The division of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) that makes automated home products could begin making smart devices designed for senior housing communities.
The internet tech giant is reportedly approaching senior living communities to gather feedback on how it can tailor its Nest devices to older adults, according to CNBC. Preliminary ideas range from motion sensors that help people use the restroom late at night, technology to notify seniors when they’re at risk of dehydration, and using sensors to track and prevent falls.
Perhaps signaling an intention to learn more about the senior housing space, Nest Chief Technology Officer Yoky Matsuoka is slated to speak at this year’s National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care’s (NIC) conference in Chicago this October.
Google is not the first tech company to quietly explore senior living as a new service line. Earlier this year, online retail giant Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) reportedly took a multi-city bus tour that included input from senior living innovator Bill Thomas. The company was also rumored to be developing a “top-secret” robot that would follow people around the house and provide assistance.
More generally, both Nest and Amazon devices are useful in senior housing settings. Some large senior living providers—such as Glendale, California-based Front Porch—are indeed experimenting with the technology. Still, others say voice-activated devices and other tech innovations for older adults aren’t quite ready for widespread use.
Written by Tim Regan