Yesterday Best Buy announced that it has brought a collection of senior-focused emergency-response services to the Apple Watch via its Lively brand, and plans to add fall detection down the line.
Apple Watch Series 4 device owners who are signed up with a Lively Health & Safety plan (which starts at $19.99 per month) can download the Lively app for on-the-wrist access to three of the service's major features.
- Urgent Response, a 24/7 connection to trained agents that can be accessed as a button on the Watch's face.
- Urgent Care, which allows seniors to speak to a practitioner without needing to schedule or pay.
- The accompanying GreatCall Link app, which family members or caretakers can use to stay up-to-date on a senior's location, activity, device battery life and other items through alerts.
Meanwhile, Best Buy said that it is working with Apple to leverage the Watch's fall-detection sensors and API. Once live, the service will have Lively's trained agents reaching out and, if necessary, contacting family members once a hard fall is detected by the smartwatch.
Best Buy's support of Apple's wearable also translates to a discount at checkout. The tech retailer said that customers will be able to knock $200 off the purchase price of an Apple Watch Series 6 device or $150 off an Apple Watch SE – so long as they sign onto a two-year contract with Lively's Preferred Health & Safety service and purchase their smartwatch through Best Buy.
WHY IT MATTERS
For years, fall detection technologies have been defined by "personal emergency response system" (PERS) devices, whether in the form of pendant necklaces or dedicated wearables. The Lively brand has long been an active player in this space, with its most recent device the Lively Wearable2 launching just over a year ago.
While these types of products are a low-cost option for in-home fall detection and emergency-service alerts, they also come with a stigma that hampers adoption among many seniors.
With this in mind, the new Apple Watch app brings Lively's on-call services to a device that's both multipurpose and trendy. The rollout through Best Buy's consumer sales channels also means that more Apple devices could be finding their way to seniors hoping to remain in their own homes.
“By offering these powerful safety features on Apple Watch, we’re creating a new way to achieve a greater sense of connection and independence for older adults, and added peace of mind for both them and their families,” David Inns, Best Buy Health’s president of active aging, said in a statement.
“It’s the perfect next step in furthering Best Buy Health’s mission to enrich and save lives through technology and meaningful connections.”
THE LARGER TREND
Best Buy began its concentrated push into the aging-in-place space in 2018 when it purchased GreatCall (and subsequently Lively) for $800 million. Within the year, the retailer had also purchased another remote senior-monitoring service called Critical Signal Technologies, ostensibly as a Medicare Advantage complement to GreatCall's consumer-centric offerings.
The time since has found Best Buy continuing to support the brand through the new product launches and in the company's response in 2019 to defects detected among "a limited number" of its Lively MobilePlus devices.