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PROGRESSIVE at AAL Forum 2018: Joining up age-friendly smart homes and smart communities – Voices in standardisation

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PROGRESSIVE presented at workshop at the recent AAL Forum 2018, held in Bilbao, Spain. The workshop – on the topic of “Joining up age-friendly smart homes and smart communities – Voices in standardisation” – aimed at letting participants define the characteristics of products, technologies and services in smart homes and smart communities that address the preferences of older users; seeing how current AAL and smart home solutions address these issues; understanding the role and importance of standardisation for AAL to market; identifying areas where there is a need for (more or better) standards for these products, technologies and services (or the way they interact), with the ultimate aim of feeding this information and these insights back to national standards bodies and organisations by preparing policy messages.

Frederic Lievens (Lievens-Lanckman & Telehealth Quality Group) provided an introduction to the workshop and to the PROGRESSIVE project. He pointed out the importance of standards and the involvement of users (older persons) in the standardisation process. Providing examples of some specific use cases, Stephan Schug (EHTEL) presented the concept of ‘interoperability’ as an essential enabler for ICT for active and healthy ageing (AHA). The introductory presentations were concluded by Kai Schnackenberg (City of Hamburg) who introduced a smart home/smart neighbourhood scheme that they have set up in Hamburg, Germany. This provided participants with a practical view on what smart homes and smart communities could be if adapted to an ageing population and it provided some additional food for thought for the interactive breakout session that followed. This breakout session was introduced by Estelle Huchet and Ophelie Durand (both from AGE Platform Europe).

During this breakout session, each group was given a map of a neighbourhood and a home, together with icons (domotics (home automation), furniture, vehicles, urban features, people, etc.) and personas* to help them identify how ICT can help an older person to remain independently at home and easily move around and be socially involved in her/his neighbourhood. Using these tools participants identified key challenges linked to the use of ICT in daily life.

Participants first underlined the complexity and diversity of an individual’s situation (living alone or with partner or family, having friends around or not, type of house, garden, etc.) and their low level of understanding on the role standards could play to address these challenges. They also stressed the need to take into account that needs evolve over time, and thus the required support. This implied, according to them, that people are not locked-in in a specific system, and that their environment can meet these changing needs over time.

Privacy was also underlined as a key topic, especially with regard to cameras, and a reference to the EIP on AHA privacy preferences document was made. Digital literacy was mentioned as well, and linked to the need to improve interoperability, as a way to easily “plug and play”, and to improve interfaces and user experience.

Last but not least, participants recommended to think about ICT integration in smart homes and smart communities at a higher level (not just at the product level), and to work together with funders.

The workshop underlined the relevance of PROGRESSIVE toward better awareness and use of standards in the field of ICT for active and healthy ageing. Very few stakeholders are indeed aware of the existing standards and initiatives.

The workshop was also very useful for the PROGRESSIVE partners in order to test the different tools that the project has produced or is currently finalising (ethical tenets, standards database, interoperability frameworks, user co-production, etc.), and to inform about the imminent launch of the STAIR Platform on Active and Healthy Ageing (STAIR-AHA) that will be embedded in CEN/CENELEC (European Standardisation Organisations) and that will push for more and better involvement of older people in the standardisation process of ICT-based products, services and technologies that can support active and healthy ageing.


* The personas used during the breakout session were kindly provided by the Nestore project ( Co-produced with older persons, they are covering a various range of potential user profiles, taking account of the diversity in old age in terms of place of living, socio-economic status, family structure, health condition, etc.

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