In the midst of an ongoing labor crunch, one electronic health monitoring company is rolling out a virtual caregiver named “Addison” and is positioning itself to work with private-duty home care agencies.
SameDay Security has raised $35 million to make it happen. The funds, of which about $32 million came from the recently completed Series D fundraising round, will help with the development and roll out of the new ambient augmented reality caregiver, according to Anthony Dohrmann, CEO of the Las Cruces, New Mexico-based company.
“What we wanted to do was create a really endearing, humorous, compassionate, professional character that didn’t feel invasive and felt like something you wanted to reach out and engage with,” Dohrmann said, adding that another goal was to cut costs for clients.
Addison is a 3D animated companion who will “live” in 10- to 15-inch monitors strategically placed around users’ homes. Some of her features include conversational speech, the ability to make observations based on movement and helping people follow prescription treatment plans, Dohrmann said.
SameDay Security, which operates and sells products under the brands Electronic Caregiver and Addison Care, makes and markets automated home care solutions and safety devices for thousands of clients nationwide.
The company has spent the past seven years — and most of its capital — on Addison’s research and development. Meanwhile, shareholders include current and former executives from companies such as Honda, Oracle, Merrill Lynch and Hospital Corporation of America, according to the release.
The $35 million in venture capital raised for Addison will in turn help people who need home care save money, Dohrmann said. For clients who can’t afford to pay thousands per month for caregivers, clients who use SameDay’s services pay about $299 up front, with monthly packages ranging from $289 to $499 per month, he said.
And while some industry voices worry virtual caregivers threaten jobs and quality of care, Dohrmann says Addison needs localized support from home care companies to thrive. SameDay has relationships with independent franchise owners across the country including Comfort Keepers, Home Instead, Right at Home and other locations, according to Dohrmann.
“We’ve become a product line extension for our growing network of private-duty home care companies to service vast new market demographics that are in need of health monitoring in a solution,” Dohrmann said. “We help cut the cost of hospitalization, we help reduce treatment failures from non-adherence, which is the cost behind 50% of all treatment failures, and we do a better job of getting relevant information to the people and professionals that need to know faster.”
Over the past few years, similar initiatives to supplement human caregivers with technology have popped across the country. Last year, private-duty home care franchise Comfort Keepers partnered with a tech company to introduce “Rudy,” a multifunctional robot companion designed to help seniors age at home. Additionally, this year, rumors swirled that Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) is creating a robot akin to the retail giant’s voice-enabled Echo devices, which are already starting to transform home care.
Addison will debut on a 60-inch monitor at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January. Meanwhile, she’s being selectively introduced, with a wider release set for the second quarter of 2019.
Written by Bailey Bryant