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The Boomer

This smart home tech offers seniors independence (and loved ones peace of mind)

By Casey Dowd The Boomer FOXBusiness

One Cincinnati-based startup recently launched a DIY kit of smart-home connected products – which includes voice-controlled Amazon Echo Dot technology -- that it says can help senior citizens live independently for longer.

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The kit offered by TruSense, with starting prices at about $200 (and a $50-per-month subscription fee), is sold as a package deal that includes a monitoring service and app that allows loved ones to virtually keep track of you remotely, and be alerted if you may need assistance. For now, TruSense is only available in the U.S.

Does the price make sense?

“A similar SmartThings monitoring kit costs $250. The $50 a month cost is more than comparable monitoring plans from Lowe's Iris and SimpliSafe, but roughly on par with professional services like ADT and AT&T Digital Life,” according to a CNET review. “To be worth it in the long run … the app will need to offer accurate data and useful insights. You don't have to pay a monthly fee to use SmartThings gear or an Amazon Echo Dot on its own.”

FOX Business caught up with Rob Deubell, vice president of TruSense, to find out more about the company's new product.

FOX BUSINESS: How does the TruSense monitoring system work?

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TruSense: TruSense’s passive in-home sensors are modern and discreet. Families decide together where to put them, and once connected to the home’s wifi, they immediately begin to have their loved-one protected and can get insights into wellness trends that may suggest that further attention is needed- such as a decline in activity levels, whether they are they getting a sufficient amount of sleep, or a sudden change in bathroom frequency.

TruSense can also report how much time caregivers or other visitors spend in the home while also monitoring for safe home temperatures, dangerous water leaks and vehicle GPS. Also, should they be experiencing early stages of dementia and have a tendency to get lost or wander, TruSense can also see their loved one’s location.

When a pattern shifts, TruSense notices, and updates the user and the circle of people who they’ve chosen via custom notifications—it can even notify the 24/7 emergency monitoring center through a voice integration with the Amazon Echo Dot.

Loved ones and other caregivers that are granted access to the trusted circle by the family can get at-a-glance updates on insights from any device with an internet connection.

FOX BUSINESS: How many seniors have signed on to this system while in stealth mode?

TruSense: We utilized a controlled program while building towards launch as we were creating something new in the market, specifically forging new ground with the TruSense intelligence layer and algorithms.  We started by building a small apartment in our warehouse over a year ago where we tested thousands of situations and scenarios to refine the algorithms and ensure they were accurate.

Eight months ago we started working with just a few seniors where we had direct access that provided us with first-hand observations of their life patterns to be certain the system output matched the real world patterns and accurately identified any anomalies that related to potential safety and wellness issues.  More recently we extended to a small group of seniors including a program with an independent living facility that provided additional confirmation of the accuracy of TruSense.   

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FOX BUSINESS: What would you say to critics who point out that technology can sometime malfunction?

TruSense: We have gone to great lengths to ensure that TruSense delivers multiple layers of protection, providing a fail-safe system that provides a safety net. Through integration with multiple technology options (e.g. Echo Dot, Motion Sensors, Pendant) TruSense provides redundancy for additional peace of mind.

TruSense does not require a wearable to deliver 24/7 emergency response. TruSense in-home sensors operate together as a new kind of personal emergency response system (PERS).

TruSense has personalized alerts and notifications when something goes wrong based on customized user thresholds that can trigger a text or voice commands can be used to notify our 24/7 emergency response team via integration with digital assistants such as Amazon Echo. 

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