Digital Innovation for Sustainable Living
As more and more people live further into old age there are intensifying challenges in meeting the housing and support needs of an ageing population. At the EFL General Assembly in Ghent last November a new project was launched to research and show how new data integration techniques and technology can play their part in closing the gap between the rapidly increasing demand and the reducing human resources in future years. While the proportion of the population of retirement age is projected to increase substantially the number of people of working age will reduce; in essence more and more people will need to be cared for by fewer and fewer support workers. Technology, inventive use of data and a new approach by housing providers will need to help take the strain!
Mike Ward of Mojo Advisory services, and Glenn Allum of 565 Consulting has been reaching out to secure engagement at the initial research phase. A number of organisation have already signed up to contribute to the work; Deutche Wohnen, Eigen Haard, and Vilogia are among the housing providers keen to work alongside universities to explore key aspects and questions. How can ‘big data’ be harnessed to help older people maintain their independence? How can integrated housing and care work to the benefit of tenants and housing companies alike? What are the secrets to user acceptance; what technology would be welcomed into people’s homes and daily lives and what might be just a bit too ‘weird’?
There are already some exciting and important insights. For example, inexpensive products have already been proven to save customers and housing companies money on heating and housing management costs and the data provided by ‘automatic’ monitoring systems has highlighted acute cases of ‘fuel poverty’. The data has shown housing companies that individual customers are having trouble in affording to heat their homes – insight that they would never have had without the data feed from the monitoring equipment.
Building on the work of the earlier i-stay@home project, ‘Digital Innovation’ is turning over exciting new ground. More and more we are finding that the ‘people’ aspects are every bit as important as the brilliant engineering that is pushing the boundaries of what is possible. We would encourage anyone interested in meeting the challenges of an ageing population to get in touch. Let’s see how we can add value by working and learning together.