Most elderly don’t find their way to online services that are commonly used. Learning to work with certain interfaces in different Apps is a tremendous barrier. Consequently, this target demands simplicity and consistency, not info overload.
Smart home technologies have become more affordable and accessible to most, however the elderly are very under-represented among the majority of users. Yet it’s easy to imagine a fitness tracker, a smart socket, a fitness watch, all of them contributing to keeping older adults socially, physically, and mentally active.
That’s exactly what they want and need.
And that is the whole purpose of the Vizier project.
We were involved, alongside the University of Geneve, Dublin City University, and other partners associated with Assisted Living of elderly people, in the development of some of Vizier’s components. That’s a Proof of Concept of a platform that connects existing online services, off-the-shelf sensors, and devices to a user-friendly interface.
Our role was closely connected to the development of an intuitive, simple tablet interface, being this a key success factor in the acceptance and long-lasting use of this IT solution by the elderly.
The platform is the system’s brain that decides when to take action.
It processes input from home and personal sensors, and online applications, according to the user’s preferences, and triggers the action of the tablet.
Here are some examples:
Simple, yet very valuable.
The system is open and modular.
Ideally, Vizier would operate with the user’s tablet, a self-chosen companion (e.g.: speaker, robot, or, avatar), with a set of sensors and devices of his choice, connected to the email and social platforms of his preference.
Users’ feedback emphasized Vizier’s importance to be tailored to the clients’ needs, interests, and budget, with the possibility of being extended over time as new needs emerge. In our surveys, features like fall detection and bed sensors are typically rated as very useful.
To win users for Vizier, the App had to be highly desirable in the first place.
Features like audiobooks, recipes, music, and games are a must in the first version that went to market, targeting the younger generation of older adults. The focus was set on proving the concept and its key elements.
The Mobile App was developed in a hybrid environment, first deployed solely in Android, to be easily installed in the pilot testers, but allowing it to be deployed later in iOS or Web.
The following functionalities were developed:
Besides the App itself, LOAD was also involved in the backend, regarding users and services management and integration with the third parties involved (sensors, messaging platforms, etc).