Telecom's digital innovation arm will invest as much as as $5 million in Vigil, the medical monitoring startup founded by social entrepreneur Sir Ray Avery.
The company designs and makes hardware, software and cloud platforms for continuous biometric monitoring of patients and an alerting system for those at risk of clinical deterioration.
Vigil is responding to the growing worldwide challenges of ageing populations, obesity and long-term health problems, says Avery. "New health delivery models using digital technologies are needed to address worsening macro health-trends and help reduce healthcare costs. Technology is the key to unlocking those new models of care.
"For example, Vigil offers an intelligent medical alarm using a bracelet and base station that will raise an alarm automatically if an adverse event such as a fall or change in heart rate is detected. Smart technologies such as this will enable more effective methods of medical monitoring."
Vigil is targeting parents wanting baby monitoring, patients with long-term illnesses, people who need medical alarms, health professionals wanting to monitor patients and others who need to monitor their own health.
It already works with St John, where its response and biometric technology will be trialled early next year, and with Plunket, which is helping develop Vigil's biometric baby monitoring applications.
Vigil is also seeking other partnerships in the health sector and Telecom Digital Ventures chief executive Rod Snodgrass sees significant growth potential.
"The demand for smarter remote health monitoring systems will only grow as the population ages," he says. "Vigil offers medical monitoring solutions with many potential applications and with global potential. "Vigil has market-leading digital technologies that run across telecommunications networks and the cloud - areas where Telecom has obvious strengths."