Even telecom giants can't resist the temptation to hop on the smart speaker bandwagon... or can they? CNBC sources say the news site's parent company, Comcast, is developing a smart speaker focused on health. You wouldn't use this to turn on the lights or perform other smart home tasks -- instead, it would use sensors to detect trips to the washroom, long sleeping hours and falls. You could also use it to make emergency calls. Comcast confirmed to Engadget that it's working on a device, but the company says the technology is solely a sensor to detect motion, not a gadget that's built to function as a smart speaker. Comcast also says there's no function for the device beyond health.
Comcast would pitch it to seniors, people with disabilities and others who have health concerns but want to remain independent. The cable giant has reportedly talked to multiple large hospitals about using the devices to reduce the chances of patients coming back.
As it is, you could be waiting a while before you see one. Test runs would start before the end of 2019, while the official release would have to wait until 2020 or later. There's no pricing at this stage.
Update 5/21/19 2:28PM ET: This post has been updated with info from Comcast, including details that the device isn't a smart speaker, but rather a motion sensor design solely to monitor health and wellbeing.