Panasonic and Fujitsu begin joint testing of an in-home monitoring service for the elderly

Date: Mon, 07/13/2015 - 12:41

Integrates cloud-service air conditioners and non-contact life-sign sensors in a new approach to monitoring
Panasonic and Fujitsu begin joint testing of an in-home monitoring service for the elderly Image credited to Fujitsu

Panasonic Corporation and Fujitsu Limited announced that the two companies will commence a joint operational trial of an in-home monitoring service for the elderly that integrates Panasonic's cloud-service air conditioners and Fujitsu's non-contact life-sign sensors. The trial, to be conducted at Age Free House Toyonaka Shonaisakaemachi, a serviced senior residence operated by the Panasonic Group, begins in June 2015, and will run for one year.
In this operational trial, cloud-service air conditioners are used to detect living-space information, such as temperature and humidity, while non-contact life-sign sensors are used to detect lifestyle information about occupants, such as their sleeping condition and whether they are at home. This real-time information on living spaces and occupants will be collected by Panasonic's monitoring system and provided to caregivers, with the goal of realizing alert notifications (such as about dangerously high temperatures when in a room, frequent instances of awakening during sleep, etc.) that are customized for each person's living patterns. In addition, a trial will be conducted on a system that allows caregivers to remotely control the air conditioning in response to the occupant's habits. As a result, the monitoring service remotely tracks the status of senior citizens and manages air conditioning to reduce the resources required to perform safety checks. It also contributes to living spaces that are safe and give peace of mind to residents and their families.
After ascertaining the effectiveness of this service at Age Free House Toyonaka Shonaisakaemachi, Panasonic and Fujitsu plan to offer in-home services for the elderly starting in fiscal 2016.

Over 30% of Japan's population will be senior citizens (aged 65 or older) by 2025, and the number of late-term seniors, who are more likely to require care, will reach 21.79 million, an increase of roughly 5.3 million from today(1). At the same time, the caregiving sector is confronting a shortage of caregivers, creating a need for ways to reduce their workloads. Even apart from physical assistance with bathing and going to the bathroom, caregiving is labor intensive, such as monitoring the status of seniors passing time in their rooms, and making nightly rounds with limited staff. While monitoring sensors have been installed in floors in some facilities, a large number of sensors results in very frequent alerts, making the implementation problematically ineffective at actually reducing workloads.
These factors have led to a need among caregivers and operators of senior residential facilities for an advanced method of monitoring that offers peace of mind and safety for seniors, and a lighter workload for caregivers.

About the Collaboration
Panasonic has been an industry leader in bringing advanced, network-connected "smart appliances" to market, and provides services via residential air conditioners that allow for remote power control and the checking of temperature and humidity. The company is also expanding services for every kind of living space, such as Oyasumi Navi, which maintains a comfortable sleep environment through air conditioning.
For its part, Fujitsu has been advocating its concept of a Human Centric Intelligent Society, which contributes to building a secure, prosperous, and sustainable society through the use of ICT. The company has already developed a number of sensor technologies, along with methods for analyzing and using data collected by sensors.
Now the companies have joined forces, jointly developing a new monitoring service that integrates their respective technologies to reduce the workload on caregivers. This new service is now undergoing an operational trial to demonstrate its effectiveness.

Overview of Trial System
• Using Panasonic's cloud-service air conditioners, data on room temperature and humidity are obtained, and the data are collected by Panasonic's monitoring system.
• With sensors that use non-contact life-sign sensing technology developed by Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., microwave radar is used that can detect minute body movements within a 3-meter range. Data collected on body movements are analyzed using Fujitsu's cloud to extract information on the occupant, such as whether the occupant is at home or out, or whether the occupant is asleep or awake, which is then provided to the Panasonic monitoring system.
• The data collected in the Panasonic monitoring system can be confirmed by a caregiver on a monitor, as information on the occupant. Also, alert thresholds can be set for individual occupants, and concerns such as a room reaching a temperature that poses the risk of heatstroke or frequent periods of wakefulness during sleep can be detected in order to issue alerts that are based on an individual's activity patterns. In addition, a system for automatically controlling air conditioning in response to the occupant's habits will be provided. Bringing together the advanced technologies from these two companies will make it possible to manage living spaces and monitor the conditions of occupants, including occupants who do not rely on the support of caregiver rounds.

Future Plans
After ascertaining the effectiveness of this service at the serviced senior residence operated by the Panasonic Group, Panasonic and Fujitsu aim to offer services for the elderly starting in fiscal 2016.


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