How do we conceptualize aging and disability in an era where there’s a heady excitement about a future reality that surpasses our current lived experiences of health and old age? Consider future tech such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a growing movement of people into posthumanism and of course fiction like the TV series Black Mirror with the incredibly poignant San Junipero episode giving a fictional account of life beyond our physical beings.
With these thoughts in mind, it’s not every day that you talk to a hugely successful tech entrepreneur who comes out of retirement to create a company serving the aged and people with disabilities. CEO and co-founder of K4Connect, Scott Moody has done just that.
You may recall Moody as the co-founder of AuthenTec, a company that provided mobile security software licenses to mobile manufacturing companies and biometrics sensor technology, such as fingerprint sensors and NFC technology to mobile and computer manufacturers. The company was acquired by Apple, in 2o12 for $356 million.
From tech security to health and well-being
Today Moody heads a team of technologists intent on improving the health and well-being of the aged and people with disabilities. I met with Moody to learn about his new venture. Their first product, K4Community, leverages the power of our platform to deliver technology to the tens of millions of older adults living in senior living communities.
Their mission is to serve the underserved with the belief that technology shouldn’t be just about the next generation but every generation. K4Community is specifically designed and tailored for the residents of senior living facilities, through three central pillars: Helping to make life simpler (integrated smart home); healthier (connected wellness); and happier (social engagement). As Moody explained:
“We’re a mission centered technology companies really serving older adults and those living with disabilities and we achieve this through a software platform (which we call a connected life platform) to integrate all aspects of your life into a single application. This means a more independent life a that is oriented around IoT. This includes home automation, such as thermostats, sensors, door locks and video doorbells. Then we wrap in healthier elements so that connected wellness and home products connect such as a garment activity tracker to a scale, a blood pressure monitor and tele-monitors.
The happier element is that as your mobility is becoming reduced, the whole idea of being able to provide or keep a connection with family and friends. So those are things like video chat or Audio Chat, messaging, picture sharing.”
The K4 platform is a patented software platform that is open, modular and scalable. As Moody explains,
“One of the things that we’ve done is while everybody ran to the cloud we actually use a combination of the cloud and edge process. So you know if your internet is down, if your wifi is down, your house continues to live, the latency is exceedingly quick, So if grandma is getting out of bed at 2 a.m. in the morning, you want the light to come on almost immediately. You don’t want to delay it 20 or 30 seconds.”
The adoption rate of K4Connect’s technology amongst senior residents is impressive. Moody says:
“In the 11 communities that have K4Community installed, 100% actually use the home automation features. They may not use the app but they use the home automation. Lights are coming on automatically when they get out of bed. Thermostats are changing automatically depending on the time of day to make rooms comfortable or to aid sleep. And then 75% of the clients are using the app, on average for about 15 minutes a day. I know that if you had a Silicon Valley company come out and say that 75% of their target demographic use their app, it would be pretty big. 15 minutes a day is as much as you see on pinterest or almost anyone besides Facebook.”
The value of IoT data to health diagnostics and research
Intrinsic to the work of K4Connect is the value of the data technology that is delivered through the home automation, wearables and social enhancement. Telemedicine is gradually become a reality, enabling people to access remote medical services from the comfort of their homes. As Moody explains, a smart home is able to enhance this experience:
“The doctor can see if you’ve been getting out of bed at night or restless at night. They can see a record of your heart rate and other body metrics from wearable tech. They know whether you’ve bee leaving the home or talking to family, meaning that they have a greater body of information than they could glean in a simple 10-minute visit in the doctor’s surgery.
One of the things that I find about older adults is that they are very willing to participate in studies to not only help themselves but help others so I think that in time we will be a ready resource for research through those volunteers. Just think, if you want to try out a new Multiple Sclerosis medication. You’re not only trying out the medication, all of a sudden we have all this other information we can provide separate to what is ascertained on their visit to the research clinic. We’re this platform where you can integrate a lot of different features, e.g. how much they’re sleeping, how much they’re communicating how much they’re moving around. All of this information that we can provide to that study that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
K4Connect is at work on two related products, Casework home care which is for professional home care providers providing a service to clients in their homes and K4Life, a product for clients living in their own homes. With our rapidly aging population, we can expect this to be just the beginning.