- the Internet of Things
Comcast and Hive Expand Smart Home Offerings through Health
In 2018, I wrote a report about how smart home vendors could capitalize on the emerging nexus between residential Internet of Things technologies and home healthcare. At the time, the market was in early stages of development. Smart home vendors were toying with the idea of using a smart home ecosystem to better monitor health in the home. Today, vendors are actually bringing to market solutions that address this value proposition.
The UK’s National Health Service has embraced this technology and brought healthcare to the home by introducing a service called GP at Hand, which allows patients to talk to a doctor through a video call. While it is expected that health providers would introduce new and innovative services enabled by technology, even the most unlikely of companies have started to integrate health as a value proposition in their smart home offerings.
Hive Link for Caregivers
For example, Hive, a subsidiary of Centrica, has started offering Hive Link, a smart home service for caregivers that allows users to keep tabs on their loved ones through interactions with smart home devices. The interesting part about this offering is that Centrica is an energy supplier, and Hive’s journey in the smart home began with the thermostat. Now the energy-focused company is expanding into health.
Comcast and the Health Market
An even more unlikely company exploring health is Comcast. The major US telco has embraced the smart home through its Xfinity Home security and automation offering. In May 2019, reports surfaced that the company is working on an in-home device that tracks people’s health. The device is anticipated to be piloted this year, with the intention of a rollout in 2020. Comcast has made extensive investments in the smart home and in new business models in the wake of its traditional offerings facing threats by disruptors, such as its TV business being pitted against competitors like Netflix. This move is no exception.
These nontraditional health companies embracing health as a value proposition in the smart home highlights a few important trends. First, the lines are quickly blurring between a company’s traditional expertise and the future business models they could offer. Whether it be Amazon, Google, Comcast, or Hive, companies are facing increasing competition from a variety of stakeholders and are looking to new avenues to generate revenue. Echoing this trend is how vendors should be approaching the smart home. It’s no longer enough to focus on one value proposition or a point solution. Instead, companies need to have smart home products and services that address a spectrum of use cases to stay competitive in this market, including health.