Host(00:00:28): Hello everyone, thank you for coming to today’s presentation. My name is Maheesh and I will be your main host today. Just some general comments: please leave any questions you may have to the end of the presentation by utilizing the Q&A function in your zoom functions below. This presentation will be featuring Mark and will be regarding home automation for the family caregiver. Mark has had many years of experience with the base of his professional life being about technical solutions for companies surrounding content, branding, and their marketing efforts. As a five-time Sci-core technical MVP, Mark has created solutions exceeding consumer needs and improving abilities. Currently, Mark leads a group at a major US insurance company, helping them research digital transformation objectives. And with that being said, I would like to pass this on to Mark, who will be giving his presentation.
Mark Servais(00:01:12): I want to thank everyone for coming to the session. We’re going to spend our time today to talk about technology and caregiving. Now, this is a presentation I originally developed to give to caregivers to help them understand more about the internet of things, devices off the shelf they can use, and using them in a way, and rethinking some of those devices to be able to shave time off some of their demands and caregiving. I’m going to talk about this modified presentation, we’re going to make it our own for today, because we’re not all caregivers. Some of you in the audience may as well be, and you’re going to have a little bit more background into this than others. What we really want to talk about is an industry perspective from a product management of devices, to the software, to understanding the niche market.
A caregiver is the type of thing where the market is not technical, but they definitely have some aspects that may be very beneficial to your product line or may create havoc with your product line. We’ll definitely be talking about that today. We’re going to talk about that customer dynamic, the repurposing of the intent of devices that you are producing. Then, I’ll kind of go about what I do as a technologist and a caregiver and potentially what a caregiver who is not as tech-savvy might do. We’re going to go through some different perspectives in the caregiver market and take a look at what they’re doing from their version of a use case. Then we’re going to wrap it back around and try to translate it to what we are used to from a technology and a product management standpoint from a use case scenario to see how those two can intertwine.
Then, obviously, we’re going to talk about channels in the less technical consumer market. I’m an anomaly to that market, but most caregivers don’t have a technical background, in fact, most of them are pre-novice to technology. When I give this presentation to them, it’s really a grooming and helping situation, so they get comfortable, they know where to start, and they know how to research. Next, we have the context of what a family caregiver is and what I find as a unique niche as a consumer group. Family caregivers are people, by choice, by sometimes force, put other’s needs before theirs. They postpone their life, they deferred their plans, they’re doing everything for another person (typically another family member).
Thinking about that commitment, that passion, that drive, they are beyond busy because while they have their own life, they are helping someone else live theirs. I really never talk to the caregivers as they’re going to save time. You have the same amount of time that I do. We’re going to be together in this session for exactly the same amount of time until it ends. We’re not going to bank that time. We’re not going to be able to repurpose that time. We’re either going to be in it, or we’re not. The same with anything, the same with caregiving. We talk about shaving time for the caregiver, and what that really means is being able to repurpose activity to provide different cares or better perform a care for a caree, and how I utilize IOT to really make that happen. When we look at the phrase “time is money”, these people have no time, they’re not making any money. They’re doing it for passion, they’re doing it for purpose. I argue that caregiving is something that everyone will have an opportunity to do in their life, on some level or another. You will find it very rewarding; you will find it very difficult, you will find yourself put in situations quite frankly you never thought you would pull off, and so these are people that will do what needs to be done.
So let’s talk about me a little bit. We had a little intro in the beginning, so my name is Marl Servais. I have a career in technology that spans over 30 plus years. It means I’ve been around the block a little bit. So, um, as stated before in the intro, I’m a senior application architect working with an insurance company, helping them with their digital transformation. Uh, I primarily for the last decade have worked on a platform called sight core. Uh, I’ve been fortunate, uh, they’ve awarded me an MVP award, uh, for five years, um, four, uh, I kind of stopped in their last couple of years. So, five, Pete, if you want to call it that. So, I’ve really been entrenched in that development. It’s a content management system along with marketing operations. So, you can do personalization, multi-variate testing amongst all your digital channels.
So that’s a little bit of my background. I’m born in the United States, lived in the Midwest, have spent time around the Midwest, but settled right outside of the Milwaukee. Metro, uh, got married, had a couple of kids, not that a couple of dogs and have four grandkids total. So I’ve quite the brood, uh, overall. So that’s my technical background. That’s my career background. As a caregiver, it’s been a little bit different, and it has been centric to family. Horatio, my oldest child, uh, had transposition of the great arteries when, when he was born. So, what that really means is the, the artery is the wiring of the heart. Really never circulated through the body. It just went right back to the heart. So that’s pretty scary as a, as a new parent, um, we, we had him have surgery. He spent some time in the NICU at the hospital, and I got to take a month off of work and take care of him, making sure that his medications were good, that wound care was good.
