I’ve often said that wearable technology will succeed when it “disappears” into our lives, not requiring user intervention or maintenance. It will just “be there” and do its job. And like Mr. Ed, it won’t speak unless it has something to say. The recent news about a strategic partnership between Sensara and GreenPeak Technologies is a good example of how we’re converging on this type of product design.

Sensara specializes in intelligent sensors that create an intelligent wireless network, while GreenPeak is a leader in the ZigBee semiconductor industry that makes devices for Smart Home applications. Together, the companies have created a Senior Lifestyle System that relies on inconspicuous sensors distributed throughout the home to monitor the residents’ activities and behaviors. The intelligent system learns what is “normal” for the individuals, and is able to recognize when activities fall outside these norms. It can generate alerts that are sent to apps running on a smartphone or tablet, to warn family members or caregivers if there is need to check on the resident. It can track changes over time, identifying potential problems before they become serious, while protecting the resident’s privacy.

Systems such as these will allow seniors to live independently in their own homes longer and more securely. Early detection of possible health or behavior problems can lead to lower costs of treatment or other interventions, which will save money while helping preserve the subject’s health and security. This is a Smart Home application that promises big returns in terms of both cost and improved quality of life.