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ONKÖL: Family Communications Will Never Be The Same

Today, we're introducing ONKÖL: A revolutionary family communications solution that allows older folks and younger family members stay in touch.

We've all heard about the Internet of Things: wireless sensors that can monitor and configure everything from thermostats to refrigerators to medical devices. Over the next 5 years we will see anywhere from 18 billion to 220 billion new sensors brought to market, and a lot of them could benefit the elderly. But there's a problem: older folks typically aren't crazy about new technology.

At ONKÖL, our goal is enable the elderly and their families to benefit from the coming Internet of Things tsunami by addressing head-on those hurdles that stop Mom and Dad from using new technology. Specifically, we followed 4 principles throughout ONKÖL's development.

  • Make it simple: Although ONKÖL base station is loaded with features, it is dirt simple to use. The only thing Mom or Dad needs to do is plug it in. With few exceptions, all configuration can be done remotely by family members.

  • Make it beautiful: Combining a natural wood cabinet with brushed aluminum finishes, ONKÖL looks like a high end piece of audio equipment, not a medical or home monitoring device. That shouldn't come as a surprise: we worked with high-end audio cabinet manufacturers, button fabricators for luxury automobiles, and world-renowned industrial designers to get the look and feel just right.

  • Make it about the the family, not strangers in a call center. Too many elderly devices on the market today are designed to notify strangers in a call center as their primary interaction. Although the availability of call center personnel 24/7 may make intuitive sense for certain situations, involving strangers can make Mom even less likely to reach out for help. Everything that ONKÖL does focuses on notifying family members first, while still leaving the option open for call center involvement.

  • Make it about communication, not crisis. Although ONKÖL can be used for emergency notification, it is so much more. With its ability to accept input from a wide variety of household and personal health sensors over Bluetooth, WiFi, USB, Zigbee/Zwave, LandLine and SubGHz technologies, family members stay in touch with Mom and Dad on a wide variety of topics, ranging from health metrics to home status.

We are truly excited about the possibilities for ONKÖL, and the benefit it will bring to families. We anticipate general availability early in 2015. Keep an eye on this space for updates and further insights.

In the meantime, don't hesitate to reach out to us via our contact page .

Erich

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