And it’s definitely different than parenting, right? They are definitely two different hats to wear. And he’s twenty-two, doing great. Um, no kind of any aftereffects really of that incident. The bulk of my caregiving experience and what we’re really going to look at today and have some examples is my youngest son, Lucas. Lucas was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of four. And again, very young parents, so this was kind of a shock to us. We didn’t really know much about it, but what Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is, it’s a condition that really kind of, uh, from a DNA standpoint, does not have all the building blocks together to produce a protein called dystrophin. And that protein is a composition and it’s kind of the glue that holds muscles together and that skeletal muscles and smooth muscle. So, it’s basically a muscle deterioration condition.
Lucas broke his femur at about 12. He was never really able to walk after that. And so, he’s been confined to a power wheelchair since, and since that confinement has happened, my wife and I have been working double time, right. We have just been super busy taking care of all of his needs, um, taking care of the house, adaptations, all sorts of different things that we some expected, but never really expected all of it to happen. Um, he’s twenty-one. He’s doing great. He’s actually in the other room playing video games, having a good time as I get to talk to you guys. So, um, he’s, he’s pretty happy. So, I want to start off and the best way I can show you what life is like is, is through a video. So, this is a picture of Lucas. This is a smile that lights up the room that everyone just enjoys.
He was very gracious with his time and his cooperation to put this video together. So, what you’re going to see really is what we do in a day. And what I want us to focus on for the next 13 minutes is really, you know, some of the solutions that we have in the house, they’re all really off the shelf product, right? So, we’re not looking, I’m not showcasing any commercial or industrial products into the ecosystem. I do have them, but I’m not really showcasing. This is stuff you can go and buy right off the shelf. You’re going to see that it’s a patchwork of devices. There is no one solution to caregiving. Caregiving is really a variant and several variants within itself. Even another family with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy that they’re dealing with is going to have completely different care cases, completely different set of needs, um, which makes really trying to do a, a universal system to help really, really difficult.
So it has to be that patchwork quilt of devices, and they have to be out of the box ready. We talked about the technical savvy of this consumer niche and they’re not. And so, it really needs to be pretty straight forward from a setup standpoint or teachable, very teachable to go. So, I’m going to share this video with you guys. We’ve posted the video in the chat. So, the video through zoom is going to be a little choppy, but definitely digestible. If you would like you can kind of mute what we’re doing here and pull the video up in a browser and look at it a little bit more fluidly and then jump back in, but I will be showing it. Um, it will be a little, a little choppy, the tests I’ve done where we’re pretty good. As far as the quality just looks like I’m, uh, running and in motion. So let me do a couple of things here.
This is how the day starts by getting up early. This light serves a purpose of waking me up in the morning, but because of how it is part of our home automation setup, it serves many different purposes. My Fitbit also serves the purpose of my wake-up alarm. These are essential notification and points. Notifications are critical in our system. As part of my wake-up process, I have a small lamp that turns on in my office, providing the minimal lighting to be able to navigate my office when I get there. And of course, on the way every household automated needs some hot coffee waiting. Well, not some a lot, actually.
How do I keep up on things? Mornings… before eating, before showering, before work, I essentially do some work. I keep up on my tack, the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy news, just anything related to projects and the needs that we have going on. Not everyone joins my enthusiasm for early morning rituals. “Amazons, turn our Logan’s bed light.” Now it’s off to start Lucas’s morning routine, and on goes Lucas’s light before he even enters the room. Again, helps with navigating a dark room, but also as a starting process for Lucas to begin to wake up. With a semi coherent Lucas, beginning to wake up, I’m able to place heated pads on his hip and between his legs to begin to loosen the muscles for therapy later. With every system, there’s always room for improvement. In ours, I still heat these pads in a microwave, still looking for a solution to automatically heat these during the morning routine. So thus far, the automation has all been timing and lighting, or the turning on of devices. These lights create a little bit of safety and routine in the caregiving process. Also at any time, Lucas could control the same lights with voice, freeing up the need for someone to always have to flip the light switch on his command. This creates a bit of independence and enhances the ability to create notifications through the use of turning on and off these lights. “Echo, turn off Lucas bed lamp”, “Echo, set timer for 25 minutes”.
And with that 25 minutes, I get to coordinate appointments. Different devices for voice can serve different purposes if you wish them to. While my Echo is performing a majority of the heavy lifting on voice interaction, my Google Mini truly is more of a personal assistant. “Hey, Google, add reminder to call Iris representative later”. “You want to be reminded four o’clock, I’ll remind you at 4:00 PM”, and like Pavlov’s dogs, salivating to a bell, that sound means it’s time to take those pads off Lucas and onto the next step. By the way, Pavlov isn’t getting any ASPCA awards for his life.
