Nortek Grows mPERS Business With Numera Acquisition

Nortek Security & Control, the PERS provider featured in Life Alert commercials, has acquired Numera, maker of cellular-enabled health and wellness systems including fall detection and telehealth.

But Numera also brings new channels to Nortek’s existing PERS business, namely, telco operators and medical call centers.

Twenty of the top call centers have integrated Numera technology into their ecosystem, according to Smokoff, who adds that some of these providers white-label the devices and services under their own brands for sale to consumers direct or authorized dealers.

Medical Guardian, for example, sells Numera under the Guardian brand – Guardian Classic, Home, Mobile and Premium.

Numera also has relationships with telcos that wrap their own brands around the products and services.

AT&T, Numera’s first big white-label telco customer, launched a service called EverThere in 2013, the early days of Numera. Smokoff says AT&T had planned a huge and costly consumer marketing campaign back then, but after a few weeks the telco pulled back on the advertising budget.

Smokoff explains that AT&T continues to sell EverThere through its health-enterprise business, but not through retail.

More recently, Numera has signed with two major communications companies that will sell its products and services through storefronts, health enterprises and dealer networks, Smokoff says.

Numera slowly is becoming a preferred provider discharge management, according to Smokoff. Under the Affordable Care Act, healthcare providers are incentivized to better manage patient care after hospital admissions to minimize re-admissions.

Smokoff says Numera has “seen a definite uptick” in business lately because a universal focus on after-care for patients, after years of virtually no reimbursement from insurance companies and healthcare providers.

“People are now allocating budgets not just for pilots, but for full-blown commercial programs,” Smokoff says.

These Numera relationships in the healthcare community are all fairly new to Nortek’s PERS business. Nortek (the group formerly known as Linear) has focused primarily on the security channel, which now can deliver next-gen solutions to their customers.

Nortek also has sway with the big home automation ShaaS (smart home as a service) providers, Alarm.com (Nasdaq: ALRM) and Icontrol.

Both Nortek and Numera are hopeful that these platform providers will incorporate the new health services into their offerings, via cloud-to-cloud communications. (Alarm.com already offers an aging-in-place service called BeClose, via a recent acquisition, but all accounts suggest that Alarm.com has not been active in the category.)

Once cloud integration is enabled, it is a short leap to integrating health services with Nortek’s 2Gig and other security and home automation platforms from the likes of Interlogix (UTC), DSC (Tyco), Napco and Qolsys. We could imagine a scenario, for example, in which the automation system unlocks the doors, disarms the security system and turns on the lights upon an emergency medical event.

The mPERS and Telehealth Landscape

In acquiring Numera, Nortek now has the tools to compete with emerging players in the category, such as Honeywell Life Care Solutions (LifeStream) and ADT Health.

Honeywell, already a provider of traditional PERS systems, announced at CES 2015 a new solution called Seymour, to “provide the capability to bring the currently disparate data-centric worlds of both healthcare providers and consumers together – in one platform,” according to a January press release. “Seymour addresses the needs of both consumers and healthcare providers to aggregate and securely exchange meaningful health-related data – from biometric information to data from consumer devices and applications such as fitness activity trackers – and help make it actionable. In addition, it simultaneously provides the platform for healthcare professionals to distribute care plans to consumers outside the provider setting.”

For its part, ADT began partnering with PERS and health monitoring providers in 2013 to add health-and-wellness solutions to its ADT Pulse security and home automation ecosystem. ADT works with MobileHelp, a direct Numera competitor, as well as Ideal Life for telehealth products.

About the Author

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Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration.

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