Category: Press Release

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.

Ends.

For media enquiries and interviews contact: Lowry Jonathan (Lowry@forster.co.uk) or Laura Hedges (Laura@forster.co.uk) 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: www.3rings.co.uk

 

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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Sheffield charities to benefit from cutting-edge care technology

Sheffield-based Westfield Health is supporting two local charities by helping them access the latest smart technology for healthcare.

St Luke’s and Age UK Sheffield have bought 40 of the health and wellbeing company’s 3rings plugs – a smartplug designed to help families with elderly or vulnerable relatives living independently at home.

The Westfield Health-backed 3rings smartplug connects household appliances, like a kettle or TV, with a messaging service to provide updates about routine use or it alerts family when there could be a problem.

Executive Director David Capper, who is responsible for Westfield Health’s support of 3rings, said:

“The 3rings plug provides reassurance and peace of mind to those who are caring for elderly or ill loved ones.”

“We’re really proud to be supporting the rollout of the 3rings technology across Sheffield and South Yorkshire, and joining with St Luke’s and Age UK Sheffield is an ideal fit for this. ”

“Both St Luke’s and Age UK Sheffield work with people for whom independent living is extremely difficult, especially when accompanied by serious health conditions and frailty. The 3rings plug, which was recently featured as a customer tip on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show, provides an extra layer of support and assurance, helping more people to live independently in their own homes.”

“Westfield Health has been strong supporter of St Luke’s and Age UK Sheffield for a long time and we’re delighted that we can help these charities with this cutting-edge technology.”

St Luke’s Chief Executive, Peter Hartland, said:

“The 3rings system is very simple and that is why it can be really effective. We’re excited to be working with our colleagues at Age UK Sheffield, making this product available to some of our patients, clients and families on a 12 month trial, from which we will learn how it can be used most effectively in different situations.”

Peter added

“We’re delighted to continue an excellent working relationship with Westfield Health and we look forward to sharing in this, and future technological developments, for the benefit of people in Sheffield.”

To find out more about Westfield Health’s harder working health cover, visit westfieldhealth.com or westfieldhealth.com/blog

Photo caption: David Capper, Westfield Health and Peter Hartland, St Luke’s
 

David Capper, Westfield Health and Peter Hartland, St Luke'sDavid Capper and Peter Hartland

Westfield Health plugs in to caring tech with 3rings investment

Westfield Health plugs in to caring tech with 3rings investment

One of Britain’s longest established health insurers has invested in 3rings – the caring tech start-up showcased by serial entrepreneur Steve Purdham on Dragons’ Den.

The not-for-profit health insurance company is the first strategic investor in 3rings and is supporting the commercial rollout of the 3rings technology, which is designed to help families who have older relatives living alone.

Westfield Health will offer the 3rings ‘Internet of Things’ smart plug and cloud service to existing and new customers – providing a platform for current and future innovation.

3rings first caught the attention of the Westfield Health team when tech entrepreneur founder, Steve Purdham, appeared on BBC’s Dragons’ Den alongside his 84-year-old mum Iris.

In this seed round, Westfield Health, a provider of healthcare policies in the UK since 1919, has invested more than double the funding 3rings had hoped to raise in the Den. The TV Dragons had been asked to invest £300,000 in exchange for a 10 per cent share.

Since launching the ‘Penny in the pound’ health scheme almost a century ago, Westfield Health has evolved to cater for its changing customer landscape and plans to incorporate the 3rings product into future service offerings of its own.

David Capper, Commercial Director at Westfield Health, said: “We immediately saw the potential in the 3rings concept and it sits well with our long-term innovation plans.

“There is an emerging market for smart technology to support health, wellbeing and family care. 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 technology has the potential to help.

“This is our first major external investment of this type. As well as assisting us in broadening our service portfolio it supports our ethos of helping people at every stage of their lives.”

With a consumer launch in April 2015, the 3rings smartplug connects household appliances, like a kettle or TV, with a cloud messaging platform to provide reassuring updates about routine use and alerts family when there could be a problem via a smartphone app, email, text or automated calls.

Steve Purdham, 3rings co-founder said: “Our partnership with Westfield Health goes beyond the financial investment and we will be working together on innovative product development and distribution to take 3rings and family social care to its next phase.

