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Why not an AgingTech Systems Integrator?

Another aging tech gap that must be filled. I received an e-mail the other day that pointed out: "I’m very interested in the role of technology and read about a lot of products – the thing that I don’t see much about is what types of solution providers are doing the installation, servicing, etc. It’s actually a business I’ve considered entering – but have yet to find any reference points on this side of the industry."

I was traveling and only had my BlackBerry, so I referred the individual to the Forum part of this website -- but now I am concerned. As I look through the listings, I see little about installation and servicing of tech products, even though I know several who are entering this business in various states. Bummer. As you may know, I previously ranted about the need for technology certification in this field, but I was referring to certification of those who work in senior housing, interior design, home care, geriatric care -- I was not thinking about independent service providers who could integrate multiple technologies.

So where are they (you)? And what industry skill and certification should they (you) have? Ex-telecom and networking people? Home automation providers? Former IT folk? Service people from tech product companies? I realize that the big companies, like Philips, already have installers. And the smaller companies are signing up dealers/installers. But what about the vendor-agnostic? Those who want to assess and find the right tech for the circumstance?

And what is the category of work they do? How about calling them 'AgingTech Systems Integrators" and have them self-identify in a professional designation of ATSI, as in John Smith, Certified ATSI. Is the best candidate to become an ATSI someone who is already certified in another tech area?

Why, who, why not? Thoughts are welcome.


category tags: 


Installers? Servicing? For what?
Durable medical equipment mfgrs have techs to install complicated services such as respirators and such.
If the systems are complicated requiring professional installers, the system needs to be reviewed.
The objective of these "systems" should be (and in some cases are) to be so simple ANYONE can install them and they have low maintenance needs.
Seniors should not be burdened with such complicated systems.

Home monitoring (an example) requires placement of sensors around a room and verification that they are in the intended place. To clarify, in my view a 'system' has at least two players -- transmission and receiving the transmission. Perhaps a senior would want to install, but more likely caregivers. With webcams, network, and PC's -- someone needs to be available to troubleshoot, if not actually install.

Durable medical equipment manufacturers would be great as installers of home monitoring. So would telehealth nurses who put in telehealth systems like Viterion's, for example. Right now, to my knowledge, neither seems to be moving out of their specific 'healthcare' domain.

If you would like to list the 'ANYONE can install' technologies, that would be helpful.

The real need for an AIP system is to replace the cost of $3,000 to $6,000 per month for aggressive nursing or assisted living facilities. It seems to me to be well within tolerance to pay a professional a reasonable installation and hardware fee with or without a monthly monitoring fee, that could be recouped from in-facility care savings in a month or two, maybe three tops. The senior stays in their home environment and after a short while has paid for the system and/or monitoring.

Many people utilize installation services for televisions and music systems. That's why the Geek Squad is successful. Even your MP3 player come with a 25 page manual! A consumer-grade "anyone can install" AiP technology is currently a pipedream, though certainly a laudible goal. I may personally find it easy because I'm comfortable around technology and I actually RTFM. Most people are ignorant (NOT stupid!) and afraid of technology. As such, "who you gonna call ... GEEK SQUAD" ;-)

As Laurie stated, many of these technologies have specific installation and optimal placement requirements in order to be effective. Ongoing maintenance is a must with any technology. I strongly agree with you that the operation of the device(s) should be simple for the average consumer, and certainly less complicated than operating your cell-phone, HDTV, TIVO, etc ...

Already exists structurally via this organization. Can (should!) be expanded specifically for AiP technologies. Perhaps in concert with AAHSA's Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) program. The Best Buy Geek Squad is in excellent position to provide this service since they have the mobile techs. ADT was (is?) also furnishing the mobile service. In time, IMHO, this can be a very lucrative franchise (consider the Rigid Tools franchise as an example)

Additional info:

1. http://www.comptia.org/certifications/listed/dhti.aspx

2. http://www.nahb.org/category.aspx?sectionID=686

I like the idea of some sort of training programs for aging in place "technicians" who could help people become aware of and adopt emerging aging in place technologies (AIPT).

