Billy Wood, Head of Embedded Engineering, IoT Solutions Group
IoT, or the Internet of Things, refers to the collective network of connected devices and the technology that facilitates communication between them and the cloud.
A good example is Amazon Alexa, a device that uses the internet to process input from a microphone sensor and generate output for a speaker. The Ring camera and Fitbit health trackers are also everyday examples of one.
Within the home care space, however, telecare has been a long-running example of the technology, with fall detectors and push button alarms providing essential devices to help residents live their lives reassured that if the worst happens, they can seek help quickly and easily.
Recently several changes have happened in the technology space, leading to an explosion in the number of IoT devices entering the market. First, mobile communication using cellular networks gives them a way to effortlessly connect to the internet, and the underlying components behind them have become cheaper and easier to create. In effect, it is now easier to invent devices that integrate more sensors and functionality in a smaller package.
The UK is dealing with an increasingly ageing population. It’s expected that by 2038, one in four people in the UK will be aged 65 or over (ONS). At the same time, 80% of British people want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
Alongside this, the PSTN switchover is due to take place at the end of 2025 (BT). PSTN is the analogue 20th-century technology which was the backbone of the UK phone network for decades, with BT planning to replace it with a completely digital system along with the rest of the world. Although well-intentioned, this will have the unfortunate side effect of causing a large number of the current telecare devices that are reliant on the network to stop operating. Addressing this issue opens up the possibility of replacing those devices with new IoT technology that can provide more seamless, functional, and cheaper solutions.
The question then for home care providers is what is the correct long-term solution to help residents live independently?
IoTSG has developed the DORIS care platform for adult social care as a way to both leverage the rise of IoT technology and help people live independent lives. From the user's perspective, it's a small box that sits on a shelf that is mailed to them. After it's activated by pulling a tab, it immediately starts monitoring its environment using an array of sensors to check for any change in normal behaviour that could indicate a health problem. These can then be passed onto care providers through both an easy-to-use dashboard and via alerts when immediate attention is needed.
This happened recently when, following the deployment of sensors to 150 residents in the London Borough of Sutton, alerts were raised identifying three residents who were critically ill and whose activity levels had dropped. This resulted in Independent Living Officers visiting to assess each situation and saving their lives (IoTSG) - read Maureen's story here.
We developed DORIS care to be exceptionally easy to use, as affordable as possible and provide intelligent insights into your residents. This is all incorporated into a compact, long-life, and easy-to-use package. By building it into your home care offering, you can leverage the latest IoT technology to help your clients live independently.
IoTSG's mission is to create technology to help people in home care live independent, healthy lives. If you're interested in discussing how IoT can help you and your business, please don't hesitate to contact us. We'd love to understand your challenges and help you solve them.
BT. "The UK's PSTN network will switch off in 2025." BT Business, 11 October 2021. Accessed 18 April 2023.
IoTSG. "Maureen's life saved - DORIS care® raises red alert following a fall." IoT Solutions Group. Accessed 18 April 2023.
ONS. "Overview of the UK population." Overview of the UK population - Office for National Statistics, 23 August 2019, t2019. Accessed 18 April 2023.