Why baby boomers are looking to IoT and analytics to stay safe

IoT security is becoming a top-of-mind priority in the personal care industry. Essence group believes it has the solution and had it on display at CES 2020.

Why baby boomers are looking to Iot and analytics to stay safe

TechRepublic's Karen Roby talked to Josh Locke, vice-president of sales at Essence Security, at CES 2020 about its Internet of Things (IoT) products for senior care. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

Josh Locke: This is Essence Group. We're representing four different business channels to our Essence Group umbrella, and we specialize in IoT in several different sectors. This is our biggest exhibition to date. We're really proud of being at CES 2020 again this year, and we can take you through some of our different channels. One of them is IoT for cybersecurity, which won an award this year, and one of our growing markets is our senior care market, which we call Care@Home.

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Karen Roby: There's been a lot more emphasis on that market now than we've ever seen before.

Josh Locke: It's the baby boom; it's the age wave.

Karen Roby: Talk about that. How are you helping people that are in their homes, such as the aging population?

Josh Locke: We're an Israel-based manufacturer and platform provider, and we don't sell to consumers or the seniors themselves. We work with businesses who are established already in the senior market, the independent living market, and we custom manufacture not only just the hardware but the platforms to better engage caregivers, for example, on the activity of their loved one and providing IoT in the home that contributes data that provides more value and creates long-term independence, keeping them in the home.

We work with those companies who bring our innovation to market to the consumer under their brand, and the age wave, like I said, it's booming rapidly. It's a fairly small industry. We call it Personal Emergency Response Systems, P-E-R-S industry, and it's a fairly small industry. It's about a $1.3 billion industry. It sounds big, but in the whole scheme of things, it's kind of small. There's really only about the top 10 providers of medical alerts or health buttons, or whatever you want to call them.

Karen Roby: We hear a lot about data privacy and that we should be concerned about it in every facet of our lives. Are you noticing that people are asking more about the privacy of the information that these sensors and IoT devices are extracting?

Josh Locke: Yes, but not so much on our senior market side. It's kind of a primitive industry. It's a box-and-a-button-type shipping industry. A lot of times it's purchased as reactive to something that happened to mom or dad, and the son or daughter is concerned. Around the holidays there's a big spike. But on other facets like security, that's why we created our SigmaDots line, which is... You'll talk to Itsik [Harpaz], but he comes from the Israeli military, and that's what he did for the military (IT research and development), he's got extreme expertise in that area, and I'll let him speak to that as well. But to answer your question, not so much on the senior market, but it is applicable because it is an IoT device in the home, from which you can hack data. It's relevant. It's not FDA certified, it doesn't need to be now, but at some point it might need to be, and it needs to be prepared for those types of privacy security.

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