Hills hoist manufacturer moves into healthcare sensor systems

The Adelaide-based creator and maker of the iconic hills hoist clothesline is moving into sensors and electronics technology and has just entered an agreement to sell Lively into Australia.

According to The Australian Financial Revew, Hills Ltd is transforming its business and moving away from its old-world manufacturing origins to focus on healthcare technology, electronics and communications under chief executive Ted Pretty, a former Telstra executive.

For decades, the company was known for its height-adjustable rotary clothes line, manufactured in Adelaide.  Lance Hill began to manufacture the Hills rotary clothes hoist in his backyard in 1945.

Over the years, Hill Hoists expanded and entered new markets from television antennae to playground equipment. Today, with a market capitalisation of $420 million, it operates under the name, Hills Limited, and focuses on the delivery of technology to government, enterprise, business and the home.

Hills has just entered into an agreement to sell the Lively sensor system that enables people to keep tabs on their ageing relatives.

The product was developed by a group led by former Apple, Microsoft and eBay employees. A system of tiny sensors help far-flung relatives know whether their elderly loved ones take their pills on time or exit the house. The system enables people to receive data on their smartphones.

The technology will be sold through Hills existing network of 3000 installers of television antennae and security alarms across Australia. Retail channels will be set up in due course.

Hills currently has $300 million available for acquisitions and is on the lookout for targets in healthcare technology, electronics and communication.