CallGenie started as a project in early 2017 to provide a way for Graham, the founder of Smart Life Solutions, to make Skype video calls to his elderly mother, Jean, who suffered with dementia and mobility issues.


Jean wasn’t accustomed to using technology to communicate, which is the case with many elderly people. She could use a phone and the remote control for her television. But mobile phones and tablets were left in drawers, with no charge. Graham drew on his IT background, convinced that in amongst the emerging smart home technologies there would be a solution. However, he couldn't find anything that would automatically answer video calls and display them on a television without some sort of interaction being required. So the CallGenie journey began.


Graham decided early on that his mother’s television was going to be the display and speakers for CallGenie. Like a significant number of elderly and disabled people, Jean spent a large portion of her day sitting in front of her television.

CallGenie – Simple Video Calling for the Elderly & Disabled


The main components of CallGenie started to come together, an inexpensive Mini PC, a webcam and Skype. The next thing to do was to find a way to control the television from the Mini PC. After experimenting with a number of smart home solutions, including the Logitech Harmony Hub, Graham integrated HDMI-CEC into CallGenie.This was a game changer as HDMI-CEC enables CallGenie to know what state the television is in before a call. It also means that CallGenie can return the television to its original state after a call. This is key, for an elderly person, who might struggle to understand that they needed to switch inputs on their televisions.


The CallGenie Appliance


CallGenie finally became a product in the summer of 2019 and we took on our first customers in the United Kingdom and Norway. Initially, we shipped a Harmony Hub with CallGenie as the solution for sending infrared commands to a television that didn’t respond to certain HDMI-CEC commands. The Harmony Hub was replaced by the Flirc USB IR Receiver later in 2019 and that is now shipped with all our appliances.


Interest in CallGenie increased exponentially in March 2020 at the start of the Covid 19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. The business has continued to grow from there and we have expanded sales of pre-configured appliances to Europe and North America (USA & Canada). Outside of these territories we sell CallGenie Software and support customers to build their own video calling systems. 


CallGenie has truly gone global. Customers have currently installed systems in 31 countries around the world (Asia, North America, South America, Europe & Australia) for elderly and disabled relatives living in their own homes as well as in care homes.


The CallGenie Team


Everyone involved with CallGenie, including staff and associates, has real experience of supporting a relative with a cognitive or physical disability. We understand what our customers are going through supporting their elderly and disabled loved ones.


We currently have a distributed team of people in the UK (supporting our customers in UK, Europe, Asia and Australia) and a similiar team at our US distributor (supporting customers in the US and Canada).


We would love to hear from people who share our values and feel they could contribute to our business. You might be interested in starting a distributor business in your country or you might simply be looking to use your technical or business skills to help others caring for their loved ones.