Presently, the health innovation segment at Comcast is working on an in-home device to monitor people’s health, especially at-risk people like seniors and the ones with disabilities, and plans to start pilot-testing later this year. The pricing and roll-out time is yet to be finalized.
The company has been working on the device for more than a year now and under the guidance of the new senior vice president and health manager, it is building a strategy and a team to bring the new health hardware to market.
The said device will be able to monitor people’s basic health metrics using ambient sensors and will particularly focus on whether someone is frequenting the bathroom more often or spending more time in bed than normal. Comcast is also designing tools to detect falls which are common and sometimes fatal among elderly people.
What differentiates the device is that it won’t be positioned as communication or assistant tool and won’t follow search instructions on the web. But it will take after the personality of Alexa and will be able to make emergency calls during a health event.
Though Comcast already has devices pertaining to home security and automation, the said device would be the first of its kind in the health segment. The company has already partnered with several insurers like Independence Health Group to explore opportunities in the health sector a few years ago.
With this device, Comcast will join the cohort of technology companies like Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), and Apple (AAPL) that are already looking at exploring opportunities in senior living facilities, fall detection, and heart health tracking.
Another differentiator for Comcast among the aging population will be its access to the home through its cable and broadband business which means technicians can make house calls for installations. The company aims to act as a measure so that aging patients do not end up in hospitals soon after their release.