At CES this week Independa announced plans to bring its health and social engagement platform, Angela, to senior communities through a pilot with LG Electronics' US-based R&D subsidiary, Zenith.
The company also demonstrated a version of Angela that runs on iPhones and iPads -- up until now the software has been available from Independa on 10-inch and 22-inch tablets running Microsoft Windows 7. While the move to iOS devices is not surprising, Independa has long been an example of a company that has bucked the iPad trend.
The strategic partnership with Zenith will bring Angela to LG's Pro:Centric-enabled line of commercial TV sets. Independa launched Angela last summer as an integrated tablet and software offering for the independent elderly. The software, which sports large fonts and higher contrast, offers video chat, email, Facebook, puzzles, appointment reminders, and more.
As part of the deal, the companies will work together to conduct customer trials of Angela running on LG TVs. While there is no set date for a commercial rollout, the companies expect to bring the services to longterm care facilities once the trials are complete.
This isn't the first collaboration between a TV manufacturer and a health or wellness company.
BodyMedia integrated its BodyMedia Fit armband into Panasonic televisions last summer. In that instance, a picture-in-picture setup onscreen presents fitness data while BodyMedia users work out in front of the TV. Skimble, which Rock Health incubated in its first class of startups, also brings workout apps to the TV through Apple TV.
In 2009, Continua Health Alliance’s Executive Director Chuck Parker revealed that Continua was considering the television set-top box as one potential hub for wireless health devices, and Bluetooth SIG executive director Mike Foley told MobiHealthNews that he had noticed an uptick in interest from television makers looking at ways to embed Bluetooth Smart into new TV models, which would allow for medical devices using that protocol to connect to TV sets. In 2010, the launch of Google TV led to more speculation about the TV as a home health hub.
Read the press release below.
PRESS RELEASE -- Nearly 1 in 8 Americans are age 65 or older, with higher percentages in countries such as Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom. To serve the rapidly-growing aging population, Independa today announced a strategic relationship with Zenith, the U.S. R&D subsidiary of LG Electronics, to deploy technology that will provide residents of eldercare facilities an industry-first suite of video calling, messaging, reminders and other services that enables them to keep in touch with professional and family caregivers.
Under the agreement announced today at the 2012 International CES in Las Vegas, the companies plan to offer Independa's cloud-based Angela™ application on LG Electronics' Pro:Centric™- enabled commercial televisions designed for the unique needs of communities for the elderly. The Independa Angela social-engagement platform enhances independent living by providing single-click access to multimedia communication and social interaction.
With Angela, seniors can conduct video calls with loved ones, review shared photos, access email and Facebook, browse the Web, play games and receive medication and calendar reminders – all directly through the TV and all without any computer knowledge. Angela is a touchscreen application running on tablets and desktops, offered to consumers through channel partners, such as home care and home health care providers. This agreement extends Angela for the first time to televisions specifically designed for long-term care facilities.
Supported by and fully incorporated with Independa's Integrated CloudCare platform, Angela allows the elderly care recipients to enjoy connectivity and social interactivity even as they change residences. For example, they can easily take Angela with them as they move between a private home, a retirement community and an assisted living facility. The cloud-based design also provides facility management with a turnkey solution for uploading events, reminders and other information to their residents via Pro:Centric televisions.
"As the leading commercial television vendor in the U.S. health care and hospitality markets, LG Electronics is the ideal partner for extending Angela to senior living and long-term care facilities," said Independa CEO Kian Saneii. "This strategic alliance complements Independa's core technology and strengthens our market penetration, brand recognition, product excellence and industry relationships, all of which are key as we serve the expanding elderly population."
Under the agreement, the companies plan to conduct customer trials and collaborate on marketing and development support toward commercial deployments in long-term care facilities.
"Working with Independa provides a powerful new opportunity for adding value to LG commercial TVs for the large and rapidly growing eldercare market," said LG's Richard M. Lewis, Zenith senior vice president, technology and research. "With Independa, we are planning to provide seniors, their loved ones and their professional caregivers an industry-first suite of multimedia services for staying in touch and active."
"This partnership is game-changing for technology adoption in long-term care facilities, as well as the homes of those aging in place," said Harry Wang, director of health and mobile product research with Parks Associates. "Everyone knows how to use a television, and this combination of a comprehensive integrated software solution and an innovative commercial TV platform creates a model for how long-term care facilities can deploy and leverage easy-to-use technology solutions for their residents."
About Independa, Inc.
Independa offers leading technology-enabled independent-living solutions. Independa's best-of-breed cloud-based services enable organizations and individuals providing eldercare to cost-effectively allow the elderly to stay home longer, safer and more comfortably. Independa Integrated CloudCare services include medication and appointment reminders, support for activities of daily living, comprehensive social engagement benefits, and wireless health and safety monitoring.