Sony Smartband Talk integration

My colleagues and I have been investigating the applicability of commercial off the shelf (COTS) technology to be used in the Eldercare market. We set out to develop lifestyle enhancements that allow for greater independence for the seniors, while providing unobtrusive administration and privacy positive monitoring for family members and caregivers.

Our research directed us to pursue a senior experience that requires little technology interaction, and results in actions that are similar to what seniors use on a daily basis. With degradation in physical dexterity being one of the most common issues, we initially targeted a limited voice based set of actions to be available to the senior for enhancing their independent living. After a fairly extensive survey of automation hubs and interaction devices, we settled on prototyping some basic interactions with SmartThings hub and the Sony Smartband Talk bracelet.

The initial results of our development and testing have determined that COTS products are not yet ready to serve the Eldercare market. The primary issue is solution reliability, with wearable interaction and charging methods being secondary factors that limit potential deployment today. Based on our interactions with existing vendors, we anticipate some of these issues to be resolved in the near term, while others may take a longer path to COTS availability. Certainly compliance to existing and emerging industry standards will go a long way towards resolving some of these issues.

Today we are making the ST apps and Sony Smartband Talk apps available to anyone, with only a courtesy registration required on our website. We have also set up a discussion board for those who wish to comment on their experiences, provide suggestions, or discuss items that they wish their elders could benefit from. For those whom are interested, go to and select the Early Adopters link, where you will prompted to register before being granted access to the apps.

With the technology pieces provided, it is possible to customize the Sony Smartband to have up to 10 virtual switches (actions) on the Sony bracelet which can be linked to physical devices in the ST environment. Once the Smartband app is selected, switch navigation is via the “volume” buttons, and on/off toggling is performed by a “tap” on the bracelet.

Our team remains strong supporters of the home automation vision and market, and we remain enthused with the ST offering as a potential cornerstone for advanced services. We intend to evaluate the next generation solution from ST, as well as other providers, while pursuing a monitoring and lifestyle enhancement solution that meets the Independence needs of our aging parents and their peers.

I’m a quad, so I follow voice command technologies carefully.

I really prefer totally hands-free, but Thankfully I don’t have any cognition issues, so I can use somewhat clunkier methods, including those involving hashtags.

Right now, the most practical for me is one worked out by will Poirier. It uses IFTTT as a “man in the middle” protocol. That way anything that can send a text message that includes a hashtag can trigger multiple smart things actions.

I use mine with “hey Siri” on an iPhone and an iPad. I also intend to use it with Apple’s watch.

You have to remember to say the #, which is a little inelegant, but it works.

I use “Hey Siri, tell home #Bedtime,” for example, to turn off lights in several rooms.

More discussion in the following topic:

I looked at the downloads, but they appear to be based on fine motor activities: “long press,” “swipe down,” all that. Exactly what I can’t do.

Is there a voice option, or is that just something you were hoping for eventually?

For the local environment, our primary goal is to develop voice activated solutions that enhance the elder independence. That was one of the key considerations in selecting the Sony Smartband Talk, which supports both microphone and speaker. Primarily for reliability reasons, but also due to privacy, we believe that the majority of operations need to be in the local environment, and therefore chose LAN over cloud, which removes capabilities such as IFTTT from our solution space.

We are making the current capabilities available to the community as we continue our COTS evaluation and develop the necessary technology for elder friendly life enhancements, which would be based on audible interactions in the home environment.