The future of PERS (personal emergency response systems)

Market research and analysis firm Frost & Sullivan is out with a report on PERs (Personal Emergency Response Systems), known to the rest of us as those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” devices.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 12.14.55 AMAccording to F&S, in 2013, market revenues for PERS were approximately $1.04 billion. That’s not surprising considering PERS are a basic enabling technology for seniors who want to age in place. As that grim joke of single fate from Bridget Jones Diary put it, they lessen the likelihood of dying alone and being eaten by an Alsatian.

Morbid humor aside, how will this classic technology do in the future, as more medical wearables, such as smart watches, become available?

F&S sees three major trends of interest to consumers:

  • The devices may come from your phone company: Verizon and AT&T entered the market two years ago, and with scale on their side, “the carriers may be able to swing the market in their favor quickly.”
  • The devices will allow more freedom: PERS systems based on landlines will transition to mobile PERS systems (mPERS) that will have GPS capabilities, so that seniors can have coverage whether they’re just running errands in the neighborhood or traveling on vacation.
  • The devices will do more things: Over the next few years, the PERS industry will transition from alert-only to a “more integrated medical service/monitoring model…[which] may incorporate and transmit home-based PHR [personal health record] information for caregiver tracking and health analytics around vital signs.’

The maximum market potential of PERS over the next three years, according to F&S, is $3.75 billion dollars.