Technology transforms humble cup of tea into life-saver for South Yorkshire family

Many Brits say they couldn’t live without tea, but for one South Yorkshire family new technology has elevated the humble cuppa to a potentially life-saving beverage.

Every time 92-year-old Lily Hutchinson boils the kettle at her home in Thorne, Doncaster, a plug-in device lets her family know.

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Rachael reviews 3rings

When one of Rachel’s sisters moved to Spain, the family lost having a relative nearby to help support their 93 year old grandmother and knew they needed to change something. Since using the 3rings plug it has helped to improve the whole family dynamic.

Although my grandma is 93, she is so independent and when my sister who lived closer to her moved away it fell to the other three of us, as well as my dad to keep checking up on her. This definitely became frustrating for her, we stopped having real conversations and were just always checking she was eating enough, was drinking enough, feeling OK and so on.

It was all necessary though as she’d fallen a couple of times and had not been found until some while afterwards. So when I heard about 3rings at a work event run by Westfield Health it was like the lightbulb just came on, it was exactly the answer to our situation! The anxiety and concerns had been causing family discord, my dad was really feeling the pressure, but now we just get told every morning and evening she is OK and can subtly check whenever we’re worried about her.

My grandma has actually had two falls since we got the plug and we knew about it almost instantly, I dread to think how long it might have been had it not been for the morning alerts, so I can’t really praise 3rings enough!

Luke reviews 3rings

With Luke Pickering being in London for work, he found himself dealing with the daily anxiety of being over 100 miles away from his mother in their home town of Liverpool. Luke still talks to his mum every evening but 3rings provides him with reassurance each morning that his mum is up and about.

I wasn’t looking for a solution but when I saw 3rings on Dragon’s Den I realised it could really help give me peace of mind. I moved to London a while ago and I’ve got a busy life here. When Dad died Three years ago, I suddenly realised how far away from Mum I was and that I felt so helpless should anything happen to her.

What’s been so rewarding about using the 3rings plug is how much happier Mum is. I knew how anxious the situation was making me but I hadn’t anticipated the peace of mind 3rings would give her too. She’s such a technophobe, the fact that she doesn’t have to do or change a thing makes the product so perfect, it just slots into her routine and daily life, literally!

Thankfully I’ve never had a negative alert other than when she’s been on holiday, but I feel that with the plug in place I have the best chance of reacting as fast as is possible, and that makes us both feel a lot better.

Joan reviews 3rings

3rings provides Joan Pearson with reassurance that her 93 year old mum, who lives alone, is OK. Before using 3rings Joan’s mum was having falls and her family were becoming increasingly worried about her welfare and ability to live independently. Now Joan and her whole family have peace of mind that they can keep track of their loved one and be quick to respond if any behaviour is cause for concern.

I first heard about 3rings through Dragon’s Den back in 2015 and was shouting at the telly, ‘why don’t you fund this?’ Although I didn’t take it further at the time I later remembered 3rings when my 93 year old mum was starting to have falls and Social Services became involved. As my mum’s not too good on the phone, I thought this could be a great way to make sure she’s ok without having to call her all the time. I spoke to my brothers who said go for it.

We’ve been using the plug for a couple of months now and it gives me enormous peace of mind to know that my mum is up and about in the morning. 3rings is connected to her kettle so me, my brother and sister in law all know when she’s had her first cup of tea, and predict when she’ll have her next one. That pattern is really reassuring. If that changed I would think ‘where is she, what has she done?’

I can’t emphasise how reassuring it has been. It’s not a substitute for care it’s just reassurance, one less thing to remember. If I can give this peace of mind to just one other family that would be amazing.

Worried about your ageing mum or Dad? Just ask Alexa!

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This week, tech start-up 3rings reveals how, as part of its new social care platform, it has integrated with the Amazon Echo, showing how smart homes and the ‘internet of things’ can be used to’ help older people live independently for longer and deliver peace of mind to their families regardless of distance and time pressures.

Originally, 3rings helped families monitor the wellbeing of their ageing friends or relatives through a ‘smart plug’ that connects to domestic appliances such a kettle or a TV. It was created by Steve Purdham so that he and his siblings could rest assured that their 82-year old mother was well. Being an entrepreneur, he was determined to find a way to apply his thinking to change the face of social care to support both older people and their friends and family who are concerned for their welfare. There are now 11.6 million over-65s living in the UK and 1.5 million of them over 85.

This latest development for 3rings works with the Amazon Echo in two modes; the first allows friends and relatives to ‘ask Alexa’ if their loved one is safe and okay.  The second mode can be used in a loved one’s home; they can ask Alexa to tell 3rings they need help which will send out an immediate alert to their friends and family network.

However, the Amazon Echo is just the start as the system is flexible, allowing it to be tailored to the needs and worries of the family. A range of different sensors or devices can be used to track different areas of concern, for example, ‘Is my mum cold?’, ‘Is my dad eating?’ The ability to integrate with new devices and appliances from 3rings and other manufactures’ as they become available is key and shows how the internet of things can be used to create Things that Care®.

Steve Purdham, Chairman and Founder of 3rings comments,A key driver behind this development is that by 2020, 50 billion things will be connected to the Internet. By integrating with Amazon Echo it is an example on how technology can be used to enable 3rings to change the face of social care and provide a stronger safety net to help families know their loved ones are okay each day.

The UK population is getting older and many of our customers are in the ‘sandwich generation’ – balancing work commitments, with caring for older family members and looking after their own children – 3rings has the potential to help. Through this platform we want to stay ahead of the Internet of Things curve and demonstrate how technology can care.”

More than just giving peace of mind to families and loved ones, users have said how it has helped them to move beyond the everyday worries and have a better relationships with their relatives.

Beverly, a 3rings user, says, “3rings helps my sister hugely as she lives with Mum but works full time, and can work now without worrying. A wonderful example of how something so simple can have such a big impact.”

Steve, a 3rings user, says,One of the big things that mum really liked about the plug, and was key to her accepting it, was that it is very unobtrusive and doesn’t interrupt anything already in place.”

The business was inspired by the traditional three rings code used by families in the times before mobile phones. During its beta phase the 3rings cloud platform and smartphone app linked with an elderly loved one’s landline phone.  In 2015 this concept was replaced with the introduction of the 3rings smart plug.


For media enquiries and interviews contact: Lowry Jonathan ( or Laura Hedges ( 0207 403 2230.

Notes to Editors

About 3rings

3rings is a UK based company that develops technology to help families make sure ageing relatives they are OK. Rather than replacing real contact with loved ones – it is designed as an added ‘safety net’ and gives peace of mind. Connecting ageing relatives with Internet enabled family members using everyday appliances, the 3rings smart plug can instantly let the entire family know that mum, dad or grandparents, are up and making their usual morning cup of tea or have switched on the television. For more information:


About Steve Purdham

Steve Purdham, 3rings’ chairman and cofounder – Steve has built a number of businesses, including:

  • SurfControl plc – Internet security startup, which went on to employ more than 700 people in 14 countries. Sold for in excess of $400m to US competitor Websense.
  • Indentum Ltd – Email encryption spin out from the University of Bristol, which Steve rescued & sold to Trend Micro.  

We7 Ltd – cofounder investor of online music sharing service with Gareth Reakes, alongside former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel. 3 million users a month at its peak. Acquired for £10m+ by Tesco in 2012 and rebranded Blinkbox Music.

3rings is a driven by the team of Steve Purdham, Julie Purdham and Gareth Reakes.

1 – Later Life in the United Kingdom, Age UK (2017)

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