Spying on mom
A startup helps families keep elderly relatives safe by placing sensors in the home.
by Lawrence A. Armour, FSB Magazine

NEW YORK (FORTUNE Small Business Magazine) - Worried about an elderly relative who lives alone? Upset that you can't keep your unblinking eye on her 24 hours a day to ensure she's safe and healthy?

Living Independently Group, a three-year-old New York City company, is offering what it bills as the next best thing: sensors throughout her home to keep track of her movements.

DiagramlaunchSee how it works

Living Independently markets its $80-a-month QuietCare service through its sales force and home-security giant ADT. It has also signed up more than 50 assisted-care facilities and home-care agencies. Its latest coup: Ecumen, an operator of more than 100 senior centers in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, recently installed 20 QuietCare systems and plans to add 100 more this year.

Living Independently's CEO, John Lakian, 63, says he expects the deal to help bring revenues into the "high seven digits" in 2006. Here's how his system watches over those who need it.

How it works

Sensors placed throughout the house track the resident's actions - how much time she spends in the bathroom, how often she takes medication, when she wakes up - and wirelessly send the data to a base station inside the house.

Every two hours - or sooner in the case of an emergency - the base station transmits the information to an off-site server which checks the data against a profile of her standard behavior. If the server notes a discrepancy, it sends an alert to a family member or other contact, via e-mail or a live operator.


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