“Echo turn on Lucas bedroom switch”. These are important in our TV can both entertain and inform making it a solid therapy companion. Adding voice function to the TV saves Lucas, the delay of getting to the remote. And you can also pause and change apps or channels when in the middle of therapy, if he wishes. I’m still a remote guy. There would be no way to get to the windows without crawling over Lucas. Being able to open and shut blinds allows me, as the caregiver, some versatility Lucas can also manage his own lighting, either via voice or from his remote apps. Why Chicago blinds? The loop is one of our favorite areas to visit and it’s very accessible, friendly for Lucas. We go, as often as we can, thus, we named the home automation efforts in his room, project Chicago. With all transparency this scene is kind of a lie. Lucas already ate breakfast before the scene. He’s using my breakfast as a replacement. Hey, Google. What’s on my calendar today?.
As a human with limited time employee, family members, a caregiver, I schedule almost every minute of my day. Got pets? As a caregiver, I may not be able to always keep on task. When the dogs are out the door needing to come in, I have notifications and cameras set up for that. I have the audible notification from our Wi-Fi speakers to be able, not only to use these for music and podcasts, which provide audible alerts to situations instead of relying on lighting alone. A pressure pad is placed under the doormat. When one of the dogs steps on the mat, it enables the notification.
Lucas loves video games. And when his morning routine is complete, he gets some of his own time. As Lucas approaches a computer, he uses his app to get a little bit more light into the room. Not only does this promote independence for Lucas, but without specific adaptive devices like this, on-off switch for his computer, Lucas would need constant help with this routine. Speaking of routines, they often get broken up by something. And in this case, it’s the phone. This is a call I do want to take. However, my wife is letting me know she’s running late with her errands. As a caregiver, if my hands are full and I need to get that important call I’ve been expecting, I can take that call using the system.
Reminders are important. And in Lucas’s case, he needs to drink water to help with the medication he takes daily. Like young men, especially those playing video games, he often tends to forget that he needs to do something. This most excellent alarm powered by a playlist with music around water and drinking is an instant reminder to stop what he is doing and go drink water and everything from Henry Rollins, Willie Nelson, and a German beer garden song. It never gets stale. So, what happens when nature calls? Lucas calls. Lucas can’t yell if we aren’t buying them for us to hear them. So, we’ve equipped Lucas with remote, with multiple buttons in which based on his need can have our home system notify us in different ways. In this case, Lucas is letting me know via notification on my phone that he needs to use the bathroom. Lucas has other ways to notify us as well as he finishes up his “bathrooming” moment, we asked for the echo to announce that he has done all the echoes in the house. Repeat his message. And I go off to help. Even when I’m outside, there are times Lucas needs my help, same remote, different number on the remote different notification. And I go, as soon as I noticed the lights.
In this case, Lucas wanted to go outside for a while. When he returns. Lucas can open the garage door with his phone, no code needed. He drives in and heads off to his room. So here again, Lucas can’t reach the remote for the TV. He could press another number and have me come to help. But in this case, we’ve gone a step further. Lucas uses his echo to turn on his TV, the help of a harmony remote and the automation hub. He loves his PBS. At the end of the day, after transferring Lucas, Lucas is able to shut us things down, adjust as bad, and eventually turn out his lights. Typically, I’m in bed much earlier than he, I turn off the lights via voice because I’m just too tired at this point to really get up and flip that switch. And with that, it’s good night. Not really. Someone by the same light that wakes me and knowing it’s not morning yet. I know where I need to be the button notification besides Lucas’s bed turns on all the lights. This is really meant for those emergency needs. You know, all the way down to just that simple readjustment. Having all the lights on keeps things safer than fumbling around in the boat. It also ensures that I’m not sleeping through any audio only alarm or simply just not hearing any calls for help, a simple turn adjustment to the side. And it’s back off the bed to go at it again. One more day /video end/
Helps if I unmute. So, let’s clear the palate a little bit, cause that was 14 minutes. You guys got a good idea of of what we’re doing, how we’re using things that are at a very high level and what our day somewhat looks like. So, I stole this from the internet and you know, I feel for this guy, cause I think we’ve all been there once in a while. Right? So now that we’ve kind of cleared that pallet from the video, let’s take a look at care plans. So, I tell caregivers, if you don’t have a care plan that you definitely put one together, right? So, the care plan is really the breakdown of the care’s provided to the Carey. And it’s critical, especially if you’re the primary caregiver and something were to happen to you, you get sick, whatever the case may be, somebody is going to need to pick up where you left off.
And basically with these you’re providing step-by-step instructions and you can hand that off and somebody should be able to in theory, do the same exact job that you’ve been doing for your Carey. So, the things that are typically in here are the actual steps of the care, the care itself, what the expected result of that care is going to be. And you know, obviously the frequency redundancy of that care. And honestly, this is really a use case for a caregiver. It has all the same things that we’re used to from a technology standpoint of, of building that use case, um, including exceptions, if need be.
So these are really what we want to have going forward to create our use cases from a product management perspective, a road mapping from a software design perspective, these things are pretty much goldmine to be able to start picking apart that granularity of time and applying solutions in, in little stops. So, the, the piece here that we really want to talk about is caregivers are kind of a unique segment. All segments are, have their uniqueness, right? What makes caregivers kind of unique that I’ve noticed is they’ll do whatever it takes to get something done. They’ve been told no many times, and yet they still find a way to take care of their caree. And there’s really no exception to finding a way to adapt part of a house when they were told they can’t, or it was too much. And this is a segment that’s going to take your device cases and repurpose them.
