Home monitoring set to boom in 2010

A focus on prevention and alternate care models, paying a set monthly fee per-person rather than just when a service is needed, all mean there will be money around to buy solutions.

If it's true, as this AP story indicates, that the only thing standing in the way of home monitoring of seniors is price, then you can bet the field is set to boom in 2010.

(The picture is from Home for Life Solutions, which specializes in systems which include both equipment and remote monitoring services.)

I have been studying the field since early in the decade. These are medical monitors that can be worn or installed around the home. They monitor the patient silently, communicating through wireless technology, and can deliver alerts to the patient, to caregivers, or even to a remote ambulance at a sign of trouble.

The solutions are an outgrowth of WiFi, although some run on dedicated medical frequencies, along with single-chip mote and sensor technologies developed by Intel and other firms during the decade.

The boom is also driven by demographics. I turn 55 next year. America's middle class is aging rapidly. Most of us want to stay in our homes, and independent, as long as possible. Given the emerging shortage of young workers technology is the only possible solution.

The trend also fits well with today's politics. A focus on prevention and alternate care models, paying a set monthly fee per-person rather than just when a service is needed, all mean there will be money around to buy home monitoring solutions.

What I once called the "age of always on" is finally at hand, and by the end of the coming decade it will be common. If you're a baby boomer you're going to be a buyer.

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