding advanced monitoring and alert notification type capabilities," Petersen said.
Along with new uses, AT&T is looking at new markets for Digital Life, he said. The brand will expand internationally thanks to a partnership with Telefonica, for instance.
"People want to have a connected life," Lurie said.
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Liz Di Bernardo