And this is something to think about as they’re not your target demographic, but they’re a demographic that can find new uses for your product, which is wonderful. Who doesn’t love that from a product perspective, but this is also a demographic that’s going to find the vulnerabilities in your product pretty quick. Um, I’m especially dangerous as a technologist caregiver. Um, and it’s part of that old, you know, do what it takes. It’s said old, I’ll call it the old punk rock, enthusiastic mentality. So, I have to do everything to promote my band, get on stage, manage everything, book the venue. I do everything. A caregiver is really not much different in that fabric. And as soon as they learn the little bits of technology, they need to they’ll find the workarounds, your devices, we’re going to really stress going forward about just being very versatile with your planning, right?
And looking at it from a perspective of this niche market, how can you novice proof what you’re putting out into the market? And we’ll kind of go over some things about workflow and data and some examples, but we’re going to rehear this from me for probably through the rest of the presentation. And it’s really, really important because I’ve found vulnerabilities. I’ve taken, you know, consumer products for retail and reutilize them in my home and probably did things to them that I probably shouldn’t have done, but I got the work done. And there’s a lot there that we can disclose or not disclose. But the point being is they’re going to find ways around some of the things, um, it’s kind of like QA 2.0 for your, for your products and your software. So, when I talk to the caregivers, they really, some of them don’t have any idea what, where to start.
I typically show them this diagram of a typical ecosystem for homeowners automation and, you know, no, they, it kind of, you know, they, they start to absorb it. You can tell who’s absorbing it in the audience. And who’s not, there’s two things I really put asterisk by here though. However, that are really, really difficult security and your home network. We know that these devices kind of, they, they run off the home network. They’re cloud-based in some cases. So, in internet and having a nucleus of processing at home to do that, it’s pretty important. However, there’s different types of networks, as we all know, right? ZigBee Z-Wave, these are pretty foreign to people using these devices if they’re not technically savvy. And so, when we start talking about a mesh network and in that intercommunication between devices on that network, you know, we can start losing people that sense of abstraction in the devices and the software needs to be there.
Security, same thing, try to explain threat modeling and, and peer security know-how to your grandparents, right? You can’t do that without abstraction. There’s no way you can take that down to its bare bones level in, have somebody understand that who is completely oblivious to what that all means. So, it’s very important. These two aspects, they’re looking at it from a standpoint that it’s there for them and that’s not entirely true. So, we talk about some things that they can do to protect themselves from that, from a product management roadmap and software design perspective, these are things that we can improve on, uh, overall, as an industry and being able to apply that abstraction and make it easier for folks is definitely something to consider in your planning.
I like showing the slide to caregivers because when they’re tech savvy or they’re not tech savvy, it’s really hard for them to really get started. And so typically what I tell caregivers just starting out is start really small with a lamp and a smart plug. Start there, get that working, you know, read some more about some other things as they go through more iterations, they start getting more comfortable, just like every other learning process. The more we do it, the more comfortable we are, the more we can self-expand that knowledge. And I like this, um, only because it just helps caregivers understand that it’s not going to work a hundred percent of the time, but don’t give up. And these are people that don’t have a lot of time to begin with. So, it’s really important that this segment, when I deal with them, that cheerleading is, is really helpful and necessary. They, the more complex as they, as they grow… a product becomes… the harder it is for them to do that. And then they take shortcuts and do other things. So, um, this is constantly a message I’m always giving to them.
We talked about no one solution for the caregiver market, and I don’t think there’s ever going to be right because of the variance, uh, involved with everyone applying. So, the systems that I help people put together that people do put together without my help are really about their components. And the, the thing about that is we all know that there’s no really great adoptive standard across the board and that’s okay. There’s good and bad to that communication, however, has to be brokered between the devices. And so, you have cloud devices, you have Z-Wave ZigBee, other radio frequencies, Wi-Fi, um, local processing rules, engines, all sorts of different things that can go into these third-party services on the cloud. It’s important that the API is the software. It’s very, very useful, and it’s even more important that we don’t break our contract. So, I talked to my development and design teams, uh, for any API we do.
Um, I’m very happy admit, and almost militaristically mean about it. We will not break a contract. So, if we’re going to put a method out there, if we’re going to put a version of our API out there, we’re not breaking it. Eventually we’ll deprecate, we’ll communicate. But when we release a new version, we are not breaking the old version. We are keeping our customers in play. I can tell you right now that companies on this slide have not done that. And I’ve, I’ve had problems and I’ve had other, I’ll call them clients for lack of a better word, but other people, the caregivers also having problems that things suddenly stop working, um, interfaces and API are inconsistent, and they don’t typically follow that rule. That’s one thing from a road mapping strategy that we can really get better on as an industry. I’m sure there’s a lot of you that are doing that and following those, those best practices.
