Author’s Blurb: We often worry about our elderly friends or relatives, especially if we’re not always around to care for them or tend to them when they need it. No one wants to come home to an unfortunate scenario involving their elderly folk.
For Laurent Yew, this nightmare nearly became a reality when his aunt dropped by his grandmother’s house on an impromptu lunch visit, only to find her collapsed on her kitchen floor.
Unwilling to leave the home in which she resided for the past 50 years, Laurent’s grandmother had lived alone since the passing of her husband. Had his aunt not visited, she might have been found too late.
Fortunately, his grandma turned out fine, but Laurent couldn’t shake the incident from his mind.
So, he made it his personal mission to devise a way for people to keep track of their elderly charges, and ensure their safety around the clock.
After gathering a hefty RM300,000 in capital from various sources such as private investors and a government fund from Penang, he launched Preventech to accomplish his mission.
Smart And Simple
“We understand that there is currently a challenging situation, whereby a lot of seniors are being left at home alone as children have to work in the city or overseas,” said Laurent, the director of Preventech.
“When emergencies happen, help often comes too late to them.”
His solution to this problem is a real-time emergency monitoring and response system, alerted by a nondescript yet efficient smart band for a senior citizen to wear on their wrist.
Aptly called the Elderly Monitoring Smart Band, the device monitors human vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen, and facilitates calls.
If the device detects something out of the ordinary, it automatically triggers an alarm to their caretaker or the Preventech emergency response team.
“Our team will immediately make a call to check up with the wearer,” Laurent explained. “If an emergency situation is confirmed, we will immediately dispatch help via our network of partner emergency response companies, including Community Policing Malaysia (COPS) and St. John.”
The Smart Band is waterproof and lightweight, with a long battery life of 18-20 days. Preventech also supplies it with a mobile app that allows voice messages to be sent through the little device.
More importantly, it is also equipped with a big, red SOS button so senior citizens can press it easily when needed.
Pressing it for 3 seconds will send an alert message to emergency contacts including the Preventech Response Center.
Just One Call Away
You might argue that monitoring vitals can be done by just about any other smart band on the market nowadays, but as mentioned earlier in the piece, its value lies beyond the tech.
Preventech is more service focused and not really about the hardware.
What differentiates ourselves is the emergency monitoring and response services that we provide.Laurent Yew, founder of Preventech
According to their website, Preventech claims to reduce the response time of emergency services by 50% in comparison to calling 999.
Laurent explained that this is thanks to the band and basic customer information that was collected upon registration.
With these advantages, Preventech’s response callers are able to reduce the information collection process to less than five minutes.
Additionally, the Smart Band is also fitted with a GPS tracker that makes it much easier to locate the wearer, should the need arise.
“The elderly are recommended to wear the smart bands as frequently as possible,” Laurent commented.
A Slow But Steady Growth
Preventech’s products and services were introduced to the Malaysian market in late January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Regardless, they’ve garnered a customer base of 80 to 100 people, and have made approximately 220 check-up calls, with 10 emergency cases confirmed. It’s safe to say that they’ve been busy since their release.
In terms of finances, Laurent shared that their main source of revenue comes from their monthly service fee of RM60, on top of the RM245 cost of purchasing a Smart Band.
As a value-added service, Preventech provides special emergency insurance to customers in collaboration with Zurich Insurance, which covers up to RM1,000 for emergency response-related fees.
Every Step Is Significant
Laurent had originally planned to do a roadshow to spread awareness about Preventech, but the MCO had stopped that in its tracks.
Instead, he’s now focusing on building partnerships with pharmacies and doctors, turning to the Internet to spread the word about Preventech and what it can do.
For the next two years, Laurent plans on improving the platform and upgrading the Smart Band to monitor more vital signs.
“Our upcoming version due to release by mid 2021 will also include fall detection, body temperature and cold sweat,” he said.
He also intends on expanding the network of emergency response partners across Malaysia for the benefit of the elderly all over.
Bottom Line: Overall, I feel that this is a pretty neat way to ensure that your elderly loved one is always safe, and knowing that they’ll check up on them when caretakers are not around is a comforting thought. The pricing might seem a little high for some, but it could be argued you can’t really put a price on health and safety.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups we’ve written about here.
Featured Image Credit: Preventech