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Deutsche Telekom to introduce its new smart home emergency call system

Feb 9, 2016

  • The innovative smart home emergency call system will be on the market in 2016
  • Sensors in the home automatically detect falls
  • Geriatric care trade fair, March 8 to 10 in Hanover
Deutsche Telekom will be showcasing its new smart home emergency call system at the geriatric care trade fair, Altenpflegemesse, in Hanover from March 8 to 10. The system is designed specifically to help older people living alone get rapid and specific assistance when they need it. The emergency call system is to be launched this year in a trial as part of an observational study, in conjunction with the Malteser emergency call-out service and the Caritas network in Mönchengladbach and should be on the market before the end of 2016.
Falls are one of the biggest injury risks that older people face. The North Rhine professional organization of doctors estimates that in Germany, some 30 to 40 percent of people over 65 who live alone fall at least once each year, while for those over 80, the figure increases to 50 percent. The falls are usually mild, but in ten percent of cases, the person involved suffers serious injury, such as a broken hip. More than 5,600 people over the age of 65 died resulting from falls in 2010, according to health insurance company Barmer GEK.
Dr. Axel Wehmeier, head of the Deutsche Telekom Healthcare business area, says, "By 2020, almost 20 percent of the German population will be aged over 70, and 90 percent of this age group wants to live independently in their own home for as long as possible. We want to support older people in this goal, using intelligent, connected technology."

The system recognizes movement patterns and falls

The system works using sensors installed in the home, which are in turn connected to the intelligent software of the emergency call system. The software is able to tell the difference between, say, a person bending down to pick something up and someone who has fallen and requires help. Upon identifying a real emergency situation, the system automatically uses a secure network to alert the control center of an emergency home care service that is staffed around the clock. The control center establishes contact with the resident via the hands-free function. In addition, staff can get an idea of the situation on site through an impersonal, indistinct image.

Data is protected


The smart home emergency call system has been developed strictly in accordance with current data privacy regulations and based on the principle of data minimization. It informs the user what data will be stored, and how. Except in the case of a fall or other critical situation, no data is stored.

Elderly people don't want to wear sensors on their person


In its smart home emergency call system, Deutsche Telekom relies on a technology that works automatically in the background. Many older people do not like the idea of having to wear sensors on their person, as it makes them feel stigmatized. Despite this, they would like to feel safer with a system that recognizes when they need assistance and makes sure help is received rapidly. These are the findings of a joint study by Deutsche Telekom and the Liebenau Foundation as part of the E-Health@Home project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.