A new report from CNBC claims that Comcast is developing a new smart home device that focuses on tracking the health of its users.
Even though the report mentioned that the company’s smart home device will have a personality similar to other smart speakers from Google and Amazon, the product is designed not to provide answers from search results, purchase items online, or control Internet of Things devices.
Instead, the smart home device will use ambient sensors to track the health and activities of the user and make emergency phone calls when necessary.
According to the report, Comcast has been working on this device for more than a year, and this product can track user activities like sleep and trips to the bathroom. These activities provide a clue into the current health status of the user. Furthermore, the device can also detect if a person takes a fall, a situation that can be deadly for the elderly.
Comcast will reportedly start testing its smart home device this year, and this trial will include customers who are not current customers. The service provider is also working with several large hospitals, with the aim of deploying the smart device in hopes of reducing instances of discharged patients being rushed back into the emergency room. However, the testing phase will likely take several months before the commercial launch of the product takes place next year.
CNBC noted that aside from offering the smart device, Comcast may also offer to install and maintain the devices with the help of its technicians from the company’s cable and broadband business.
As time progress, smart devices that focus on monitoring the health of the person continues to proliferate. The report noted that Google currently has plans to develop solutions for elderly care based on its Nest and Google Home devices. The search giant is also working on creating applications and artificial intelligence solutions that improve the health of its users by tracking health indicators.
Amazon, on the other hand, is also working to develop health solutions based on its popular personal assistant Alexa. To steer the process of creating health services, the online retailer established a “health and wellness” team within the division responsible for its personal assistant.
Within the last few weeks, Amazon’s Alexa was certified as compatible with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Aside from allowing Alexa to offer health services like scheduling doctor appointments and accessing sensitive medical information, compatibility with HIPAA ensures that the person’s medical information is stored safely.
Other companies are also developing healthcare solutions based on smart home devices and appliances. For example, a company released a subscription service that allowed caregivers to check on their loved ones using smart televisions, while smartwatches with health-focused approach have started to become more common.
While the commercial release for Comcast's’ solution will likely take place in 2020, there is little information available about the pricing of the device, as well as the other potential features that the smart product could offer to its customers.