Qualcomm’s Lifecomm: Reborn as mPERS service

By: Brian Dolan | May 13, 2010        

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LifecommQualcomm’s Lifecomm is back and it has taken the form of a mobile personal emergency response offering.

Hughes Telematics, Qualcomm, and American Medical Alert announced a joint venture to deliver mobile health services called Lifecomm. Lifecomm, an entity formed with cash and in-kind contributions by the parties, will operate as a majority-owned subsidiary of HTI and plans to launch a mobile Personal Emergency Response Service (PERS) focused on seniors and their caregivers in the United States in 2011. MobiHealthNews broke the story that Qualcomm’s plans for Lifecomm had been shuttered in July of last year. The announcement today that Hughes Telematics and the American Medical Alert Corporation planned to fund Lifecomm along with Qualcomm has resurrected the brand for the one-time MVNO.

So what’s new about the mPERS device the new Lifecomm is offering? Unlike legacy devices, the Lifecomm mobile PERS device will work whether the user is inside or far away from their home since it connects to a cellular network.

Lifecomm will use HTI’s back office architecture and call center network as the backbone of its service, the companies said in a press release. The mobile PERS solution will consist of a wearable lightweight device with one-touch access to an emergency assistance call center. Inside the device, a cellular modem, developed by Qualcomm, will enable wireless voice, data, and GPS that will enable location-based tracking and monitoring of the person wearing the device. Lifecomm’s personalized web portal for the user and/or caregiver will provide access to information about user activity and location.

Prior to the shuttering of Lifecomm last year, Mobihealthnews had previously reported on Lifecomm’s planned medallion offering, which had been described as a smart mobile PERS (Personal Emergency Response System) system. By adding cellular technology to the PERS, Lifecomm extends wireless coverage of the device both into and out of the home, versus legacy products that only have in-home coverage. Originally, the medallion included geo-location capabilities so caregivers could locate wearers should they become lost.

Lifecomm’s new majority owner, HTI currently is the exclusive provider of connected safety, convenience and location-based services to Mercedes-Benz mbrace customers, which is similar to OnStar’s services. Lifecomm will leverage HTI’s infrastructure, call center expertise and flexible technology platform. HTI will provide engineering, information technology and product development services for the subsidiary.

Qualcomm, in turn, is contributing expertise to the effort that was developed under its internal “Lifecomm” initiative and will provide further engineering services, technical resources and capital for the development of the mobile PERS solution, according to the press release. The mobile PERS device will utilize Qualcomm’s Wearable Mobile Device (WMD) module and wireless chipset technology that the company has demonstrated at numerous industry trade events during the past year.

For more on the new Lifecomm, read this press release

  • http://3gdoctor.wordpress.com David Doherty, 3G Doctor

    Hi Brian,

    I checked out the QC blog and website and can’t find anything on this:
    http://www.qualcomm.com/stories/tags/wireless-health

    Same with HT’s:
    http://www.hughestelematics.com/press/index.php

    Did you by any chance find anything here that we haven’t seen before? (eg. with Mondial Assist’s relationship with Orange in France: http://3gdoctor.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/thierry-zylberg-orange-health/)

  • http://mobihealthnews.com Brian Dolan

    Hi David,

    Not sure if QCOM, Hughes, etc. have updated their sites, but the press release hit the wires a few hours after the markets closed yesterday — around 8 PM EST.

    What’s new on the tech front: This mPERS device includes Qualcomm’s WMD chip — if you’ve seen that, it’s a really tiny mobile phone. This device competes with other PERS by offering a fully mobile (not just connected while at home) but also on the go (wherever cellular service is.) It also includes geolocation, which would come in handy on account of the mobility thing…

    What’s new about the service? Hard to say right now. It’s not launching until next year.

    But the Mondial-Orange offering looks similar. Big difference there is Mondial-Orange is a button on the user’s actual mobile phone. The new Lifecomm mPERS device does not function as a normal phone — only as an mPERS device. Mondial also looks to have a fuller suite of services wrapped around their offering.

    For what it’s worth, Hughes powers the “OnStar” like service for Mercedes Benz and they are taking the lead on this.

    Brian

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