An interesting example of networked living in the neighborhood was demonstrated in Germany, in the middle of this decade: www.vernetztes-wohnen-hh.de. Called VWiQ, the initiative took place in the city of Hamburg where sixty thousand citizens in the city already need some form of assistance or nursing care.
VWiQ provides an appropriate “use case” within PROGRESSIVE wider work on use cases (see “Using use cases to understand how ICT can support AHA”). The system that was trialled is based on smart home technology, ambient assisted living support systems, and neighbourhood services. The smart home technology created ‘easy living’ including home automation, and electronic control of household appliances as well as doors, windows, and blinds. The support systems involved fall detection, social alarms, motion/activity sensors, an automatic bar-code ordering system, and a smart laundry service.
Most people prefer to stay in their own home and the familiar neighbourhood environment where they have lived for most of their lives. Local resident, Ingeborg Schultz, aged 74, enthused: “A big advantage is the networking of this apartment with residents and service providers in the neighbourhood. I may not be able to use [the network] at the moment, but I have the option to use it when the time comes – if I am restricted to my bed or the like. That provides me with a great deal of reassurance.”
We welcome feedback and other use case examples of “smart housing” / ”smart homes” experiences from organisations working with older adults. Do not hesitate to be in contact with PROGRESSIVE!