Insights: Smoking chimneys and boiling kettles

Simple and familiar ways of knowing that all's well

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Jonathan Burr Photo

We are working hard on Howz and today we have added new material to the website.   In the weeks running up to the launch I will be updating regularly on our progress and explaining the thinking behind the product design.

At the heart of Howz is the idea that we have a daily routine. As we go about this – getting up, having breakfast, going out – we use everyday objects. Many of these – showers, kettles, ovens, toasters – use electricity. By measuring this use we can quickly build up a picture of what’s normal and what’s not. When the person in the home is a frail elderly person we can let the family know that things are not quite right and may need investigating. It’s the modern equivalent of the chimney in a row of terraces that’s not smoking or milk bottles that haven’t been taken in.