1st runner-up: Canary Care

The Challenge

Elderly people want to maintain their independence at home and both their families and the public sector are interested in supporting this goal. However, public sector budgets are under pressure and unable to meet the demand. Nursing homes and full-time care are expensive and increasingly are viewed as the last option. Personal carers for the home are increasingly difficult to find and afford. There is a need for technology to support caregivers and ensure a longer and healthier period of independent living. Traditional telecare services such as analogue social alarms and wearable pendants have a limited functionality, are outdated and often not worn. Moreover, they are relatively expensive and do not have any preventative function.

The Solution

Canary Care has developed an affordable home and person activity monitoring system, consisting of wireless sensors placed around the home which record movement, door activity, temperatures and care visits. A hub unit transmits the data securely to Canary Care via any available mobile phone network. Families and carers access the data via the Canary Care portal, using a standard web browser. The portal identifies activity patterns and thus provides reassurance and comfort if all is well or detects anomalies that require follow-up measures. Families and carers can set up specific, tailored rules which, if triggered, send a text and/or email alert eg “tell me if Mum's front door is opened between midnight and 6am” or “if she has not been in the kitchen for breakfast in the morning”. The interface also provides detailed analytics outlining trends and detecting anomalies in behaviour or deteriorating health conditions. This enables users to understand the actual needs of the elderly person, and to decide on and/or tailor an appropriate care plan.

The product was launched 18 months ago after 18 months of testing and refining. The team has sold about 550 systems to date, directly to end users through the web shop (25%) and to institutional/ business clients such as local authorities and homecare providers (75%).

Business model and commercial strategy

Canary Care generates revenues from product sales (GBP 290 + VAT) and subscriptions (GBP 180/year). The team is currently concentrating on pushing sales through B2B channels in the UK, targeting distributors and retailers of health and home medical care equipment (eg pharmacies), payers of home care services, insurers, health providers, domiciliary care agencies and telecare agencies. Canary care generates savings and enhances the value proposition of all these healthcare players.