A FIRM owned by a Stockton entrepreneur that fuses together the internet of things (IoT) with contact and sensor-led risk alerts to keep elderly and disabled adults safe has seen installations rocket.

Care providers and families are leveraging the technology to stay in touch with loves ones throughout the pandemic.

Alcove, which has brought fully integrated, in-home technology to the care sector for the first time at scale, has seen continued growth in sales for its video 'carephone' and sensor tracking technology.

The care industry uses the system to deliver contact and support to vulnerable and elderly adults whilst minimising face-to-face contact.

The Northern Echo:

Billingham-raised Hellen Bowey, chief executive and co-founder of the firm who went to Newcastle Business School, grew up witnessing first hand the challenges within the care sector due to her sister having a complex medical condition, and was spurred into action after hearing stories of substandard care.

The firm says the existing telecare market is dominated by "hardwired pull cords and big red buttons" and does not offer actionable data, while Alcove uses virtual assistants, video and an IoT ecosystem to modernise remote care.

More than 6,000 new users now have access to the system, including those in the North-East, through care services or as part of local authority and NHS deployments.

The firm's ‘one-touch video carephones', rolled out specifically during Covid-19, can be used to make instant calls to friends, family or care providers and simplify the process of getting in touch.

This tackles loneliness and isolation whilst providing a safe and cost-effective way to deliver care and therapeutic interventions.

The Alexa-linked technology also includes visitor monitoring and carer check-ins while sensor devices track movements and alert professionals to potential risks.

This includes many integrations, including access control systems, fall, bed wetting, smoke and temperature sensing, and GPS tracked smart watches.

The Northern Echo:

Ms Bowey said: “The pandemic has highlighted some real issues. These are not only in the funding and provision of social and healthcare, but also in the acute issues of loneliness and digital isolation.

"Many vulnerable members of society are at risk of being left behind in lockdown.

"Scientific studies show that compared to a phone call, seeing a person’s face when having a conversation can reduce feelings of loneliness.

"This visual recognition releases endorphins in a way that ordinary phone calls don’t – which is why we’ve embedded video at the very heart of our platform.

The Northern Echo:

"Technology has a huge part to play in the future of our social care system, and in supporting the great work of our NHS and local community care teams.

"We know this industry, and we know that our care providers are under immense pressure to tackle this virus. We have experience on-hand to collaborate with care providers and guide them through using technology to benefit the social care system.”

Alcove is currently working with care and housing providers across the country to develop tailored care plans and monitoring systems for vulnerable residents.