Highlights from CES

By Steve Moran

This morning I was looking at some of the brochures I collected at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and it reminded me of my great grandfather who was a physician (someone I never met) and purveyor of quackery. He “invented” an electric ray belt that looked very similar to the image below that was supposed to cure just about anything. I would note that according to family members, my great grandfather was a true believer in its efficacy.  

I am actually thinking my grandmother tried it out on me when I was young . . . which might explain some things about me. . . .

Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of good stuff at CES and some of it has real value, but some of the things I saw seemed to be more sophisticated versions of my great grandfather’s electric ray belt.

There were some things, though, that I found to intriguing.


There were a few dozen companies offering technology to help find lost stuff, like keys, wallets, phones, animal and kids. TrackerR really caught my attention because it has intriguing potential for the elopement problem. What they are selling today is a small disk that can be stuck in or attached to lots of different things that can be lost. It uses bluetooth and has a battery life of up to one year.

What makes it really cool is that they have a notion of crowd-sourcing to find lost things outside the immediate bluetooth reach of a single cell phone. Here is how it might work in senior living.

A individual with dementia is wearing one of these trackers and elopes. The care staff goes online and tells the system the resident is missing. Immediately every single user on the system becomes a locator. If any one of thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of cellphones catches a signal from the lost resident, the system is notified where the resident is. The system, in turn, notifies the community and the lost resident can be rescued.

THE PEOPLE USE IS NOT THERE TODAY, but this could be huge and it could be done. The technology is not even terribly expensive. Even more interesting is that it could be used to build geofences in a senior living community.


Beddit is a bed sensor that monitors sleep. It is cloud-based and connects to an app. It is not really designed to monitor large groups of people like in a senior living community. It is also not entirely clear what you should be doing with the sleep data you can see. That being said, there is some data that suggests sleep quality and sleep patterns can tell you lots about an individual and this could be valuable for senior living.


If this works as promoted it could make you much more effective. Wear this thing on your lapel and tell it what you want to have done. Schedule meetings, take notes, record expenses. Check it out.


Famoco makes a wireless andriod device about the size of a smartphone that can be programmed for specific applications in a senior living community. Potentially it would be better than a bring-your-own-device system and because of its security features it has zero street value. This means if it walks off your premises, you don’t have to worry about non-authorized people accessing resident or community information.


everyStory provides a cloud-based platform where families can marry photos with voice creating an easy-to-access file for future generations. In talking to the founders I understand they are working with some senior living communities as a way for families to capture resident stories.


I have been pretty skeptical about the idea that robots could make much of a difference in the world of senior living. After attending CES, I am beginning to think there is a place for robots. They could potentially do manual labor tasks like making beds and vacuuming floors, they could provide companion services and I came across savioke, which could work today.

savioke is a service robot that is already being deployed in hotels. The way they are using it is to deliver things to guest rooms. Say someone forgot their razor and is in the middle of getting ready to out in the morning. The old way was to send a bellman up. Pretty inefficient. If you had a savioke robot you would put the razor in the top tell it which room to go to the room, ring the phone that it arrived and then return to the front office.

I find myself thinking that over and over again, team members take stuff from one place to another in a senior living community. How much staff time might be saved if you had a savioke? Right now they can only be leased and are fairly expensive, but if it could replace a person . . . maybe not a bad deal.