Remote Attentiveness

ConnectedLife CEO David Ng discusses how his company keeps seniors safe at home through smart technology solutions.

BY AUDRINA GAN
PHOTOS CONNECTEDLIFE

 

A

fter his father, who lives alone in the United Kingdom, suffered a health scare, Daryl Arnold had sensors installed at his home. Connected to a mobile app that he had developed with a team of engineers, these allowed him to monitor the environmental conditions in the elderly man’s home, as well as gain insights into his daily activities.

With the vision of helping older adults live well and stay connected, Arnold, a Singapore Permanent Resident, started Silverline in 2013. Now known as ConnectedLife, the technology startup provides remote monitoring services for elderly people like his father to live independently, while providing peace of mind to their caregivers and families.

MEETING GROWING NEEDS
In Singapore, the number of people aged 65 and over who are living alone has tripled since 2000. The rate of chronic illness is also growing, further straining local healthcare sectors that are already facing manpower shortages. With that in mind, ConnectedLife CEO David Ng notes a rising demand for new services that can support independent living while delivering quality care.

“Coupled with the increasing challenge of managing the at-risk population and the shift towards delivering care for the community, we are motivated to provide a scalable and low-cost solution to address the complex needs of the fast-growing global ageing population,” says Ng.

Initially, the gateway for ConnectedLife’s first set of basic motion sensors was built using a 3D printer, so production costs were high and scaling up its production was a challenge. Hence, the company decided to work with American technology giant Intel, which helped to source for manufacturers that could produce it at a cost-effective price.

ConnectedLife CEO David Ng plans to expand his companyʼs services beyond Singapore.

The gateway, which is a router that connects and relays all the home sensors’ data, also uses the Intel chip to power its functions. “The partnership with Intel is important, as we now have a reliable and effective piece of hardware for our customers,” says Ng.

ConnectedLifeʼs remote monitoring services can help caregivers track the elderlyʼs health in real time.

 

SHARPENED AWARENESS
ConnectedLife, which started out providing motion and door movement monitoring services, realised that such data was inadequate when it came to detecting sudden changes in an older adult’s health. It then discovered Fujitsu’s Sound Sensing Technology, which recorded coughing and snoring as “events” that caregivers can use in charting a person’s health. “We knew this was a good fit, and made the decision to co-create our solution with them,” says Ng.

The resulting co-innovation was a cloud-based service that detects sound and movement anomalies. It can also sense changes in environmental temperature and humidity, which may impact the quality of sleep.

“For example, if there are abnormal sounds like excessive coughing, the unique sonic algorithm sees it as something unusual, and an alert will be sent to the family and caregivers,” Ng explains.

Through the data on the cloud system, families and caregivers are able to monitor the elderly’s health in real-time online or through a mobile device. So far, the system has helped families in Singapore stay connected to their loved ones.

Take, for instance, caregiver Chua Teck Chuan, who says that installing the sensors and cloud system for his 80-year-old mother, who lives alone, has made him feel more at ease. “If there’s any emergency, she just has to press the button and we’ll be notified and can thus respond promptly.”

In turn, embarking on co- creation projects with partners like ConnectedLife is one example of how Fujitsu has encouraged its staff to embody its corporate values of contributing to society in all its actions, says Raymond Foo, senior vice president, marketing and business development (Internet of Things).

“Partnerships like these are important and valuable, as we continue to deploy technology into real-life situations to meet the needs of society,” he adds.

Collaborating with the likes of ConnectedLife has also inspired the Japanese tech giant to harness remote monitoring to ensure its workers’ well-being.

LEVELLING UP
Leveraging its collaborations with international partners, Ng says the company is looking to expand its services beyond Singapore to Japan, Australia, Europe and North America. “Multinational companies have a large customer base, and our partners have the technological expertise and know-how to help us scale and operate our business worldwide,” Ng explains.

“ Regardless of whether we are in America, Japan or Singapore, we are all facing a common challenge – a rapidly ageing population whose care is becoming more costly. ”


David Ng, CEO of ConnectedLife

“We have used wearable technology solutions to support worker safety, especially in remote and severely hot environments where workers can be subjected to risks of heat stress,” Foo shares.

In turn, working with Intel and Fujitsu has given Ng greater insights on ageing populations outside of Singapore. “Regardless of whether we are in America, Japan or Singapore, we are all facing a common challenge – a rapidly ageing population whose care is becoming more costly,” he adds.

From interacting with the Fujitsu staff, Ng has also gained a new appreciation of their working style. “The Japanese are known to be process-driven, with fixed formulas. But I discovered that they can also be accommodating and flexible when finding solutions to problems,” he shares.




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