Comcast is working on an in-home device to monitor people’s health, with the idea to begin pilot-testing it later this year, CNBC is reporting.
The initiative is reportedly led by Sumit Nagpal, a senior vice president and general manager of health innovation at Comcast who previously worked at Accenture. He joined Comcast in February this year to build a strategy and a team for bringing the new health hardware to market. That team has been working on the device for more than a year, according to two people with direct knowledge.
It is suggested that Comcast’s forthcoming device will monitor people’s basic health metrics using ambient sensors, with a focus on whether someone is making frequent trips to the bathroom or spending more time than usual in bed. Furthermore, the product may also be able to detect falls, which are common and potentially fatal for seniors.
In addition, it may come with a built-in digital assistant and will be able to make emergency phone calls, if needed. The device, however, won’t be positioned as a communications or assistant tool, and won’t be able to do things like search the web or interact with other connected devices inside the house.
Comcast plans to offer the device and related service to seniors and people with disabilities, but the timing, pricing and roll-out plan have not been finalized. It will start to experiment with pilots, which will not be limited to Comcast customers, by the end of 2019, with potential commercial release in 2020.
The device would be a first for Comcast in health, and would put the company into competition with tech giants such as Google, Amazon and Apple. The cable giant may have an edge with its customers because of the access to the home through its cable and broadband business, which involves technicians showing up to people’s homes for installation and upgrades. In theory, technicians could set up the device during those visits.
Aside from hardware, Comcast has been in talks with several large hospitals, including Rush in Chicago, to extend the use of the device by ensuring that patients don’t end up back in the hospital after they’ve been discharged.
Unsurprisingly, CNBC declined to comment on its forthcoming health device leaving us to wait for additional information. Stay tuned…