As you've pointed out elsewhere,  "lack of awareness" is a big barrier to the adoption of AIPT. 

These barriers will fall faster when grassroots marketing efforts by emerging service companies such as www.huladog.biz and others offer in-home product demonstrations, installation, aggregation/integration and servicing of compatible "calibrated care" technologies such as www.healthsense.com and www.halomonitoring.com

If it is necessary..it is possible"  (Greek proverb).    

There is no way that the millions of babyboomers who want to be able to age in place AND proactively manage their health will be able to do so without AIPT.  It's also very unlikely that the USA will be able to contain our out of control healthcare costs without supporting/promoting/incentivising the adoption of AIPT too.







RESNA is a non-profit professional organization whose members serve people with disabilities seeking technology applications to maximize their ability to function in their environment.

The Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America offers professional certifications in Assistive Technology and Rehabilitation Engineering (http://www.resna.org/certification/index.php).

A trained assistive technology professional analyzes the needs of individuals with disabilities, assists in the selection of the appropriate equipment and trains the consumer how to properly use the specific equipment. The Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) certification recognizes professionals who have reached an internationally accepted standard of knowledge in assistive technology and who demonstrate a commitment to provide only the highest ethical standards of practice.

There are almost 4,000 rehabilitation engineers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, suppliers, educators and other professionals who have successfully received their certification.

For more information visit www.resna.org

I agree with many that there is a need to have the proper people provide the necessary support and installation services for the home health technology or aging in place technologies.
I also agree that this is going to happen with or without a certification. However there are many certifications that exist that people can turn to as the tele-health market continues to evolve.I personally am all about training and certifications.
I truely believe the most reputable installer for any home health network or IT system probably will not come from a consumer electronics based company. Such a certification will not be recognized as reputable, since just about all in the healthcare field earn their professional designations only after many years of education and experience on the job.
It will also be difficult to get the true experienced experts to join a new organization that has no history or credibility in the telecommunications field. Currently it seems to me as there is not going to be a mandated credential by a consumer so why would any organization even waste their time and money to do something so silly when there are options that exist already.
Technicians trained by manufacturers of medical equipment are well trained and knowledgeable no doubt. However, they are not trained for practical applications of home based telecommunications systems and the necessary related electrical and telecom codes,standards and best practices that will be required to provide a stable and predictable enviroment for a home health infrastructure. Many consumers may not care about this but there are many that will, especially the local authority having jurisdiction and building inspectors. Devices that are wireless are afterall connected to a wired system at some point and eventually tied to a homes electrical system and lighting since lighting is a huge safety enhancer of any home system. Furtermore, all home systems are connected to the public telephone network.
Who could provide peace of mind? Well i see engineers like myself and would point to those people already trained by companies like cisco,IBM, Nortel, any National electrical code electrical contractor,or Licensed low voltage contractors(vary by state).
However what should not be overlooked are the building automation systems integrators and home automation specialists and ESPECIALLY (my fav) the engineers and installation companies that are credentialed by BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Standards International).
A vendor neutral international educational organization in over 100 countries. BICSI professionals are mandated by government organizations,educational institutions, and the military.
BICSI is actually rewritting the healthcare telecommunication standards for every healthcare facility in the united states to follow, as i write this.
With my girfriend as a nurse and Mom a doctor, i have first hand witnessed the requirements the healthcare industry mandates. BICSI is just as demanding, and requires ongoing training like any other medical professional.
I have recently entered the healthcare technology market because i saw there was noone who provided the necessary knowledge to the average american who wants to live with the assistance of technology. I am glad i did, as every person i meet loves to benefit from my companies seemless knowledge and resources. It feels great every day to help and see someone you never met before smile!
Jude Harper RCDD/NTS/TLT
Director Of Operations
Harper Technology Group