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 (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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Smart Ageing – Are 3rings enough to know if Mum is OK?

There is a lot to like about 3rings and I have no reservations in recommending it as a simple but effective monitor to check that a normally active loved one is up and about.  It requires no special infrastructure, works very well for loved ones and carers and is a very cost-effective safety net for anyone living alone.


Smart Ageing

One Year on with 3rings Plug

It’s 11.00am. This is the time we have set up the 3rings Plug connected to my elderly mother’s kettle a year ago to send me an updated alert every day. The reassuring message on my Smart Phone tells me mum is up and about and has made her first drink of the day. I will as always, speak to her during the day, but right now it’s telling me that “All’s OK” with mum. No need to worry.

My mum is now “21, four times over” – she’s just had her 84th birthday! She is still very active, drives everywhere, is out every day, never turns down an invitation to go out somewhere and is determined to live life to the full for as long as she is able to. This is such a great attitude, but it also creates worry – what if she falls, what is she breaks down on the motorway – what if, what if?

Over the past 12 months I’ve got used to receiving this daily message from 3rings Plug. It’s reassuring for me, but as mum told me, and more importantly, it’s also very reassuring for her. Because mum knows that by 11.00am if she has not got out of bed and made a cuppa (which is her usual routine), without needing to do anything, I will know about it right away. In fact, on the few occasions when we’ve got the alert that mum had not used the kettle by 11.00, within five minutes either myself or one of my sisters had made contact with her. Thankfully each time, there’s been no problem – mainly mum having a lie in recovering from her social life!

As a franchise owner in the Home Instead Senior Care network, I am fully aware of the challenges older people face and the impact of these on family members and others. Almost all older people would wish to remain at home given the choice, and it’s the combination of factors that can make the “promise of home” a reality. These may include a supportive family, access to health care, and the support of other agencies and organisations like Home Instead.

Technology also plays an increasingly significant role. The 3rings Plug is taking a really simple “let the phone ring 3 times” concept and uses technology to deliver this reassurance to the family every day. It’s simple but so effective, and mum needs do nothing other than switch on her kettle as usual. A great proof statement for me is that a few days ago (due to a problem with my phone and partly my fault!) the system didn’t work for two days. It was an anxious time. It just reminded me how much reassurance I receive from using the 3rings Plug.

Engadget – 6 Health Startups to Improve The Lives of Seniors in 2017

What’s really interesting is the technology behind all of this. Many in home devices similar to this rely on either a wifi connection or the home having a landline. In this case, the device itself is essentially a modified mobile phone. This means that it requires no additional infrastructure be available at the senior’s home.