When a former University of Minnesota engineering student’s father had a stroke that affected his mobility, he wanted to create a device that allowed his father to continue living independently in his own house. This evolved into Reemo Health: a startup that offers a multi-use smart watch with features that allow seniors to continue living on their own.
“The true value [of the Reemo smart watch] is that it enables the senior demographic to live independently while connecting to care facilities,” said Andy Gonerka, vice president of healthcare sales. The watch can take users’ heart rates, count their steps, and call ADT Security Services by holding down on the watch’s screen.
What makes Reemo Health’s product different from Life Alert or the Apple Watch is the value it provides to customers, Gonerka says, and the fact that it’s not stigmatizing – it doesn’t look like a PERS (Personal Emergency Response System) device. Its ability to add amenities and go beyond the base functionality, as well as the reputation of its partners, also make Reemo stand out.
Reemo Health has been working with Verizon, Samsung and ADT for various features of the watch for about 18 months, according to Gonerka. Partnering with these companies has helped them build their own brand and acquire distribution outlets.
The commercial launch for Reemo’s smart watch will be April 1 of this year, through Samsung’s distribution capabilities. This will be the consumer market push, but Reemo Health has already been doing trials in senior care facilities nationally, from Nashville to Ohio, Gonerka said. “We actually have less traction locally compared to nationally,” he said of the Minneapolis-based company.
Along with providing a sense of security when senior citizens leave their house, because the watch’s capabilities aren’t limited to a home base, Reemo Health’s product connects users to actual people at ADT, the main emergency contact. Often, users aren’t in an emergency situation, and just want a glass of water or lost the TV remote, Gonerka said.
The data captured in real time – taken every 15 minutes and virtually uploaded to a dashboard every 30 – also provides peace of mind for caregivers and family members, as they can keep track of heart rate, steps taken in a day, etc. The dashboard feature is being checked “surprisingly a lot,” Gonerka said. While there will always be a demographic that doesn’t prefer technology, Gonerka said Reemo Health aims to make their product simple and intuitive to appeal to a wide audience of senior citizens.
Through working with senior care facilities, Reemo Health has also found that these establishments have often had to upgrade their internet capabilities to accommodate the technology usage of their residents.
New features such as reminders, alerts and two-way messaging will be coming out with the launch in April, Gonerka said. Further into the future, Reemo Health will continue refining and enhancing the smart watch, and work to directly connect with healthcare providers, as well as other amenities such as Lyft. “The area we see the most potential in is collaborative care,” Gonerka said, explaining Reemo Health’s plans to connect users directly to treatment and continue capturing data to analyze and better provide personal care.