Bob: I have worked in technology for nearly 40 years. About 3 years ago I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. It was a big blow to myself and my family. But rather than wallow in my sorrows I decided to do something meaningful in the time I have left.
That something is Conexo.Casa or “Connected Home”.
Having dealt with the dementia of my grandparents and my father, I was all too aware of the challenges that lay ahead of me. My dad used to frequently call me to help him use his personal computer and the Internet. The key challenges he had were:
- The user interface of a personal computer, browser, and most web sites were not designed for people with diminished cognitive and technical skills.
- His home network could not be remotely managed and his ISP provided nothing to support him in problem solving.
- I could only walk him through, verbally, resolving his technical issues. I had to visualize what he was doing, what the status of his network was, and try to get him to fix his own problems.
- I had no proactive visibility to potential problems he might be having, either with the technology, or using the applications that ran over the technology.
- He really never realized the full potential of the Internet, sharing economy, and other major technology trends. The technology was a barrier.
What is Conexo.Casa?
Conexo.Casa (Connected Home in Spanish) was formed to meet the needs of people and care giving families with disabilities or the elderly. In particular we focus on people with neurocognitive disorders (dementia, MS, Huntington disease, Parkinson disease, and Autism spectrum) and would focus our user interfaces on meeting those need. We intend to deliver a managed service, staffed by family, volunteers from partner organizations, and professional staff. We want to use modern home automation to extend the time our clients can live independently in their own homes.
- Conexo.Casa as a Managed Service Provider, will deliver a greatly simplified, remotely managed, home automation, monitoring (network and devices, alarms, and location tracking), and communication experience in the context of community. “Frictionless and familiar”: Technology which our clients don’t even realize they are using.
- Home Automation, as you may know, is fractured, and still the realm of hobbyists and makers. Interfaces are difficult to use, fragmented into too many apps, unreliable, and require too much user training. We aim to make life simple through technology. Yes, that is possible with technology available now, not in the future.
- Conexo.Casa is moving to achieve non-profit 503C status. We in the process of affiliating ourselves with a number of non-profits with huge reach (Alzheimers Assoc, Dementia Action Alliance, Autism Speaks, National MS Society, Huntington Disease Society, Parkinsons Foundataion, AZ Agency on Aging), as well as technology organizations (Arizona Tech Council) who will support us.
- Conexo.Casa will be a subscription based model to cover the cost of service delivery and equipment. We would seek revenue from clients who are able to pay, families, non-profits, government grants, etc. By utilizing common off the shelf (COTS) technology and leveraging pre-existing OEM software and cloud infrastructure, we expect to be able to move very quickly. Also, we should keep our operating costs to a minimum, enabling us to provide service to our clients at an affordable, or in some cases free, price.
- We will be marketed by, and agents/volunteers for monitoring and managing our services will come from, our affiliated non-profits. Our non-profit partners would also take care of the customer premise equipment, set up, training, etc. We will have our own staff as tier two escalation for technical support and emergency management.
We have been trying out a variety of different solutions from various vendors, but have found that either the UX is not flexible enough, the device support is not broad enough, the cost is too high, or the implementation is too complex. We believe we have an OEM software and equipment provider who can deliver:
- CLOUD – A web portal for our caregivers/non-profit agents where they can set up service, devices, home layout, location tracking/geo-fencing. create community connections (WebRTC media gateways to other messaging services), and provide first tier support such as real time chat, network diagnostics, device resets and discovery, emergency medical dispatch, and device usage assistance (how to use the microwave, TV, lock the doors, order groceries, schedule a ride, check on prescriptions, and manage doctor’s visits).
- CLIENT HOME NETWORK – A remotely provisioned and managed WiFi router and supporting cloud portal. Ideally a mesh system that can support differential GPS for in-home location tracking of a body worn tag.
- HOME CONTROLLER – A hub/controller. Super simple tile touch screen controls, voice control, WiFi, Bluetooth, matter (thread, zigbee), ethernet. Possibly PoE to router. Camera and support for WebRTC client. We like the form factor of the Echo Show 8, but not the Echo interface.
- DEVICES – The most basic installation would only be WiFi, the hub/controller, and a location tracking tag to be worn. From there we can add lights, switches, cameras, door locks, smoke alarms, co2, water leak, etc. All of these would be for sale on the web portal to caregivers and agents.
Every device will be remotely managed through the Cloud portal. We will have alarms for device status, battery levels, etc.
- We are aware of the need for privacy and security. We are only going to be operating in Arizona initially, which has fairly relaxed privacy rules. We will not attempt to comply with HIPPA or UL for life safety, nor California CCPA or EU GDPR, although we will work towards these goals over time.
So Where Are We in Our Plan?
We are building a prototype of our infrastructure and modeling what our services and user interface will look like. We hope to test this prototype in the near future with a small group of test clients.
I (Bob) needs to establish a team of people to carry this vision forward. I only have a limited time before dementia overtakes my ability to realize this vision.
If you are interested in helping move this vision forward, please contact us at [email protected].
If you are a potential client, let us know how we can support you. Watch this web site for demonstration services which will be coming soon.
Thank you all for your support.