Interview in Action @ HIMSS '23 - Roeland Pelgrims, Nobi BV & Sarah Thomas, MezTal, AgeTech Capital
Episode 7022nd May 2023 • This Week Health: Conference • This Week Health
00:00:00 00:13:36

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interview in action from the:

Special thanks to our cDW, Rubrik, Sectra and Trellix for choosing to invest in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.

You can check them out on our website this week,, now onto this interview.

right, here we are from HIMSS:

I'm from Belgium, Belgium, co founder and CEO of Nobe. And in the U. S. we're based in

New York. Fantastic. Well, tell me, tell me a little bit about Novi.

Novi is a smart lamp company. Its mission is to allow elderly to live happy lives in comfort, dignity, and safety. And we do that by technology. Technology that is about fault detection, fault prevention, fault prediction, lifestyle monitoring, and much more. But hidden in a design object, so that it's not only part of care, but also very much

part of life.

I'm excited about this topic. My father in law... came to live with us before he passed away. He lived with us for about three years and we were jerry rigging all this stuff. We put a an Amazon device in his room almost like a baby monitor so we could connect with him and that kind of stuff.

But this space seems to be really evolving and really moving fast. Sarah, I mean, how is this being used?

So, you know, we've been looking at ugly technology for

a long time.

That is the other problem.

And I, I'm an H Tech expert, I've been in this field for over 20 years, and I'm so glad that things like Novi are finally hitting the market where you can not sacrifice function, and at the same time have style and grace and beauty in the design.

Will we see you partner with, with different manufacturers and integrate your technology into it?

We are a pretty open company. So we, we believe that the age of closed systems is really behind us. Any successful solution today needs to be willing to partner with anyone else that has the same ambition to improve quality of life and health.

So we are extremely open and we connect with anything and everything. So smart scales, thermometers, blood pressure, et cetera. We take in all the data and we deliver it in any platform that can, can help health. Whether it is a patient health record, et cetera. Or uh, care management systems. You

roll with

As I was thinking about it, living in Naples, Florida, there's a lot of I think our average age is 65 to 75. A lot of those people in Naples will have money. So they will go to a designer and say, Hey, design my house, and those kind of things. And so they don't really want to sacrifice form for function.

I mean, I know they're getting older and whatnot, but that sort of comes up on people. It's not like they all of a sudden say, all right, take out all the nice stuff I have. And so I can, I can, envision people saying, I want the really nice stuff, but I want your technology to either take care of my parents, trying to take care of somebody or even a facility that has those things.

Is that, are those the kind of organizations you're putting in?

Absolutely. You're absolutely right. We shouldn't be asking people to choose and to sacrifice beauty if they desire functionality. And there is actually no reason to ask people that. It's just a habit. The care industry is not used to design being part of their way of thinking, and it shouldn't be.

It's a huge group of consumers that deserves to be taken serious, not only as a patient, but also as a customer. And that's, I think, the shift that we're seeing now. Very exciting in Asia. Deck where design starts being from and central. And it's not a choice. It's a combination that you need to build.

So your, consumer obviously is the, could be. The, could be. What are some of the other consumers of your,

like in in Europe we are mainly installed in nursing homes, memory care, et cetera. So there we have of course the residents themselves that see mainly as a lamb. Cause 99% of time it's just, Only when you are in need, it will start a tool

that helps them to get much more stuff done in much less time. Give you one example. At night, we will open doors and visually check if everything is okay in the memory care facility. That's a lot of labor, but also a lot of sleep hours that get disturbed by unpointed interventions. We shouldn't be doing that.

Technology can do a better job at monitoring, much less intrusive, and there will be plenty of time with these people, so that they can do what they do best, which is delivering care, and not checking up on people. So it's a combination of functionality for residents, and cost savings or operational efficiency for for

How is it detecting falls,

is it a


We have optical sensors in there, and we have sound. These are the two things that we work with. So, how does it work? We have an optical sensor that takes images. On the lamp, because privacy is crucial, on the lamp we immediately translate these images, live in real time, into stick figures, abstract stick figures.

