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Friday, February 10, 2017

Independa: People will happily engage with technology that is easy to use

Kian Saneii, Founder and CEO, Independa, provided insight on several key industry trends for Parks Associates’ 11th-annual CONNECTIONS™ Summit conference, which was held January 5 at CES 2017 in Las Vegas:

What is the most important next step to engage consumers in smart home solutions, connected entertainment services, and/or value-added services like tech support and connected health?

We must leverage technology people are already using and stop requiring them to learn new technologies. We also should promote an integrated view of technology when it comes to smart home solutions, not siloed, product by product approach. This allows for simplicity of use and much better adoptability.

This is especially true when it comes to the forgotten consumers: older adults. There’s this misconception that consumer electronics only appeal to younger generations, but people aged 65+ are just as much, if not more, interested in technology and connected health devices as their younger counterparts. Consider this: Baby Boomers control a whopping 70% of all disposable income in the United States, according to a 2015 report from U.S. News. Ignoring this population is not only a disservice to our elderly loved ones, but also a questionable business strategy.

Make technology as easy as possible to use - as accessible and familiar as possible - and people will happily engage.

What changes do you expect to take place in the next year in the smart home and connected consumer markets?

We expect to see many more mergers and partnerships. It’s already started; giant organizations are teaming up to conquer human challenges. Look at Google and Lexus, who are working together on fully automated cars that drive you where you need to go. Imagine how this restores freedom for people who may have mobility challenges, or busy parents who need to pick up their children from school but are stuck at work.

Another example: we at Independa have partnered with great consumer brand organizations like LG, to improve the quality of life for aging adults. With LG, we become more accessible to consumers. No matter what your age, everyone knows how to use the TV and the telephone. We believe the “consumerization of healthcare” must start with meeting those with the greatest needs, where they are. That means our aging population in their residence, through the TV.

People are coming together to overcome some of the world’s most common problems.

What is the biggest driver for the connected consumer market?

Value. It doesn’t matter if an electronic device is priced at $1 or $1000 if it doesn’t create value. There needs to be a greater focus in the connected consumer market, which then creates greater value. The connected consumer market creates additional value greater than the sum of its disconnected parts!

Creating value goes hand-in-hand with the “next step for engaging consumers” we mentioned earlier - if technology isn’t accessible, immediately useful and easy to use, then where is the value? Tablets and smartphones are fantastic pieces of the smart home connectivity puzzle - but can they be truly relied upon as a comfortable baseline for anyone, of any age, to use? When it comes to the elderly, the answer is it’s always the TV that comes first.

What are the biggest technology innovations impacting the connected home market?

The biggest technology innovations are those which are frictionless; they’re effortless to use and easy to understand. Leveraging commodity appliances everyone understands and is already using is a huge part of creating fluid, integrated tech. Such a solution is a platform approach, where disparate siloed devices from multiple manufacturers can magically work together to provide value to the person. A person-centric approach requires a platform approach that connects across disparate yet important silos of value and devices.

Our lives consist of all these varied, moving parts. Technology that spans across the multiple functions which make up our life, such as health, security and aging in place, address what’s at the core of the connected home: the connected person. Developing an environment that enables a person to be connected and feel engaged must be at the forefront of these connected technologies. Innovations can be integrated across multiple devices and technologies that people already use to create a more seamless experience for all.

This integrated, whole person approach is necessary to provide the simplest, yet most effective solution. For example, we leverage the connected home to deliver the best remote engagement and care for our aging loved ones. We not only connect disparate devices, but we add our own human components to it as well, like health and security, to enable full connectivity and engagement for the person.

Our vision for the connected home is one where technologies are simplified and streamlined through the television, the technology everyone is comfortable using. Different manufacturers work to create simple and effortless technologies which service various needs, such as aging in place, energy management, security, and health, amongst others.

Saneii spoke on the session “The Role of Connected Health Services in the Smart Home” on January 5 at 11:45 a.m. Other speakers on the panel included Philips, A&D Medical, Alarm.com, and Care Angel.

For more information on CONNECTIONS™ Summit, visit www.connectionssummit.com or register by clicking here.

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