Everywhere you look, the greying baby boomer generation is in the news. Many years ago, I covered a feature on the home of the future—this was a home that would have digital sensors to monitor your movements and alert family members if something was amiss. It was single level or had wheelchair or scooter access. It was remote-controllable, so at the push of a button, you could call security, control your temperature, lighting, audio/video and drapes; in short, 15 years ago, the home of the future would give you peace of mind as you aged, eliminating the necessity of a retirement or assisted living home.
Well it’s finally here; and it’s aligning into place so that the custom integrator can own this market. But you had better hurry. Said GrandCare’s Laura Mitchell, director of business relations, “Some estimates project that by the year 2020, the health-monitoring market will reach $20 billion. A lot of boomers aren’t going to settle for what they had to offer their parents. They want to age at home, and are very particular about their needs.” If that last part sounds like about 90 percent of your customer base, then it’s time to consider getting into this very special customer service area right now, ahead of the curve.
We at CustomRetailer know, that “The Curve” has sped up. Today’s successful company has to do its due diligence quickly and move ahead at a much more rapid rate than their predecessors. Read about how best to succeed in this burgeoning market on page 26….
…GrandCare: Catching the ‘Aging Tsunami’ Wave
GrandCare Systems wants to help custom integrators become aging-in-place expert advisors—just as they are lighting, home automation and home entertainment expert advisors. The company, together with distribution partner Home Controls, is aiming at the CI channel as a natural fit for its suite of health-monitoring offerings.
“There’s an ‘aging tsunami’ coming,” explains GrandCare’s Laura Mitchell, director of business relations. Some estimates project that by the year 2020, the health-monitoring market will reach $20 billion.
“A lot of boomers aren’t going to settle for what they had to offer their parents,” Mitchell says. “They want to age at home, and are very particular about their needs.” If that last part sounds like about 90 percent of your customer base, then it’s time to
consider getting into this very special customer service area right now, ahead of the curve. Mitchell says the skill sets aren’t
very different from what CIs already offer. “Our product is ‘smart’ and uses a lot of
home automation and smart sensor technology, things that CIs are used to
dealing with. It also requires a personal
touch—it’s not a set-and-forget system.
It’s easy to navigate for the caregiver once it’s set up, but it’s a little daunting for them when they have to think about how they’re going to use it. Our dealers are the ones who sit down with the families and customize the package for them. They can find out needs, set up a care plan for the
person, and from there, determine what sensor suite is right for them.” The company currently offers its interactive Trillium all-in-one solution and a set-top box version, but
the range of available sensors that can be monitored runs the gamut. “There are motion and temperature sensors, door, bed, chair, caller ID, power and telewellness items like blood pressure, weight…
And then there’s the communication component, where the communication station can be viewed on any TV or on the touchscreen, enabling the caregiver or the patient to play games on it or call up videos on demand that have been added. It’s highly customizable, and it will be different for each individual,” says Mitchell. GrandCare supports its products with full training and has a dealer Web site with downloads and chat forums. Mitchell herself founded and hosts weekly AgeTech aging and technology Webinars that are open to all, and is a vice
chair on the AgeTek Alliance board (www.agetek.org), a consortium of aging in technology industry members. She will also coordinate educational tracks at this year’s CEDIA EXPO Home Technology Pavilion, which GrandCare Systems is sponsoring.
Education is paramount, says Mitchell, since the dealer/integrator is the linchpin in guiding clients to the right combination of gear. “The client needs help,” she says. “You need to be able to question them not about what they think they need, but on
what they expect the outcome to be, in order to fully serve their needs.”