And that’s wonderful. There’s also just as many not. Um, and that is one of the biggest headaches I see with, with the consumer market, especially in niche, consumer market, that’s not very technical. So, fail over in designs, fail over is not something in the typical caregiver vocabulary. Um, if I’m going to put in a smart bulb and it’s not working, what do I do? Right. Do we’ll talk about it in some of the examples coming up that we look at from a use case standpoint, a solutioning standpoint, but I need, sometimes I need things to work like they did before I made the modification? And that’s really important to think about. And it’s one of the things I stress to caregivers to think about when they’re coming up with these solutions. The last thing here on the slide, the very bottom statement data is a gold mine, and it’s not only a gold mine for you guys as, as the product developers and as the software, um, host, you know, and getting information from those consumers, right?
There’s a lot of valuable information there, the real issue. And as a technologist, I find ways around it. I go after logs. I mine what I need to from a data information standpoint, from what the devices and the event fires are doing to post into those logs. But a lot of people can’t do that. And there’s no really good, centralized analytics and I’m not talking deep AI modeling for the consumer. But what I am talking about is just a basic UI for them to really get a good look at how they’re using their devices. Um, I haven’t seen anything yet. I could be missing something that’s out on the market, but I can, I can definitely say that there’s some value to that data, to the consumers as well, to that market segment, being able to understand how your devices are being used, the frequency of what they’re being used, um, can be very important to be able to improve a process.
And unless you’re digging in logs, that’s just not happening right now. So that’s, you know, one of the pieces that’s right for opportunity, right? In this industry, interconnectivity between devices. The one thing I found, I love the fact that the cloud takes care of all my requests, but in an urgent caregiver need there’s latency there. And that latency could come across as a number of factors of what that problem, that source of that latency might be. I need localized command execution. Now in my house, I use a product called habitat. Um, I replaced my smart things with it. So, I did have that local processing at least to a certain extent, not all of my devices are going to process on my local network and through that rules engine or anything that I program into it, but it’s definitely made a difference of reliability and some of the, you know, um, internet gone scenarios, the back back-haul problem, right?
Uh, when a line gets cut, when things go down, I’m still able to operate. As long as my core backbone at home is able to operate device education and marketing. And decision-making, this is one, I found a lot of devices that there’s just no documentation. That’s not unusual. Think about what you could do to stop some of these hacks, these vulnerabilities. If you put on a workshop, once in a while, I’ve seen people do that and I’ve seen the adoption of those devices in that software. Just take off. It is, it is remarkable. What a simple video will believe in do outside of, of having a workshop to do that. Those are things that are going to help, you know, the whole ecosystem. So, one of the things I also stress to caregivers is, you know, we go over the cost of devices, right? Because again, not everybody has got a ton of money.
Um, and they’re not like me where I’m getting the new shiny thing to try out, but what they’re putting together, it has to be useful for the cost, right? And they need to think about that as they’re designing their solution, as they’re asking for help designing their solution, it can’t be something that just, you know, is going to be very expensive and not very useful in this context. So that’s one thing we do stress insight core. I talk about when we design a channel, you know, for, for marketing for a web channel, let’s say that when we put that together, we need to think about the content author first. And so that way the content author is at the central point, the person who creates all the content and delivers that out to the different channels, they need to have the ability to manage that and be able to execute on that vision quickly.
I think the same thing with IOT devices applies not so much content offering. It would be a little interesting integration, I think integration and how that demo ice is going to be utilized, how your software is going to be consumed is really key for all your books, products, and understanding that that consumption, that integration probably should be the focus of your design. Um, there’s always going to be exceptions to that rule, right? But for the most part, you know, your, your device, your software is going to be consumed by another process. It’s really important to take that in consideration. And then I added this last thing on here, and this is more me than the whole caregiver Jenner. I have devices that do a lot of wonderful things. They check how much lumens are in a room. They tell me the temperature, they tell me the humidity, you know, they’d sense motion.
Sometimes I don’t need all that on. So, it’d be great to be able to opt out of some of those feature sets on that device. Um, and I’ve had this before, when we’ve, we’ve put in a device that’s more universal to a solution when we didn’t need all those features, the battery runs, you know, you, you kind of get that picture, being able to shut some of those features off or turn them on when needed. Um, I think would definitely be an opportunity I would be doing cartwheels for it, for sure. All right. So, let’s jump in some of these use cases. So, before we jump into a couple of use cases, here’s a bunch of pictures of Lucas and, uh, I’ll kind of go through these and in some of the background, but what attempt caregivers to think about when we’re going through this process of solutioning, as you know, these are the questions that I always want them to think about.
You know, we talked about this before, do I still need to flip on that light? If I use a bulb, that’s going to have to consume electricity all the time. My light will have to stay on, but what if I really need to toggle that light? Um, it’s probably not the right solution. If you need to do things the way you were doing them before, plus this new way. So that is something to consider as you go through the planning process. So, what are the device dependencies that you need? So, does it need a hub? Does it need a voice assistant? These are some things too that I help bring the non-technically savvy to start thinking about and consider, um, based off the devices, based off the solution they’re trying to do, this is universal to me. What minimally do I need do in software?
