Comcast (NSDQ:CMCSA) is reportedly preparing to jump into the in-home health-monitoring market.
The company will begin conducting pilot tests later this year and intends to launch a health monitoring device in 2020, according to a report by CNBC. Targeted toward seniors and people with disabilities, the device would use ambient sensors to determine whether they’re making extra trips to the bathroom or staying in bed longer than usual. Comcast is also working on a fall detector, the network reported.
Health IT veteran Sumit Nagpal is directing the effort at Comcast, sources told CNBC. Nagpal was managing director and global lead of digital health strategy for Accenture (NYSE:ACN) for one year before joining Comcast as senior VP and general manager of health innovation in February, according to LinkedIn.
Comcast would join the home-health-monitoring market for seniors already targeted by Google (NSDQ:GOOGL), Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN) and Apple (NSDQ:AAPL). The Philadelphia-based company would have an edge over competitors, in that it already has access to the homes of more than 26 million customers. (The company had 26.2 million Internet customers and 22.3 million video customers as of April 2018, according to a report by Arstechnica.) Comcast also offers home security and automation hardware and software.
Comcast’s device wouldn’t have the communications or assistance capabilities of Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, but it would have a “personality” like Alexa’s and will be able to make emergency phone calls, CNBC’s sources said.
BestBuy (NYSE:BBY) also plans to expand its health business targeted toward the elderly. The company last year announced it was spending $800 million to acquire GreatCall, a provider of connected health and personal emergency response services with more than 900,000 paying subscribers. During a February earnings call transcribed by Seeking Alpha, outgoing BestBuy CEO Hubert Joly said the company wants to scale both GreatCall consumer devices and services — as well as commercial monitoring service — with a focus on seniors.