And our AI analyzes these stick figures. And only when the AI sees this stick figure has behavior that is worrying, only then we open a connection to whoever is in your circle of trust. So, in an institution that will be the dashboard of the nurses and at home, that may be your name. your son your, your, your, can talk via the lamp to the room to reassure them, first diagnosis.

And then when help arrives, we connect with a smart lock to open the door so that we don't lose time. So, basically in the core we have vision and...

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now, back to the show. So 20 years in the H tech space? Yeah. It's come a long way. And computer vision, AI, a lot of things have really changed in this space. What do you think we're going to see based on what you've seen over the last 20 years? What do you think we're going to see over the next five?

Well, I think that we're finally looking at actionable insights and a predictive nature of technologies. Instead of just capturing a fall after it happens. Actual change that you can when there is change and can prevent a fall. That's finally here. We are able to do that.

While protecting someones privacy, while protecting someone's own human-centered life experience where they are opening up their data, their informatino, upon their choosing, to the circle of trust that they select. And before most of these technologies were very hospital driven, very care oriented, not person-centered and so now that the designs are able to progress more I think we can have more personalized medicine, personalized care, and personalized life cycle.

What is the...

What's the conversation with healthcare providers. More and more of them are saying hey we are getting out of the four walls and I would't say all of them but a fair number are talking about home based care and really higher levels of acuity care. What's the message to them?

Well, I think the message is being able to get data at your fingertips so you can provide care in a supportive environment and that can be ... by able to capture a change of behaviour, a change of condition early your able to only bring care into the home when necessary and not in an intrusive manner and and beyond the walls of the typical institution. So yeah I think we're finally there. Being able to reach into the homes.

It's interesting. So, twenty years ago, what was I looking at at AgeTech?

You were looking at EHRs that were trying to look upstream and downstream for care coordination and that was about it. You know we have now tools out there for mobility and cognition and wellness and longevity that are just much more progressive than twenty years ago.

That's so intresting, so this has to be cloud based I would assume.

most of the heavy lifting gets done on the lamp itself. So, every lamp its a computer, yeah. And the cloud is only used to coordinate all this data that we take in to make sure it gets delivered to those who need the data. It allows us to be much more reassuing in terms of

privacy. What happens on the lamp stays on

the lamp.

And it allows us to do much more advanced computing since we don't need to make the connection to the cloud for it's smartness.

Smartness is in the lamp.

And then if your looking at something before you asked me twenty years ago I mean think about all of the wearables that had. This cowbell mentality of let me tell someone where I am at any moment. You know where they ended up? On the bedside. Noone is wearing them. So if you are able to look at ambient sensing and two way communication in through your own homes your looking at truly truly connected healthcare

I have a drawer in my desk, that is the graveyard of wearables. because I'm an Early adopter, I want to try this, try that. And all of them left me wanting at the end of the day. And really what I want is a health partner. I want somebody to come alongside me, monitor some things and help me to be healthier. And I like The passive nature of this.

It's not like they have to do this, sync it, whatever. It's there. It's where

they live.

Absolutely. And that we go extremely far in that idea. Like, we are tech guys. We like to invent new stuff that excites us And sometimes you just over invent and over engineer. So in our first generation, we had made a Nobi Switch, which was incredibly funky and incredibly cool.

It could be a product from an Apple store. But then you have our customers. Who are 85, 86, 87, and we give them this, this future proof device, which basically scared them. So we went back to the drawing board and we said, look, if they have a dongle switch for the past 20 years, then they will have the dongle switch for the next 10.

And how to make that smart is our problem, not theirs. So we made that technology that we can put behind that switch, so it's the same smartness, but for grandpa or grandpa, the experience of using the lamp switching it on and off has. Remained unchanged, and it's that type of respect for life as it has been that is really crucial to improve the quality of life as it will be.

We really need to take that seriously.

That's fantastic. I love the I love the progress that's being made in this space, and especially as I get older. I appreciate all the work you're putting in.


Another great interview. I wanna thank everybody who spent time with us at the conference. I love hearing from people on the front lines and it's phenomenal that they've taken the time to share their wisdom and experience with the community. It is greatly appreciated.

We wanna thank our partners, CDW, Rubrik, Sectra and Trellix, who invest in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.



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