back to article O2 pulls plug on OAP-monitoring service

O2 has shut down its foray into health monitoring, quietly dropping Help at Hand and Health at Home and offering refunds to the few who had signed up to the services. Health at Home was only launched a few months ago, in March. It was supposed to be a direct-to-consumer counterpart to Help at Hand, the professional service which …

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Devil

They were never going to turn a handsome profit on this venture - they surely would have thought that in their project planning. Yet, instead of providing a altruistic community service the bean counters deem it unprofitable and can it. Nice.

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Apart from poor publicity, it was also extremely expensive. (£20+/month plus calls)

Now, it could be argued that price shouldn't be a factor when looking after one's parents, however we've managed for hundreds of centuries* up to now, so the £10 top up once a year on my Mum's PAYG is OK in comparison to £240. Even still, as the article suggested, it sits on the sideboard.

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Mushroom

* hundreds of centuries since I'm fairly sure the universe and man are more than 9,000 years old.

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Nice Idea bad implementation

£20 a month ?

No Advertising

little Idiot buttons, they are old not toddlers.

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Re: Nice Idea bad implementation

Why bother with hardware buttons, when an Android skin could provide the same functions in software.

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Re: Nice Idea bad implementation

Because it would have a battery life of about 45 minutes and crash suddenly when the customer falls over.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nice Idea bad implementation

"little Idiot buttons, they are old not toddlers."

"Why bother with hardware buttons, when an Android skin could provide the same functions in software."

1: If your blind/partially sighted or have limited finger dexterity, touchscreens are a right annoyance and hardware buttons are much easier

2: As mentioned, touchscreens eat battery

3: Touchscreens aren't as robust as buttons if it's dropped etc.

4: Simplicity is the key.

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This is a great shame

The failure of O2 will be seen as a reason for other players to not engage in the seniors market. I'd agree with Chris Millington's view on positioning and I'm using Doro phones for my service, however I'd say that there is scope for what O2 was offering it's just that they didn't tell people about it.

Not even their own staff.

Call the standard O2 telesales and they have never heard of it. It's the same story at retail. I mystery shopped a number of O2 stores. Say "what can you recommend for my fail mum" and they wouldn't suggest "help at hand". Ask about it by name and they would say "what's that then", with some prompting and an explanation that it was an O2 emergency button service they would look it up on the Intranet and find that it not only existed, but they had handsets in stock at which point they would disappear into the store room and emerge with one.

I recommended it to a friend I bumped into on the tube this morning - for his son who has a nut allergy - this friend is an industry veteran and very much has his finger on the pulse, and yet he had never heard of it.

While Chris is right that you need to sell something which is desirable rather than sell on fear, you need to actually promote whatever you sell to shift any stock.

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Coat

Re: This is a great shame

"what can you recommend for my fail mum"

That's a harsh description for the woman who brought you into this world! What did the sales monkey suggest? Euthanasia?

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Re: This is a great shame

Sorry, typo. "frail"

Simon

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Joke

"blames the conservative UK market"

Sod blaming the market - just blame the Conservatives instead! They do seem to mess a lot of stuff up at the moment so it likely is their fault in some way! I don't think ill and older people can afford to eat any-more let alone buy "falling-down-the-stairs-detector-phones" so yeah it is their bloody fault!

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Pint

Re: "blames the conservative UK market"

Yeah!

What he said. Down with this sort of stuff!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "blames the conservative UK market"

The 'conservative UK market' does not equal the Conservatives (political party) - but I hope you knew that.

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Happy

Re: "blames the conservative UK market"

Well I knew that - it was a joke hence the joke icon - unless you mean the other person - I don't know if they knew that though - I'm confused now, bloody conservatives fault that is!

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Frustratingly nearly there

Would have loved this device to work for my mother in law. But it was too small, too fiddly, difficult to charge (needs cradle or powermat, rather than a difficult micro USB lead), screen difficult to see... Designed by an engineer or someone in perfect health. Needed a Senior Citizen who actually needs the device to be involved in the design process and customer journey...

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Meh

designs so wrong

Considering that manufactures of DECT and Mobile phones are still getting the designs so wrong for older and disabled people, this never had a chance of working.

Basic stuff they get wrong for people with parkinsons, memory problems and deaf:

1) Automatic answer and put on speaker phone at loudest volume. Why this cant be done staggers me.

2) Speak time and DATE every 30 minutes during the daytime for people that have memory problems

No point on having gps stuff if the person cant remember to pick up the phone. Much better to have camera tracking in the home to check against falls.

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Anonymous Coward

Used to work for the company so posting anon ...

A week or so after this service was launched I heard that someone looked at some stats and questioned why the usage figures were at zero. The response was along the lines of no one had bought it yet! Help at Hand was one of the key initiatives (among several, Priority Moments for example seems to be a success) of transforming O2 into a services provider rather than just a bit-pipe provider. Something that all the mobile phone operators in the world are rather concerned about.

Just one more question; from experience, how well does GPS work indoors?

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Flame

Very well hidden

I have several times in the last couple of years looked for something like this for my mother-in-law - and I have never heard of the O2 service. She pays £17 a month for a landline based service, doesn't work outside her flat, can't be taken into a shower, and is useless if she has a fall and is unconscious.

A smartphone should be easily convertible - movement sensor to detect falls, GPS to know where she is when it calls for help - and the ability to ask if she is OK and has just dropped the phone, or needs help.

It does need to be easily charged (no fiddly micro USB, it needs a strong rigid waterproof protective case, and it needs a simplified screen display, imitating a button operated phone.

I'm no programmer, but surely it can't be too difficult?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Very well hidden

And needs to run 24x7 and meet 98 different medical device standards - most of which seem to assume the device is being used in an operating theatre and a North Sea oil rig at the same time.

And you can't use any off the shelf software component unless they supplier is ISO99999999999 certified and you inspect them and accept any liability ..... etc .... etc ....

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