AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) Inc. has named a little-known Halifax home security startup as the winner of its first-ever Innovation Champion award.

The well-known Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit announced Wednesday that Halifax-based Home Except Inc., makers of a camera-free sensor that automatically monitors temperature fluctuations – be they generated by heaters, stoves, open windows, or people entering – inside whatever room they’re in, had been chosen as the grand prize recipient of its new award, aimed at recognizing tech-driven companies aligned with its core mission of helping Americans 50 years of age and older live as they choose.

Home Except won for its Smart Sensors for EXCEPTional Peace of Mind platform, which allows family members to monitor loved ones by using thermal sensors to track their movements. The sensors produce data that is immediately transferred to the company’s cloud platform and interpreted, near-instantaneously, by its AI platform into insights that are automatically delivered to users through the web, email, and instant messaging.

Reached by ITBusiness.ca, Home Except co-founder and CEO John Robertson called the award a “great validation” of his company’s work.

“It was a great validation of some of the technology that we’re working on,” he said. “We definitely appreciate the recognition and are honoured that they chose us.”

In a June 21 statement, AARP vice president of enterprise strategy and innovation Anne Marie Kilgallon noted that her organization received hundreds of submissions, and thanked applicants for their “impressive” work.

“The decision was not an easy one,” she said. “But in the end, our panel of judges agreed that Home Except Inc. best exemplified [our] mission.”

As the grand prize winner Home Except, which was established this year by Robertson and CTO Matt d’Entremont, will receive $10,000 USD, a trip for two representatives to Washington, D.C., a tour of AARP’s innovation lab, attendance and recognition at an AARP HQ event, and a paid advertisement in the Consumer Technology Association’s i3 magazine.

Submissions for the Innovation Champion award were evaluated against a range of criteria, including:

  • “Ageless Innovation”: How well it caters to all age groups;
  • Design: The extent to which it challenges the status quo in look, feel, user interface, user experience, durability, etc.;
  • Benefits: How much of a difference it makes in people’s lives;
  • Technology: Whether the entrant uses new technology, or existing technology in a new way;
  • Business Model: Whether the entrant takes a new approach to its revenue plan;
  • Safety: Whether the entrant provides enhanced safety compared to the competition.

Five other companies were selected as finalists in various categories, including San Francisco-based ride assistance firm SilverRide in the “Daily Essential Activities” category; South Korea-based Neofect Rehabilitation Solutions’ hand recovery device, the Rapael Smart Glove, in the “Caregiver Quality of Life” category; and Israel-based Intuition Robotics’ ElliQ, an AI-driven “active aging companion” that uses machine learning to adapt to and engage its owner using technology such as video chat and social media, in the “Social Well-being” category.

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