Alarm.com Wants to Save Your Grandma

wellness_UIsTo kick off 2014, security and automation company Alarm.com announced a new package, which they’re dubbing “Wellness”, that will allow Alarm.com users to remotely monitor their aging parents from the convenience of their Android device or web browser. While details about the tech are scarce, a press release yesterday says that Wellness will include a “new bed presence monitor, panic buttons and sensors that monitor activity.” It will also integrate with Alarm.com’s existing home automation offerings, which include the usual suspects–control of thermostats, lights, etc.

Again, Alarm.com isn’t saying too much about the service just yet. But if you squint really hard at a graphic from their website, you can see that the service appears to provide users with little graphs showing when in the day grandma tripped sensors around her home, including “Bed”, “Hallway”, “Door to Garage”, and my favorite, “Recliner”. According to the sample graphs on the site–which look disturbingly reminiscent of the ones circadian rhythm researchers use in rat studies–the grandma in question wakes up, walks to the kitchen, cooks, and then sits in a recliner for the rest of the day. Exciting stuff! Too bad the system doesn’t include sensors for “Doing Sudoku”, “Talking to Cat” or “Attempting to Text Message.”

The language on the site also hints that there will be some kind of algorithm applied to all the data, which will highlight unusual activity patterns which might indicate a fall or some kind of medical problem. The overall idea is that you can go all NSA on grandma, tracking her daily goings-on and checking in on her if things look out of the ordinary. By integrating with Alarm.com’s existing home automation offerings, you can even do semi-creepy things, like shut off her lights remotely at night, lock her door, or change her thermostat settings. I can just see the potential for dementia + home automation to result in some truly freaked out old people.

While Alarm.com is taking the eldercare angle with Wellness, one can easily see how the same system could be a real boon for general health nuts, lifehackers and such. People are already tracking their exercise and sleep¬†with automated gadgets–why not see when you cook breakfast each day, open the garage door, or sit down to watch TV? And I won’t even comment on the potential to attach this thing to your toilet…

Alarm.com already has a highly rated app and a nice system for home security and basic home automation. It’s exciting to see them taking the big-company HA market in a new direction with Wellness.

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