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Are standards that underpin products and services suitable for older people?

Posted in News

That is one of the central questions that PROGRESSIVE addresses!

Standards facilitate everyday life, yet for many people, standards are not the most exciting topic nor something they think they can or should get involved in. However, standards and standardisation help ensure that products and services are appropriate, safe, secure, usable, accessible, manageable and interoperable. They are also high on the European agenda.

The PROGRESSIVE project is encouraging a new way of thinking about standards for digital products and services that can support active and healthy ageing. This ‘new way’ builds on the diversity of older people’s views and experiences and looks at how standards can be developed and used to improve accessibility, usability and security of related products and services in a context of ageing societies.

This also means actively involving older people in the standardisation process and obtaining their views and learning from their experience and from the challenges they may encounter when using certain products, or accessing certain services.

PROGRESSIVE promotes this through its co-production guide which encourages standards bodies and technical committees to make sure the views of older people are taken into account when adapting existing standards or developing new ones. The guide also provides specific methodologies to do so.

We will be actively engaging with a wide range of stakeholders in the following months through a series of workshops and events, in which these aims will be discussed and taken forward.

First up is the AAL (Active & Assisted Living) Forum in Bilbao on 24-26 September. PROGRESSIVE hosts a workshop at the Forum on “Joining up age-friendly smart homes and smart communities: Voices in standardisation” where we bring together an audience of older people (through our PROGRESSIVE Task Force of older people representatives), care organisations, technology developers and regional authorities to look at which solutions exist, which solutions are needed, and how standards can help to make sure products and services are suitable for use by older people.

At the end of October, PROGRESSIVE organizes a first meeting of the newly established STAIR-AHA. A STAIR is an instrument of CEN/CENELEC (i.e. the European Standards Organisations) that brings together standardisers, researchers and innovators in order to discuss and identify standardisation needs and opportunities for a specific area of concern. The STAIR-AHA is obviously specifically focused on standards for products and services that can support Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA) and that take account of older people’s expectations, preferences and needs. The STAIR-AHA meeting will initiate and promote discussion and dialogue on the need for user co-production processes in standardisation, and on the identification of gaps and new needs in this field. It takes place on October 31st in Berlin.

Since the construction industry and built environment are an important stakeholder in the field of Active and Healthy Ageing, PROGRESSIVE will be represented through its partner AGE Platform Europe at the annual ECTP conference on 13-14 November in Brussels on the theme of “When EU Construction industry shapes high-tech Sustainable Built Environment”. ETCP is the “European Construction, built environment and energy efficient building Technology Platform”. AGE has been invited to report on PROGRESSIVE in a thematic session on “Building an Age-Friendly Europe”.

And finally, at the ICT 2018 event (4-6 December) in Vienna, PROGRESSIVE organises a workshop on “Smart and Age-Friendly Communities: Making Standards Count for Older People”. The annual European “ICT” conference focuses on the European Union’s priorities in the digital transformation of society and industry and is an ideal opportunity to encourage national and regional policy makers, as well as a range of other stakeholders, to support PROGRESSIVE’s work on building a more inclusive standardisation process.

If you are interested in attending any of the above events (or if you will already be there for sure), contact us at info@progressivestandards.org and we will be glad to provide more information or to set up a meeting with you. If you want more information on our co-production guide, contact us as well.

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