We call it over engineering. We provide way too much solution for what we’re the problem really is. And it’s really easy to do with internet of things, things, and devices, right. We can really get carried away and I’ve, I’ve done it just like everyone else. That’s listening to this right now. And I have to try to take for myself so that I can teach others to be able to go listen, here’s what you minimally have to do. Right? This is what you’ve determined is, is your baseline. It’s okay. Just to do that, you can build on that later. It’s much harder to start pulling things out when you overdo it, right. You kind of confine yourself a little bit. So, it is a facet that I definitely stress with the caregivers starting on this journey. And then how does it fit in with what I currently have?
If I currently have a system, if I’m currently starting a home automation system, what is my intent, if I’m starting and what do I already have and how can I leverage that? We definitely, you want to avoid as much as possible intermixing ecosystems that just don’t talk well together, right? It’s more or maintenance for that person. They don’t have time for maintenance. It’s more to keep up on. Um, it’s better. If you can keep everything at least harmonious in the same family. And it doesn’t mean the same brand or, or anything else, but as an ecosystem, think of family of devices in an ecosystem that just work together. And then am I comfortable with what I’m doing from a caregiver standpoint? There are even engineers that I wouldn’t want playing with home electricity. Um, so I’m not comfortable wiring up a switch, then I probably shouldn’t do it.
And I should find somebody to do that part for me. It doesn’t mean you don’t expand it. You don’t learn something, but we also don’t want to go overboard right away. And I think there’s definitely progressions to get there. I’m very comfortable with it because I’ve been doing it as a kid. So, I’ve had those repetitions. Um, some people just haven’t had those repetitions and you know, you can do some damage, the pictures here. And when we talk about solutioning, I pick these four out. So, the first one to the left is me holding Lucas over a, the sky deck on the Willis tower. And this was a very simple solution of Lucas, not wanting to drive his power wheelchair.
Probably about a couple hundred pounds onto a plate of glass. I think he would have been okay. But I definitely see why he did not want to go that route. So I picked him up and I carried him. Cause I wanted him to have that same experience of being out there. The top middle picture is him taking a sleep study? No. We want to talk about devices and monitoring in a symbiotic uniform way. This is it. And I’m sure he’d be really mad that I shared this picture, but that’s okay. He’ll definitely get over it. This is a perfect example of a bunch of devices for a single purpose for a single solution. Unfortunately, he’s never done more than 20 minutes of sleep in one of these sleep studies. So, the, the results are never accurate. I mean, if I was wearing all of that, I wouldn’t sleep either.
The third picture is his latest lift in our bathroom. We used to have a ceiling lift that was very obtrusive. It didn’t work, it was installed very poorly. And we had to rip that out. I had to rip that out and we found an alternate that actually worked a little bit better. And you know what I tell caregivers? There is, you know, your first solution may not be your last, right? You may have to make major changes as you go along for various different reasons. The bottom one is really about, again, experience much like the me holding him over the sky deck. This is the band Sick Puppy. This is Lucas’s one of his favorite bands. We’ve kind of adopted this band as our family band. Um, I don’t know if that makes a lot of sense to people, but if you’re really into music, this is something we all go to their shows and enjoy.
He doesn’t look as stoked as he really is in this picture, but he is as static to be interacting with the band. Um, this in lesson to what we do is it’s really important about making the things seamless and, and making them, I don’t want to say, I think Pleasant’s a, a good word for it, right? We want to co-exist with this without having to be very abrasive. And so that’s definitely where we go with all of that information. Let’s get into some use cases. Now this is one from the video. I want to be able to enter a room. You know, if my hands are full, I want it to be lit before I get there. And so, what I typically do with caregivers is I go, okay, here’s some variations that you can think about, right? So, a smart plug, smart bulb, a wall switch, add your voice assistant.
We talk about how we can upgrade that solution so we can add buttons. We can add motion sensors, right? So, I can just walk in the room and magically everything lights up, um, again, kind of stressing to that. Over-engineering sometimes. So, we try to bring it in and, and teach that lesson as well. I changed what I’ve typically done in these slides for them. And I’ve, I’ve added a little bit of something for us. And typically, I would list out some of the devices, their prices, the complexity of installation and learning for us. It’s going to be about data and workflow. So, a single wake word shortcut would save so many words in my life and in my Carrie’s life and Lucas’s life. Imagine saying, you know, you, you have to use the wake word. You have to use kind of the, the software device specific, um, command along with the actual execution command all in one.