“The ‘Internet of Things’ offers tremendous opportunities to help our ageing population to stay independent for longer and reduce the pressure on families. Within the next five years 50 billion objects will be connected to the Internet and while technology should never replace real contact with family members, it can have an immense supporting role.

“3rings shows how smart technology can perform in a caring context and translates data into meaningful information for families. The 3rings cloud-messaging portal is fundamental to our on-going development and has the ability to collect data from a wide-range of internet-connected devices in the future.”

www.3rings.co.uk


For media enquiries and interviews contact:

Kate Jones (kate@weareic.com) 0161 212 1610/ 07966 829143
or Simon Donohue (simon@weareic.com) 0161 826 9238


Notes to Editors

 

About Westfield Health

Westfield Health is one of the UK’s leading not for profit health insurance providers, regulated by the FSA.

Established in 1919, Westfield Health has more than 400,000 policyholders throughout the UK, and approximately 9,000 organisations nationally operate a Westfield Health plan for their employees.

A multi award-winning provider, the Sheffield-based company offers a range of flexible and innovative healthcare plans.

In 2012, Westfield Health introduced Hospital Treatment Insurance (HTI) to the market – an innovative product offering prompt access to fixed price private treatment packages for a wide range of surgical and medical procedures.

In the years that have followed, Westfield Health has continued to enhance its range of plans to offer a more holistic approach than ever before. This included the addition of two new benefits at no extra cost to premiums – the expert second medical opinion service, Best Doctors, and the online retail discount facility, Westfield Rewards.

Westfield Health was the first health cash plan provider to incorporate an employee assistance programme as standard in its corporate plans. Cover starts from just £1 per employee, per week.

Through the Westfield Health Charitable Fund, the organisation supports communities across the UK and over the past 20 years the company has donated millions of pounds.

For more information, visit www.westfieldhealth.com or follow us on Twitter – @westfieldhealth

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.

The business was inspired by the traditional three rings code used by families in the times before mobile phones. Its core product is the 3rings smart plug and cloud-based platform, which connects ageing relatives with Internet enabled family members using everyday appliances, like a TV, kettle of toaster. 3rings 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 TV.

The 3rings smartplug has inbuilt mobile technology, so elderly relatives don’t need their own Internet connection. Based on individual family rules, messages and alerts are sent to family members by smartphone app, email, text or automated calls.

See how it works here: www.3rings.co.uk

The founding 3rings team consists of Steve Purdham, Gareth Reakes and Julie Purdham.

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

  • SurfControl plc – Internet security start-up, 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 – co-founder 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.

Steve has won many prestigious business awards and was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of Teesside, of which he is a former computing student.

Gareth Reakes, 3rings’ CTO and co-founder – Gareth is the technical genius behind the 3rings technology and has also previously built companies in the tech space.

  • We7 Ltd – co-founder and chief technical officer of the online music sharing service, which was sold to Tesco in 2012 and rebranded Blinkbox.
  • Gareth was since appointed Technology Director at Tesco PLC.

Gareth studied computing science at Oxford Brooks University and has been a member of the advisory panel for the software engineering at Oxford University.

Julie Purdham, CFO and co-founder – Julie has always been the voice of reason and strength behind Steve in all his ventures and took active operational roles in the formative years in each business.

In SurfControl PLC , 1997 to 2007 Julie helped manage the early global operational requirements from the UK before focusing upon one of the acquired subsidiaries, CyberPatrol, a child Internet safety business.

In 2000, Julie was the instigator within SurfControl, of a unique service called Chat Monitor on behalf of Manchester Police to detect and identify potential paedophiles on the Internet. This led to two high profile National Police campaigns ‘Project Magenta’ and ‘Project Appall’

Again in WE7, Julie helped develop and manage the essential Business processes of administration, forecasting and budgetary control, as the company went through its hyper growth phase.

Prior to working directly with Steve, Julie worked for The CWS (Co-operative Wholesale Society) – Manchester for 20 years, working initially in Ambient Food Distribution, with accounting and administration responsibility for a distribution centre with a throughput of £150m and a team of 20.