Best Buy is expanding its pilot of Assured Living, which enables adult children to check in on their aging parents from afar, in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. If the pilot goes well, Best Buy hopes to use its national retail network and sales expertise to make monitoring a mass market, said a recent Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) story, “Best Buy bets on tech for monitoring elderly parents.”
"We have customers every day standing in our connected home area of the store, saying, 'What here can I do that helps me ensure that mom or dad is living independently, safely on their own?'" AJ McDougall, general manager of Best Buy's strategic growth office, told MPR.
The pilot offers adult children peace of mind as it monitors whether older adults are sleeping through the night, remembering to lock the doors, and taking their medicine. Seniors can use voice commands to adjust the temperature or lights, lock the doors, or use a doorbell camera to see who is knocking.
The Star Tribune reported that costs range from $200 for basic cameras and motion sensors up to $1,000 for smart home products that can use a smartphone app to alert family members if the senior’s usual daily activities change. The service plan costs $1 a day in addition to hardware costs.
The pilot’s expansion continues Best Buy’s push into the smart home market. Assured Living launched in January 2017 with Best Buy employees and their families. In May 2017, Best Buy announced a partnership with Vivint Smart Home to start selling smart home products at more than 400 Best Buy stores this summer. Customers will be able to consult with a smart home expert, design a comprehensive system, and receive professional installation and monitoring, often within 24 hours.
Formerly the main company in this space, Best Buy now has a strong competitor. In early July, Amazon announced the start of its own service to advise on and install smart home electronics, rivaling Best Buy’s Geek Squad. Another challenge will be older adults themselves, and their acceptance of being monitored.