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GreatCall Targets 65+ Market with Health and Safety Services

Xconomy San Diego — 

Back in 1989, an American home protection company named LifeCall began saturating daytime television with ads featuring an elderly woman who uses a pendant device to call a dispatcher, declaring, “I’ve fallen… and I can’t get up!”

The melodramatic cry became a catchphrase of American pop culture in the ‘90s. Since then, it has become a registered trademark held by First Alert, an Aurora, IL-based maker of smoke detectors and other safety devices.

Now San Diego-based GreatCall is looking to update in-home emergency response services with mobile technology that uses an accelerometer and proprietary algorithm to detect if the user has fallen. In a statement today, GreatCall says its own “Splash” pendant device connects automatically with customer service representatives at a GreatCall call center when a user takes a spill.

Citing statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, GreatCall says falls are the leading cause of injury in adults who are 65 and older, leading to ER visits by over 2.5 million Americans in 2013, and an estimated $30 billion in medical costs.

The move also reflects the unfolding strategy at GreatCall, whose target demographic is that 65+ set. GreatCall was founded in 2005 as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) to provide simple, flat-rate service and easy-to-operate Jitterbug phones for the graying wave of baby boomers entering retirement.

“What our business has grown into is a health and safety services provider,” said Dean Williams, GreatCall’s vice president of technology.

Following the 2009 acquisition of Waltham, MA-based MobiWatch, GreatCall and its Jitterbug subsidiary introduced its 24-hour personal emergency service in 2011. For an additional monthly … Next Page »

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