And if you have very long names and very long commands, it can get pretty wordy. And for somebody who just doesn’t have a lot of strength to get the vocals out, that can be very problematic. I would love to see a little shortcut gesture translation without a camera. You don’t really need a camera in every room, but it would be nice to be able to be able to make some motion and have something happen. Um, I’ve been working with, uh, an old connect to see what I can do there again, it’s a camera though. So, I’m not really keen on I’m putting that everywhere. And then we talked about localized processing. It is so much easier, um, to have that, that quicker, less latency to be able to get from command execution, whether that be a button, voice, whatever, uh, even though the voice still goes out to the cloud, there’s still a little bit late and latency there.
I’m going to stress data of, of what we do. Lack of analytics processing the caregiver is that that niche segment is not going to put together models for AI, right? Typically, not. I’m sure somebody like me would because I’m just like that. But the typical, caregiver’s not going to be thinking about a learning model for automation but think about your devices in this way. So, if somebody uses a certain sensor in a way, let’s take that multi-sensor example that I gave and they’re using it for motion to turn on a light, it has a context, a specific context, right? It has its own ontology in that state. Let’s change that sensor and completely use it for the measuring of lumens in a dark room, because maybe it’s a photo processing room, whatever you just don’t want light in there. The intelligence has changed, right? It’s no longer the motion sensor, it’s something else.
And as people start to manipulate your devices into what they need, the [inaudible] are going to change. The context is going to change. So, one of the things about making your products versatile will help avoid some of that. Um, as they are being adapted to not what you had intended them to be, um, making them more versatile, also allows for less vulnerability finding and, and all the good stuff that we don’t like as software management and product managers, durable medical equipment. Um, this is great stuff, but what I found it doesn’t communicate with anything. So, this is Lucas’s remote for his wheelchair, his cough assist, and a powered Hoyer lift for his room. These devices don’t talk together. The Hoyer lift, definitely isn’t smart at all. Um, in order to get the data, I have to ship a chip in from the cough assist to medical provider to decompose that in the wheelchair, I need to be a certified, uh, partner of, of that wheelchair company, to be able to order the equipment, to be able to read and diagnose any kind of error code on that.
I can’t do it myself. Well, I can’t reasonably do it myself. So obviously when we talk about, I want my equipment to notify my caregiver, my provider, that there’s an issue when a wheelchair goes down for somebody who depends on it, they don’t have a choice, but to sit there. And when you’re talking about a two, 250 pound power chair, and you try to push that around as a caregiver, you’re going to get pretty tired. And I can honestly tell you that, trying to get something like that fixed takes time. You don’t always get a loner. You don’t always have another one on hand. You may be waiting quite a bit before you’re mobile again. Um, that’s never a good situation, right? And so obviously when we talk about data collection, it would be great if these things would actually communicate and do that, I get Phi and PII concerns that can definitely be masked, encrypted, and kept safe, indefinitely, that packet of information, we can use something like blockchain so we can make sure that the chain hasn’t been tampered with.
So there’s a lot of solutions to these problems for these devices to make them a little bit more fruitful and, and better, um, for the experience of, of the consumer, as well as that whole ecosystem of provider and medical staff. So I put in here, uh, voice of the customer to having customers give you feedback. You can’t get anything better than that from a product management standpoint, that real feedback from in the field, um, is so valuable. And the last case we’ll go over here a little bit is definitely as a caregiver, I don’t to disrupt the cares I’m giving. So in the example, you know, I, I actually use an Amazon echo system and an echo connect. So I can answer the phone through any echo device and it announces who’s calling number, or if it’s color ideas and announces that I’d like to be able to white list that, right.
I only want certain calls to come through and I want to be able to essentially pattern that in a way where maybe certain hours, I don’t take any, maybe certain hours. I take some, the real thing here is, you know, if you get a lot of phone calls, it’s disruptive, you’re busy. And, but if you’re waiting for the doctor to get back to you, if you’re waiting for a nurse to get back to you, if you’re waiting for the next caregiver shift to call in and confirm, they’re on their way so that you guys can make that transition, it’s a big deal. And so you don’t want that interrupted by other disruptions. So here stopping the disruption before it happens, Vince is ideal. And then obviously we can create models and algorithms based off of the unique consumption of these services, to be able to improve that over time.
As we understand the data, we have one more in here. So this is really about notification. So a lot of the systems are about triggering notification and reaction, right at its very core primal level. One thing I I put in here is to freak out the caregivers. When I give this presentation, I actually advise them, if you have a really good neighbor, throw a smart switch in the lamp in their house and expand your network, or obviously that either the Z-Wave network or the wifi network, depending on what you’re using and it freaks them out and it freaks them out because of all the things they’ve heard about what they shouldn’t do and how they should protect everything and do that. And this is one of those things where they don’t need to get, hold on my Netflix, right? They don’t need to get onto my drives on my network.
