KOCHI: In 2014, while working as a data scientist in Sweden, Venunath V witnessed how technology intervened in a medical emergency to save the life of an elderly woman. “I was staying with the woman. During a medical emergency, I saw her press a key, which activated emergency response. Within a matter of minutes, an ambulance with a doctor and nurse arrived to assist her,” he remembers.
For Venunath, the incident sowed the seeds of an idea to introduce similar products in Kerala, which is on the cusp of a demographic crisis with a fast-ageing population. “I had an idea to introduce a similar smart-care system in Kerala, where many senior citizens live alone,” he said.
In 2020, Venunath joined hands with his friend Arun Nair to launch Ansfrid SmartCare Pvt Ltd, with the mission to ensure minimal to no dependence for the elderly and disabled community. “The startup was launched after five years of discussions with experts, and research & development,” says Venunath. Ansfrid signed up Anil Nair, chief technology officer at Lifelink Systems, as mentor and Dr Praveen G Pai as medical adviser.
In three years, the company has launched at least half a dozen products, which include a fall detector. Worn on the wrist, the ‘Vibby fall detector’ detects sudden and hard falls and is useful for the disabled, the elderly, ones with limited mobility and also those with long-term health issues such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.
Another product is the heat alarm: a wireless, indoor sensor that issues early warning of potential fire. The heat alarm is easily fitted onto the ceiling and raises an alarm if ambient temperature touches 58°C. ‘MyAmie’, a small lightweight pendant, helps elders enjoy the outdoors with the assurance that the push of a button will bring help.
Co-founder Arun says that in a state like Kerala, where the senior population is rising, safety devices are vital. “In our state, many elderly parents reside alone. Their safety can be ensured by such equipment. The social cause behind the company attracted me,” he said.
“We wanted the devices to be cost-effective and user-friendly. We charge users `100 a day, and the equipment is a one-time purchase that varies in price. We provide two-year warranty for our products,” added Arun. Apart from safety alerts, the system also provides companion call. Through this, people can connect to call-care managers.
Many friends and relatives were against me leaving a good job in Sweden to launch a startup in Kerala, says Venunath. “But I was aware of the significance,” he adds.