Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Smart sensors keep eye on elderly at home

Steve Rogerson
January 7, 2015
Children can keep an eye on their elderly parents using a smart sensor system in their homes that detects abnormal behaviour. On display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Senior Lifestyle from GreenPeak Technologies is a sensor and cloud based intelligent system for service providers and retailers.

The system lets children and their elderly parents privately and securely share lifestyle information, enabling the seniors to feel safe and live longer at home independently, while their children feel secure that their parents are safe and well.

It uses a network of wireless Zigbee sensor nodes located throughout the home. This network connects via an internet gateway to a cloud-based self-learning algorithm with behaviour pattern recognition capabilities that learn the normal day-to-day activities and behaviour of people in their home. Because it does not require people to wear devices and does not use cameras, the system is unobtrusive and ensures privacy.

“Family Lifestyle systems can encompass a wide range of living and family social environments,” said Cees Links, CEO of GreenPeak Technologies. “We are starting with the Senior Lifestyle system because that is an acknowledged need – keeping family members and loved ones informed, wherever they are, on how they are doing. With a growing number of elderly people wishing to continue living in their own home longer, the demands for smart assisted living are rapidly increasing.”

Currently being rolled out in Europe and China, the system learns what the normal patterns in the home are. When do the home’s residents get up in the morning? When are they in the kitchen cooking, when are they watching TV? When do they usually turn on the heating or air conditioning? When do they leave and come back? Where are they in the house and when do they need light? Within a few weeks, the application learns what is normal, and therefore also learns what is not as expected and can send an alert to a smart phone or integrated social media app when something is not quite right or when irregular behaviour is detected. 

"The core sensing and networking technologies supporting the smart home and internet of things continue to improve, and a big part of that is embracing standardised technologies that are proven to work, and are easy to install and require little maintenance," said Jim Montgomery, senior analyst for Nanomarkets. "What will truly drive success in the smart home area, though, is creating significantly more value for these systems through applications that address and solve real-world problems. This will create opportunities for everyone: consumers, service providers and systems manufacturers."

The system has been tested in care environments, has won various awards for top quality home care, and is also available for service providers, retailers, system integrators and smart home system developers.