This Modern-Day PERS Solution Utilizes Google Home

The realKNX home automation system gives users the ability to use Google Assistant to automatically call a caregiver in case of an emergency.

With the new KNX home automation feature introduced by ProKNX at ISE 2018, seniors living independently can simply say, “OK, Google, Help” to summon assistance through Google Home or other Google Assistant device. Caregivers then can respond back through the google device with text-to-speech messages.

AMSTERDAM — Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2018 attracted more than 80,000 attendees to this year’s event, which claims to be the biggest pro A/V show in the world.

ProKNX, a small French home automation company, demonstrated a simple solution based on the realKNX home automation system for Google Assistant to offer help to seniors who fall at home or otherwise need assistance — essentially a hands-free PERS solution.

At the most basic level, a user can summon help by simply saying, “OK, Google … Help.” From there, the realKNX “Smart Senior Living” system notifies anyone on the user’s caregiver list of a help alert. Caregivers can then respond by voice or text, and those messages are instantly relayed via text-to-speech through the loved one’s Google Home devices.

To this basic command, integrators can add smart home programming (configuration video below) that prompts the resident to respond to a request if, for example, a motion sensor in the bathroom does not sense activity in the night.

If the trigger events do not occur, Google Assistant will ask the resident if everything is OK, at which point the user must respond, “OK Google, I’m fine” or some variation thereof.

At ISE, ProKNX managing director Christian Kiefel said he was unaware of other implementations in which users could talk back remotely over Google Assistant with messages such as, “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”

He himself marveled at all the potential in the senior-living market with “just a cheap product” like a $39 Google Home Mini.

Two years ago, ProKNX introduced us to augmented reality for home automation: Simply hold a smart phone up to a learned-in device such as a lamp, and the appropriate interface appears for controlling the system.

ProKNX specialized in smart home systems based on the KNX, the popular home automation standard in Europe. The company also supports Amazon Alexa and Siri voice control, but only the Google Assistant is robust enough to support ProKNX’s two-way voice communications, according to Kiefel.