The tech giants are working on adding voice-calling features to Echo and Google Home.
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Is the PERS device -- press a button around your neck and a service is dialed -- eventually headed for obsolescence? Parks Associates has predicted a basically flat growth path for PERS devices through 2013. Maybe that's so if security companies -- not healthcare companies -- set the replacement and extensible path. Here's another established and financially healthy security company, Visonic, that's been around for a long time -- now in the "PERS-and-beyond" market, aka the home monitoring market, with its Amber line.
It's own self-description is a mouthful: "AMBER Independence & Safety Support Solution enables community-based programs, retirement communities and nursing facilities, as well as friends and family, to provide seniors with comprehensive 24/7 remote support, enhanced safety and timely emergency response." Okay. But in a chat with Visonic President, Bill Lyon, I think there is more to this than meets the description. Maybe it's buried in the word "enhanced." And this company has a vision for the post-PERS technology-enabled world that we will all need to age in place, not just get help in an emergency.
As I have noted in a previous post, monitoring the house is an initial starting point for monitoring the safety and well-being of individuals within the house. For baby boomers with healthy and active parents, or for healthy seniors themselves, that means considering a product that is part of an extensible platform -- capable of subsequent plug-ins to health-care devices for checking vital signs and more. Visonic's AmberX offering is part of this extensible product line -- the company is in the security business -- with many established product offerings include carbon monoxide, smoke, flood, cameras, home controls, and and various door and window intrusion protection.
Its AmberX product has been on the market since April, and includes carbon monoxide, smoke, flood alerts, medication reminders, and a PERS. A person wearing the PERS pendant, by pressing the button, can answer an incoming call (multiple languages are supported), speak a message that use speed dials of up to 3 numbers. If part of a service or offered in an assisted living facility, the recipient of the message can adjust the voice volume to get the sound up if the dog is barking or the TV is on.
The device is listed through distributors, under its own company names in online ones like AlarmSystemStore for a direct purchase price of $239.95 -- or under various product names available through security services like one in Florida, Devcon Security, or ResponseLink. So maybe you don't know that you've got a product from Visonic -- I think it's worth it to inquire.