Smart Home Technology Makes Greater Independent Living More of a Reality

Smart home technology is impacting lives right before our eyes in ways that weren’t widely thought of just a few years ago.

A recent survey conducted by Jamie Bailey, CEO of Initial State, shows that 95% of people age 75+ aspire to live only in their own homes. Additionally, the number of people 75+ living alone will nearly double over the next 20 years, from 6.9 million to 13.4 million, according to a study conducted by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Living independently in one’s own home improves mental health, memory, perception, judgement and reasoning. It also aids in emotional and physical well-being, as people usually feel their best when they’re at home, not to mention getting their best sleep when in their own bed.

As we age, it’s nice to know that smart home technology is making such big strides in making our goals of living independently in our homes more likely. This innovative and ever-evolving technology enables possible data mining and monitoring to help ensure our safety.

One of the most exciting and advanced smart home technology platforms, Samsung’s SmartThings Hub, offers a streamlined way to monitor your connected devices by function and the sensors they employ. This means you can track your doors and locks, lights and switches, security cameras, smoke alarms and more in real time. By launching this system in the homes of loved ones, family members and care givers can enjoy peace of mind knowing that their loved one is safe as they see them going about their normal daily routine.

Data mining technology learns our living patterns and schedules and thus, distinguishes between random changes in our behavioral patterns and true accidents. Some smart devices even go as far as alerting first responders and healthcare providers when necessary. Monitoring provides an opportunity to keep tabs on loved ones to help ensure their health and safety. There are many smart home technology products that simply improve our quality of life, and more and more of these products are hitting the market every year, so smart home technology will continue to result in more conveniences as we age.

Smart Home Technology The number of people age 75+ living alone will nearly double over the next 20 years, from 6.9 million to 13.4 million."

In the following sections, we highlight some products that you can use to help ensure your loved ones are safe and sound.


Home Monitoring Products


A great product to ensure your loved one’s safety is Netatmo’s Outdoor Security Camera. What sets this camera apart from others is its ability to distinguish between people, cars and animals. If your loved ones go outside, this camera can send you instant notifications so you can access the live feed and watch to ensure their safety.

If someone is loitering near the home, or if a car pulls into the driveway, you can get instant notifications with pictures. Their app offers live stream capability, or you can scroll through past footage and download video portions. They also have a time lapse feature where you can watch what happened during the day.

 The Samsung SmartThings Water Leak Sensor can detect water leaks and send notifications immediately. Place them anywhere where water can possibly leak:  near the shower, bathtub, under the bathroom sink, under the kitchen sink, dishwasher, water heater, sump pump, etc.

If a loved one were to ever leave the bathtub running to the point where water spills over, the sensor can send a notification so you can contact your loved one to remind them to turn off the water. If you’re away from you home and a supply line valve malfunctions under the sink, you can get the plumber there before the leak turns into a flood.


Data Mining Products

To help guard against fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, trust Nest’s Protect Smoke & CO alarm. Most days, you don’t hear from your smoke alarms indicating that your home is running as expected. Perhaps you might hear a chirp indicating the batteries are low, but rarely will you ever hear anything, which equates to the “no news is good news” scenario. But, should the unexpected happen in your home, you need as much warning as possible to contact emergency crews and summon help.

Should the Nest detect smoke or carbon monoxide, it will tell you where it is, so you’ll know where to go and what to do. The Split-Spectrum Sensor looks for both fast and slow-burning fires and provides immediate warnings, giving your loved one’s time to escape the danger. This advanced smart home technology sends a message to your smartphone anytime there’s a problem or if the batteries run low. If dinner accidentally burns in the oven, you can silence the alarm from your smartphone and call for takeout.


Quality of Life Products

 To help keep your loved one’s safe and warm when cold weather hits, pureHeat’s 2-in-1 heater & air purifier fits the bill. This heater/air purifier heats the air without drying it out and purifies with innovative technology and a germicidal bulb that helps prevent illness –an added health benefit for your loved ones. Plus, the overhead and tip-over automatic shut off functions are great for added safety, and the casing and grill remain cool to the touch.

 And to continue aiding your loved ones in self-sufficiency, NuWave’s Double Precision Induction Cooker is great for those who love to cook. It has six pre-programmed temperature settings with 100 hours of programmable time. It’s best safety feature is the automatic shut off setting, which becomes the default setting after one hour, so it will always turn off should your chef ever forget. It also helps save energy by using 70% less than conventional ovens.

 Samsung’s SmartThings Hub paired with Initial State’s data analytics & visualization platform offers one of the most complete home monitoring systems available today. Together, this remarkable smart home technology can accomplish the following tasks for your loved one’s well-being:

  • Remotely monitor the usage of home appliances
  • Track the location and movements of your loved ones as they move around the home
  • Know when the medicine cabinet is opened to access medications throughout the day
  • Know when the bath or shower is utilized
  • Know if the iron or an appliance is left on
  • Check to see if the doors are locked
  • Monitor the temperature of the home to ensure a comfortable environment is being maintained

The sensors that make these functions possible are then connected to the Initial State (I.S.) dashboard so you can see in real time the status of each appliance in the home. You’ll know when the oven has been turned on and you can check to make sure it has been turned off. You’ll know if the smoke alarm is properly functioning. You’ll know when the doors are locked and unlocked.

The I.S. dashboard also stores information so you can see patterns develop over time and analyze what is working well and what tasks need closer attention.

The SmartThings app also offers customizable actions tracking in a setting called “Routines.” The routines are settings you can engage that enact the commands of each device. The four default settings programmed into the app are: Good Morning, Goodbye, I’m Back and Good Night.

The "Good Morning" setting triggers the home mode. Within the home mode, you can have various lights turn on at a certain time, set dimmers to a certain level, see the status of the smart home monitor, unlock the doors, adjust the thermostat and more.

The "Goodbye" mode triggers the away mode. Within the away mode, you can turn off the lights, close the garage door, arm the security system, adjust the thermostat and more.

The "I’m Back" mode returns the home to the settings of "Good Morning," while the "Good Night" mode can be set to turn off the lights, adjust the thermostat and lock the doors.

When one of the four modes completes, push notices can be sent out to alert family members that all devices in that particular sequence have activated and completed, giving added peace of mind that everyone is safe and accounted for.

Knowing your loved one can safely live in and enjoy their own home brings peace of mind to the family and loved one. Smart devices continue to enhance the possibility of living and doing more on your own for many years to come.

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