Several commentators disputed Editor Steve’s assessment last week that the early-stage Twine could be a big threat to the established telecare industry. I wonder what they will make of Mindings? It has obviously been in development under wraps for a while but its creator breaks cover in an interview for The Next Web. Hmm… What’s that he says about Tunstall’s devices? Surely not! Mindings connects families in new ways, and could transform telecare.
I commented that I did not think Twine would be a threat to Telecare. However, I think Mindings offers some very interesting possibilities, especially around the interactive nature of the software providing feedback that the message has been received. Most importantly, the easy-to-use interface which is key to usage.
Using Broadband would make it a more reliable system as GSM for tablets would not be so reliable especially in more rural areas. If users were relying on this as critical technology then reliability is vital.
I look forward to seeing the development of this application and how it may integrate with Telecare peripherals. Would there be an audio feedback as a lifeline telephone offers, to allow two way conversation if needed?
There still remains the response to an alert so a monitoring/response service would still be needed.
Great idea – well done!
Stuart Arnott of the “Mind Technology” is surely a young man that views elders as helpless, backward, fuddy-duddies, who cannot even reach out and touch a screen icon of their daughter to than send a voice message, like “Thanks for the photo.” So why bother using the existing pad technology that is already out there doing their thing?
Anyone who has visited the Responsive Home at the University of York (and its successor – The Home Lab) will have been introduced to this type of technology 6 or 7 years ago – but potential telecare providers have been waiting for the fast ADSL, 3G or broadband services that are necessary to deliver the telecare applications effectively.
Increasing numbers of older people are becoming connected in this way and this certainly has the potential to reduce social isolation. However, as Mike points out, there are a lot of people out there who are particularly vulnerable and who need alarm services (plus the appropriate emergency responses) and the continuous monitoring of their activities and/or vital signs – so don’t start throwing the baby out with the bathwater just yet! Furthermore, there are many older people out there who have no family to connect to – so we must also think of new ways to use technology to provide them with interesting links so that they don’t become depressed when nobody sends them family photographs.
As always, assessment is the key and then having enough telecare choices to allow an effective prescription to be offered.
At the risk of causing upset, what excites me about this product is that it has been developed! I’m less concerned about its strengths and weaknesses or if this is superior in potential over the Twine device potential for disrupting the Telecare market. It may work, it may not, I don’t much care about it other than the fact it exists. Out of this and Twine it has to be said I think Twine, funded through ‘crowd funding’ has the greatest disrupt potential. Incidentally developers were originally looking for $35k and are currently at $141k in pledges with 34 days to go. The interest in the project I think underscores its vast potential as a game changer like so many of the emerging technologies under development.
However industry watchers are wrong to look for products, trends or leadership that will change the marketplace. The Telecare sector will change because of diversification. The technologies themselves will mean that there will be countless systems, products and innovative application of technologies that change this sector. It will be the ability to use the system Woolworths used to increase sales in sweets decades ago ‘pick n mix’ , that will revolutionise. Therefore change will creep, there will be no big bang game change moment or must have technology or equipment. It will be the fact that families, loved ones carers and budget holders will use a variety of inclusive, as in intercomunicating technologies and standalone systems to provide support, monitoring and notification systems that meet individual needs. Hence a creeping revolution and change. Change made possible
because it is relatively cheap to develop, manufacture and market ‘kit’ or ‘services’ and these costs will continue to reduce in relative terms. As a result fully formed products and services can and will survive on much lower service user numbers or take up. Mindings might be a great product for a few people, or a lousy product for loads of people. As Kevin points out, the mantra in the brave new world ahead must remain, Assessment, Assessment Assessment. This is true regardless of the intervention being a fully blown traditional call centre backed dispersed alarm unit, or a pair of Jimmy Choo designed GPS enabled sneakers, that walk you home via a pre programmed geo fenced route avoiding Waitrose. (Well have you seen the price of their petit pois!)