Comcast, a controversial cable company, is reportedly working on a new home device that will monitor people’s health. The home device will employ ambient sensors to monitor health metrics including the number of times you have visited the bathroom or the number of hours you spent in bed.
According to CNBC, the Comcast device which has been under development for 18 months now, will not be positioned as a communications or assistant tools like the Amazon Alexa. It’s not a home speaker and won’t be able to search the web or turn lights on and off. What it will copy from Amazon’s home device is the fact that it will have Alexa’s personality and will let you make emergency phone calls during emergencies related to people’s health.
“The device will monitor people’s basic health metrics using ambient sensors, with a focus on whether someone is making frequent trips to the bathroom or spending more time than usual in bed,” the CNBC report says.
Although the device won’t be the first for Comcast as it has already joined the market specifically in home security and automation, it will be the first time that the company will venture into a health-related device.
Additionally, Comcast is planning to offer the device and related service to at-risk people, such as seniors and person with disabilities. The device will not come until 2020.
Once it comes out though, Comcast will directly compete with other technology companies such as Google, Amazon, and Apple. All three companies have explored ways to help older people “age in place,” or live independently for as long as they want to. Google is also exploring the possibility of using its own Google Home device to senior living facilities. Apple recently added fall detection to the Apple Watch and Amazon has been exploring opportunities in the tech industry for the increasing aging population.
In addition to the new Comcast hardware, the company is also talking with several large hospitals. The discussions focused on using the Comcast device to ensure that affected people will not find themselves back in the hospital after discharge. The federal government has been penalizing hospitals for failing to ensure that patients don’t end up right back in the emergency room.