New elderly monitoring service using smart wristband

Japanese security service provider Secom plans to launch a monitoring system for the elderly next summer centered on a newly developed smart wristband that constantly keeps tabs on the well-being of the person wearing it.

The Secom My Doctor Watch goes one better than a typical “emergency button” wearable because it can detect trouble and issue an emergency notification even if the wearer becomes unconscious and cannot press a button for help. Secom receives the notification and sends assistance.

At a presentation Wednesday, company president Yasuo Nakayama described the wristband and associated service as an example of how Secom is adapting to the evolution of technology in areas such as the internet of things. The company intends to add a succession of features and services that emphasize the safety and security of wearing the wristband at all times.

The wristband can run on its battery for 10 days and recharge in 20 minutes. The device is water-resistant and can be worn in the shower.

Like other wristband health trackers, the Secom My Doctor Watch can do things such as count steps and calculate how many calories have been burned.

But it can also identify abnormal situations and issue emergency notifications. For example, if the wristband detects a force such as the body falling and receives no further input for 50 seconds, it will assume there is trouble and notify Secom’s monitoring center. By combining that warning with the GPS signal from the wearer’s smartphone, Secom can dispatch help.

The Secom My Doctor Watch also has features for closer monitoring in the home. For example, it can distinguish between real trouble and simple naps, helping ease people’s fear of dying alone.

Secom will conduct field trials on some of the features at the start of the new year and hopes to introduce the full service in summer 2017. The idea is to price the service under 1,000 yen ($8.51) a month, and sign 30,000 contracts in the first year among the roughly 1.17 million users of Secom home security services.

Between 2015 and 2030, the number of people over age 75 in Japan will grow more than 40% to an estimated 23 million. Given the health ministry’s policy of encouraging people to receive medical and nursing care in their own homes, advanced monitoring services for the elderly are increasing in importance.

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