OnKöl nominated for Mobile World Congress award

Global Mobile Awards to be held in Barcelona, Spain in late February

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The Milwaukee-based startup OnKöl has been nominated for an international award given out by the Mobile World Congress that recognizes a company that has pioneered innovation in health care using mobile technology.

OnKöl's monitoring device.
OnKöl’s monitoring device.

OnKöl is based out of the Direct Supply Technology Center at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. The company began mass producing its flagship product, the OnKöl hub, in early 2016.

The device links a variety of home and health monitoring sensors to data platforms using mobile networks so that the monitoring data can be accessed by both health care professionals and the family members of people who own them.

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“We’re excited that we’re in the mix for that,” OnKöl chief executive officer Erich Jacobs said of the award nomination.

The award, called the Innovation in Health award in the event’s Connected Life category, is one of 39 that will be given out during the annual Global Mobile Awards put on by the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Spain. This year’s ceremony will take place Feb. 28.

Erich Jacobs.
Erich Jacobs.

The OnKöl hub was designed specifically to help doctors, nurses and family members better monitor the health and activity of the aging and elderly. It can accommodate many different technologies. Devices that use blue tooth, WiFi, Zigbee, sub gigahertz wireless, USB and landline technology can all connect to the hub and relay data from things such as propane tank monitors, garage door openers and blood pressure monitors via cellular technology to data platforms used by medical professionals or family members.

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OnKöl hub owners are charged a monthly fee for cellular access. The startup is contracted to piggy-back off the cell towers of multiple carriers.

“If mom takes her blood pressure, both the doctor and family members can have access to that information,” through the device, Jacobs said. “That’s critically important because of the major demographic shifts that are happening. Right now, the ratio of caregivers to elderly is 7-1. In the coming decades, that’s going to drop to 4-1, and even further to 3-1.”

Jacobs said he felt the growing number of elderly people living in the United States, combined with the conclusions of multiple studies released in recent years that point to a looming physician shortage, is going to push the senior living community toward finding technology-based solutions to provide more efficient care.

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“There’s no way you’re going to support the elderly if you don’t have technological change,” he said.

This is not the first time OnKöl has been nominated for a major award. The company won top honors at the 2016 Edison Awards in New York City in the Safety & Health Monitoring category.

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