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IoT Enables Innovative Connected Care Solutions

Digital connected care solutions that enhance live

The European Union, like many other parts of the world, is facing a growing elderly population – and that growth is presenting unique challenges in countries where a strong safety net is the norm. Among those challenges is that the growth in numbers of elderly is coinciding with a reduction and shortage in of people in the workforce. In other words, there are more people to care for with less people available to provide that care.

Finland-based Everon has been providing innovative digital living solutions in Finland since 2007, in Sweden and the UK since 2014.  Everon’s flexible, wireless and mobile technology solutions provide an open platform that is both person-centered and future-proof with its sustainable devices that are designed to enhance the lives of the elderly regardless of the care needs or the form of dwelling. Actually, the same systems are used cross-domain in domiciliary care as well as all forms of facility care. Everon supports adult social care and assisted living operators and users by providing a complete set of tools to optimize work for caregivers, while also providing analytics on the data provided by devices and other technology being used.

“Everything we offer we have self-developed,” explains Markus Merne, CEO Everon Group. “This can be something as advanced as an atrial fibrillation sensor that is part of the bed sensor, or it could be something as simple as an alert button on someone’s wrist. We also have a very versatile hub, which we call the ‘welfare hub’, which provides different technologies to connect sensors and devices to our backend and vice versa.”

The Everon backend has a number of functions: it can raise alerts, which can mean the system has automatically detected something or that someone has actively called for help by, for example, pressing a button. That alert is routed to either a monitoring service, to staff, or to relatives or other concerned parties. Secondly, the system can be integrated into care planning systems or Electronic Patient Journals (EPJs).

Essentially, Everon provides support for everything outside of a hospital setting. This means acting as a support system for delivering and optimizing care to people living in their homes.

Markus Merne CEO Everon

“When it comes to analytics and the ‘welfare hub’, our system allows caregivers to see how people are doing in terms of things like activity level,” says Markus Merne. “There can be deviation calculations, so you also have deviation alerts. There’s also fall detection, which is particularly important because if the person is not conscious, they cannot call for help. We also have an AI analytics system, which is a camera-based system installed in the user’s home and the backend continuously calculates what is going on. We can do trend detection and even ‘soft fall’ detection, which means if someone, for example, bends down to pick something up and can’t get up again, we can detect that. This is considered a ‘fall’ because the end result is the same: the person remains on the floor and needs assistance. With a wrist fall detector this would not be detected because it’s not a ‘real’ fall – the person went to the ground, shall we say, voluntarily, but could not get up, so having this extra layer of detection, which is crucial. We also have a mobile app, EMA, which is for the professionals in the field and in facilities and then EMAAC, the monitoring central station platform that allows operators to monitor things 24/7.”

Tele2 IoT, connectivity & technology

One of the big strengths of Everon’s solutions is that the company controls both the device and the software development, so they have the whole package. And because everything in the Everon solution is digital, so it wouldn’t exist without IoT.

Having a multi-featured platform and device setup requires different kinds of connectivity, though, so Everon offers a multitude of connectivity options, including WiFi, ethernet, 2G, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth and three different kinds of radios.

“It’s a complex device platform that allows you to have almost any kind of device or sensor connected,” explains Markus Merne. “We are using different types of connectivity and we evaluate everything that comes along, but we don’t just use something because it’s shiny and new. We have a different perspective: our service needs to be future proof, so we need to recognize that a new technology might take over in the next five years. What we do is look at what is the availability today with things like modems or other technology that would accommodate that within five years, so while things like LTE-M are interesting, we still have our first installation from over ten years ago up and running, so we evaluate our needs before acting.”

Everon’s solutions are mission critical, which means they need to be connected 24/7 in order to send and receive data.

The company has developed their own data protocols and with optimized traffic. So, devices are data ‘pinged’ very frequently, but those ‘pings’ are very brief, taking as little as one millisecond. Additionally, all data is encrypted and Everon has their own solutions for security, something that is vital when talking about patient confidentiality.

“We of course have VPNs, such as a VPN from a camera to the backend, which then calls for a VPN solution in the hub, which is very different from any other competitor, who don’t have anything like that,” says Markus Merne. “But while data integrity is important, even more important is connectivity.”

Merne says that Tele2 IoT connectivity works very well in normal circumstances with loaded packages and with the roaming option.

“We have steering-free roaming, and it seems to work well. We have had a couple of incidents where the host and visitor connection was lost and it can be difficult to explain outages to people in the care sector who don’t have any technical education or even understanding. They see it in terms of their cell phone, so it’s difficult to explain this more complex challenge that all operators experience at one time or another. We take the hit when there is an outage, but disregarding that, everything works very well.”

The future

Everon has been growing quickly and while there are challenges around components, once that is resolved in the next year or so the company will be delivering as much as it sells. And the company’s growth has them looking at markets beyond Scandinavia and the UK.

“We’ve already successfully moved into Sweden and the UK,” says Markus Merne. “So, we know what it takes to expand, and we are fully prepared. The same recipe can work in other countries – we have the track record so it’s very simple for us to move into new markets.”

Everon CEO Markus Merne will be appearing at IoT Talks 2022 – Beyond the Visibility Line to discuss connected care and the role IoT plays. Please register here.