SimplyHome Develops Voice-Activated Technology through VA Grant

Simply Home's Chief Development Officer, Jason Ray (far right), demonstrates new outcomes with the technology developed by  Simply Home.

SimplyHome's Chief Development Officer, Jason Ray (far right), demonstrates new outcomes with the technology developed by SimplyHome.

Assisted by voice-activated technology, a disabled Veteran works from home.

Assisted by voice-activated technology, a disabled Veteran works from home.

With the completion of a yearlong project to develop voice-activated sequences for enabling technology, SimplyHome will support new outcomes of residential independence, designed specifically for Veterans and Service members.

A Chance to Make a Difference

In 2016, SimplyHome was awarded at $200,000 grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop SimplyHome's Firefly-based technology, in order to increase Veterans’ and Service members’ ability to live independently in their own homes. The grant is part of the Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology (SAHAT) grant program, designed to expand home modifications options for Veterans.

With development funded by the VA’s SAHAT grant, the newly completed Firefly-based platform from SimplyHome simplifies the user experience of voice commands to control enabling technology in the home environment. Rather than being one-size-fits-all, the technology is designed to support the unique goals of each client. Veterans can issue single voice commands to accomplish complex sequences of pre-customized actions.

SimplyHome has partnered with our sister company, NuCadence, to found a non-profit, No Place Like Home, in order to make sure these solutions are fully accessible to Veterans and Service members. Veterans that have been identified by the VA as having IL (Independent Living) needs are automatically eligible for our assistive technology and funding through the No Place Like Home program.


How Technology Sets the Scene for Success: Steve's Story

After two tours in the Middle East and several combat-related injuries, Steve decided it was time to rejoin civilian life and hone new skillsets in the business technology world. Steve runs a small business out of his home and uses SimplyHome technology to set the scene for various times of day:

“Alexa, tell SimplyHome I’m up.”

Upon hearing these words from Steve, his SimplyHome Firefly(TM) system opens the door to his home office and turns on his lights and other appliances that Steve needs for the day. The SimplyHome system can also notify his wife Emily, who works the night shift at the hospital, that Steve has started his workday.

“Alexa, tell SimplyHome I’m leaving the house”

By saying this, Steve can turn off lights, appliances, and close and lock doors through voice commands. SimplyHome’s system design can adapt to include other devices that promote the security and safety of Steve’s home environment, especially since he runs his business out of his home.

“Alexa, tell SimplyHome I’m going to bed.”

Though Steve has limited mobility, he can use his voice to turn off or adjust any of the devices connected to his Firefly system. This voice command triggers a sequence that locks doors, turns off lights, and sets the thermostat for the evening.


Sample Outcomes:

Each individual Veteran will have their own goals for enabling technology, but here are some examples of outcomes that can be achieved using the SimplyHome technology:

  • Gain more control of the home environment through simple voice activation.

  • Increase independence and privacy, reducing the need for continuous caregiver presence.

  • Design the type of support they want to receive, with custom alerts or notifications.


Common Concerns:

SimplyHome technology can address these common concerns for Veterans:

  • Limited mobility due to artery/vein conditions, chronic fatigue, nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, amputations, or paralysis

  • Cooking safety problems due to lost sense of smell

  • Difficulties with memory or activities of daily life due to PTSD or TBI

  • Maintaining independence with loss of hearing or vision

  • Calling for help or assistance

  • Managing chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension


Learn More About SimplyHome's Commitment to Veterans


This article was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.