Biggest threat yet to established telecare industry?

Here’s a development from two ex-MIT Media Labs graduates that could be the biggest threat yet to the established telecare industry: people will soon be able to build their own tailored system using Twine. According to GizMag, Twine is a small box “with internal and/or external sensors that connects to a Wi-Fi network to enable it to send a message when certain user customizable criteria are recognized by the unit’s sensors…no programming or soldering and wiring expertise [is] required. The Twine module provides Wi-Fi connectivity out of the box and comes with on-board temperature and vibration sensors…The module also includes an expansion connector for connecting additional external sensors, such as a moisture sensor [and] a magnetic switch…Once the module is connected to a Wi-Fi network, users can set up the device using a Web-based application…any connected external sensors can be monitored in real time and rules to trigger messages can be set up using a simple selection of conditions.” Twine wants to put your things on the internet.

7 thoughts on “Biggest threat yet to established telecare industry?

  1. I am not confident that home based Wi-Fi is sufficiently reliable. The up time of telephone systems and their ubiquitous deployment makes this mode of communication more reliable for alarm systems.

  2. WiFi is extremely susceptible to interference from anything that shares the 2.4GHz band eg video senders , microwave ovens and routers.

    The adaptability is interesting but the frequency choice is the failing point.

  3. Twine might be useful to collect lifestyle and environmental data from the home but, as Trevor suggests, it’s hardly a serious contender as far as an alarm system is concerned. In fact, what can it actually do that a smart phone with a few peripherals and apps couldn’t do? What’s more, a smart phone would have a separate mobile alarm communication option built-in; a smartphone (or, better still, a tablet unit) is likely to be much more acceptable than a box because grandchildren would see it as “cool”

  4. I think what we are missing here is not the technology per se but the immediacy of the introduction/implementation of an off the shelf solution.

    When a crisis occurs that triggers a need for telecare the current system is slow to react at best and can be so unwieldy that nothing actually happens (in the case of my own father)until it is too late.

    I would have paid for an inexpensive off the shelf easily configurable solution at the drop of a hat. This democratisation of technology for care is the really disruptive element for me. Some statutory provision needs to get its act together before a do it yourself culture develops.

  5. I do not think this is a threat to Telecare. Apart from the technical aspects mentioned by Trevor and Andrew, there are also the human factors of the client group who would be using Telecare – older people and those with cognitive, physical and sensory impairment. Who would carry out the assessment and set it up for them.

    Systems need to be easy and familiar to use at the client interface.

    The Twine may well be clever but would seem to be the type of technology aimed at the technical minded.

  6. I agree with Mike Orton. In addition we should not forget the ‘perceived value’ of Telecare is not tied-up in the technology, but is created by real people who respond to alerts (the call-a-friend model has been tried and failed).
    Even if the Twine users could achieve a high degree of automation it will still require monitoring centers to intervene which currently accounts for the vast majority of a Telecare subscription cost.

  7. I agree with Mike and John, patients want the reassurance that a medical professional is monitoring their results and that a series of actions will occur should their measurements be outside the set parameters set by their GP or specialist.

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