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Essence SmartCare Expands UK Operations: Interview with Yossi Graff

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In this interview with Yossi Graff, Director of Sales at Essence SmartCare, we delve into the significance of Essence SmartCare’s decision to establish a local hub in the UK, enabling the company to expand and streamline its operations while fostering closer connections with local stakeholders.

Can you tell us about Essence SmartCare and Care@Home Smart Alerting solution?

Essence SmartCare, a subsidiary of Essence Group, enables market-leading healthcare and senior care providers to offer smart proactive care and emergency response through IoT platforms for senior care and remote patient monitoring, ensuring seniors are able to live life to the fullest – with total peace of mind. We have been around for more than 30 years, with a huge deployment of more than 5 million households in 30 countries worldwide. Collaborating with Essence ensures our partners continuous growth through innovative, patient-centric care service, that considers both the person and the family’s needs, accompanied by the highest quality products and AI cloud services in the Care industry.

What is your role at Essence SmartCare?

I joined Essence about 8.5 years ago with more than 20 years of commercial experience in the global toys distribution markets. As Director of Sales, I have been successful in helping Essence attain the status as one of the top Tier-1 providers of Care platforms around Europe. In the recent years we have managed to partner with leading professional Care organizations such as the Swiss Red Cross (Switzerland), Deutsche Red Cross (Germany), municipalities of Madrid Communidad and Castillia y Leon (Spain), Presence Verte (France) and many local councils around the UK.

What are the company’s goals and values? 

Essence SmartCare has a unique DNA and set of values, and it is well known in the Care industry as the “new kid in the block”, leading the market with solutions that genuinely enhance the lives of seniors in their own homes. Our objective is to allow seniors to maintain their daily routines with minimal intervention and wearables discomfort, prioritizing their safety and health. Notably, Essence was the pioneer Care technology provider to introduce a true advanced proactive monitoring solution in 2014, offering real-time analytics of activities of daily living (ADL) through a secure, certified dispersed alarm system. We were also the first to integrate caregivers and social workers into our platform. Additionally, Essence led the global market by being the first to launch the LTE (4G) cellular hub in the USA, manufacturing over 1 million cellular hubs annually.

Why was decided to open a UK and Spanish entities?

As part of our growth and business plan, we decided to open local offices in Spain and in the UK. We have opened our Spanish company in 2015 after we recognized the maturity of the Spanish market to accept advanced Care technologies. Following a sustained period of activities and penetration into the local market, the UK offices and warehouse were opened during 2023 as part of our expansion plan. There were several main reasons that led to the decision to focus on the UK after Spain:

  1. We recognized that the penetration rate of dispersed Telecare alarm systems in the UK is the biggest in the world per capita. With more than 1.8 million systems that are spread across the UK, we identified a growing need for a full end-to-end digital platform and more advanced and high-quality solutions.
  2. The fact that about 45% of the seniors, aged 80+ live alone in their own home becomes a key factor to lead the shift from Reactive Care (dispersed alarms) to Proactive Care. I believe that in the 21stcentury the technology should work for the senior and not vice versa. Our parents deserve to have an advanced technology solution that keeps them safe and healthy the same way that many of us strive to have a better iPhone or smart watch.
  3. The caregiver problem. Lately we have conducted and published an interesting survey that included 400 participants from all across the UK. In the survey we have found out that 52% of British family caregivers are highly stressed about how well they take care of their parents, together with the fact that 38% of them mentioned that they are the only ones who look after them. These findings highlight the need for a better, connected care solution that involves the , in a diverse manner, reducing the burden, both economic and time consumption, for all involved parties and allowing to provide timely and efficient care.
  4. The retirement of the analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), and the introduction of an all-digital (or IP-based) arrangement (known as the A to D shift), have provided a boost to the transformation agenda for care services. This shift enables advanced services based on the 4G and upcoming 5G (LTE-M, CAT-M) networks, along with advanced and robust cloud-based AI services. Ultimately, this advancement should result in more effective independent living at a lower cost.
  5. The rapid ICS (Integrated Care Systems) expansion within the community was also an important factor in our decision due to our new combined solution of Health and Care monitoring, named VitalOn. The VitalOn platform is the most efficient tool nowadays to monitor a person that requires both RPM (remote patient monitoring) after hospital discharge or as Virtual Ward, together with their care and social needs.

What was the process of opening a local entity?

The process took us 2 years. Within this period, we had to make important decisions such as the location of our main distribution hub (which was eventually set to Heathrow), together with the office location, legal documents, and local accounting considerations.

We have expanded the recruitment of our local staff and added more sales and support positions together with admin personnel.

What capabilities do Essence and its customers gain in terms of service and efficiency by having an independent entity in the UK?

The UK entity enables Essence to be in closer proximity to its partners, offering enhanced support services. It also provides a valuable opportunity for direct contact with local councils (LA’s commissioners). The ability to listen to the commissioners’ needs and fulfill their wish lists gives me more confidence that we are able to provide better and more personalized support to the councils and ultimately help more seniors across the UK to .

On the operational side, we have been able to fulfill our orders more rapidly, and consequently our partners reap the benefits of dealing with a UK company rather than a foreign company. This surely simplified all processes and made life easier for all parties involved.

Overall, Essence SmartCare’s expansion and commitment to innovation position it as a key player in reshaping the landscape of senior care, offering solutions that prioritize safety, health, and the well-being of seniors in the UK and across the globe.

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