I just need to be able to put a device in a separate location and allow people who are willing to help to help. So it takes a little bit to get them to understand kind of that difference of, of those who have been taught. Hey, I just don’t share any of that. It’s mine, it’s my sandbox. Nobody else can be in it and actually expand that sandbox a little bit. I mentioned durable medical equipment integration here because it’s a problem to me and I’m sure it’s a problem to many other caregivers and then self-aware devices and the mesh communication. So having the devices really kind of feed through each other, which is essentially what Z wave mesh will do is they’ll be mesh. We’ll do, um, is pretty important, getting that to log and kind of be reactive to that communication between devices would be definitely an improvement.
So I go through this exercise with caregivers and is really giving them some scenarios that they may not be familiar with to think about what kind of off the cuff solutioning they can do, um, on speech therapy due to stroke, right? So the, the Carrie needs to receive this. Um, typically when you have a stroke, there’s a lot of things that can happen, but sometimes lip and tongue control kind of goes out the window, right? And you have to relearn how to speak again. And you can have a therapist come into your home and provide that therapy every day. A lot of times, anyway, therapies, whether it be speech physical or whatever comes back to the primary caregiver tax acute, it just is how it happens and being able to, to come across and be able to do something different with that. And shave time is very useful.
So if I have a very willing Carey that will sit in front of a speaker and do the exercises on and on, I can actually create a audio file, a playlist of that speech therapy. And I can either time that at a certain time to play, I can play that on demand from a button or near a voice command to execute that. And all of a sudden I’ve shaved time as a caregiver, my carry is interacting with that. I can go make lunch. I can provide a different care. I can make a phone call, whatever I need to do. I’ve just repurposed my time. Um, so degeneration, this is something that actually came up. It’s something that we did prior to this being aware from just general feedback. And we, you know, preheat our bathroom, lack of muscle that Lucas has. It makes them cold.
He gets cold at 70 degrees. It’s, it’s, it’s insane how that happens. So in order to kind of perform showering and bathing on him, we have to heat the room up. And it is beyond sauna in that room. We, my wife and I actually have to step out of the room at some point to take a break because we hear chistes about drenched. Yeah. And sweat, um, doing that. So, um, this is one of these things that you could time early. Like we do, we actually kick it off well, before he gets into the shot or, um, it could be done on demand, a lot of versatility. So it gets them to start thinking about what’s available, what they can do. And we go through a dementia one because that is a very common, um, state of where caregivers provide cares was for somebody with some form of dementia.
And a lot of research has been done about bridging pathways between the left and right hemisphere of the brain. And they’re finding that music is a really key component to helping bridge those pathways for a short period of time. Um, this also really works too, as far as playing something for somebody to kind of get a, that cognitive Ridge belt, if somebody is really stressed out about receiving therapy and their thing is to listen to soothing sounds, classical music, meditates, to instruction that all can be automated to be able to perform that later care, and it can be done on demand on a schedule. So these are all things that we generally just start talking about of how we can apply frontal lobe thought to some of the problems.
So at this point you can see from the video, you can see what we’ve talked about when we talk about commercial and industrial products and those segments, and then how it meets the consumer. It there’s really no difference anymore. And what I mean by that, even though you have a retail system with beaconing and, and product, um, um, placement finding and all sorts of different features, I’ll get my hands on it as a caregiver, some way somehow I’ll find a way to get ahold of your product. Then I will use that beaconing in my home. And I’ve done that with a lot of things meant for an industry segment and repurpose them. And it really comes down to again, when your product gets repurposed, when your software gets repurposed, there’s good things that happen out of that. And like we said, there are bad things that can happen out of that from a vulnerability standpoint, that aren’t intentional, but they just kind of happened through the repurposing process.
Again, versatility and planning and taking a look at even these niche markets that aren’t your core demographic, but understanding how they may impact your device, your roadmap, uh, your software service offering. So there’s really no difference at this point. It has to be really looked at from that perspective. So I know we’re going to open things up for questions here, uh, for the last half hour, if there are questions that come up post today, um, here’s some contact information for me. If you have any specific questions, I open it up to a lot of caregivers to reach out to me to discuss what they’re trying to do if they get stuck. Um, you know, if you want to understand more about, you know, caregiving or just how we’re trying to utilize the, the technology industry segment to make lives a little bit better, um, I’m open to any conversation with that. It’s, it’s, you know, obviously with my son, it’s been a passion of mine, we kind of fell into it together and we’re, we’re definitely trying to expand that with other people to make their lives a little bit easier, like how ours has been. So, um, I guess we’ll open it up to questions if anybody has any that they went to, uh,
Discuss. Perfect. So if there are not any questions from the attendees, we’ll just drop it up there. And, uh, as mark mentioning, feel free to reach out to him for if you have any questions that come up afterwards. And with that being said, thank you so much, mark, for taking the time out of your day to come showcase their expertise, um, on caregiving. And we really appreciate your time that you’re given. And with that being said, uh, after this webinar’s ended, you might notice a short survey that may appear on your screen. So if you can please take the time to fill that out, that’d be greatly appreciated. And, uh, if there are no more questions, uh, thank you so much for coming mark, and we hope you have an amazing day. All right, everyone
Have a good day and thank you very much for attending.