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Tag Archive smart technology

Assistive Technology in Care – Money saving or life changing?

There was a great news article on BBC South Today last week about how Smart technology is changing the lives of those with disabilities.  The feature showed a man using  Amazon Alexa to control his lights and was raving about the benefits of finally not having to rely on a care provider for basic tasks.  It also featured an elderly lady with mobility issues who felt that having her Amazon Alexa made her feel less lonely.  She was able to interact with it and play music through home speakers, this meant her husband felt more comfortable leaving her alone when he needed to leave her alone for short periods of time.

Inevitably there’s been some backlash from those who say that it’s an excuse for local authorities to reduce spending on care provision.  But what’s better?  If there is an opportunity to extend independent living through the use of technology surely that’s a good use of technological advancement?

Innovation empowers

In November 2017 the Innovate Trust, a welsh charity, began a £15,000 trial testing Smart speaker technology with five people with learning disabilities.  Smart technology was installed in their homes and has enabled them to live more independently over the past year.  In addition to this, they operate a Supported Living premises featuring a range of Smart technology with the aim of increasing the independence of residents and therefore enabling them to redirect staff resources more creatively.  The direct result is the empowerment of vulnerable people who would otherwise rely heavily on care givers.

Smart budgeting

It seems then, that this is an argument for argument’s sake.  So long as there’s continued monitoring to ensure complete safety for vulnerable individuals and emergency care, reducing cost and increasing independence is not only a good thing, it’s a great thing!  If Smart technology opens doors (literally and figuratively) and minds for local authorities to think about how best they can use voice technology, sensors, Smart lighting, Smart heating, Smart blinds, Smart door entry…the list goes on…in turn they will be better placed to use care staff  more effectively.  In turn they will become more efficient in delivering personal care where it’s needed most.

Freedom of choice

Ultimately, local authorities should offer choice.  Because a person is deemed as vulnerable – be that due to learning disabilities, physical or mental disabilities – it doesn’t mean they can’t have a choice, but the beauty of Smart technology is that is provides choice.  There’s a whole range of products to make life simpler, let’s embrace it where we can!

To find out how Ugot can help you live more independently call us on 02380 253399 or email sales@ugot.co.uk


The Future is Now

Do you remember watching ‘Back to the Future 2′?  I mean the first time around, that’s right, thirty three years ago! I’m not mentioning this to make you feel old (age is just a number, right?) it’s got more to do with how futuristic predictions can turn into reality. 

The film correctly predicted the following: robots – seen in the film refuelling cars, in reality using in manufacturing; hologram cinema – 3D now comes as standard for many fantasy/sci-fi films; wearable tech – smart watches and although not mainstream yet, Google glasses; drone reporters – drones are often used in all kinds of news reporting to get the best pictures; hands-free video games, projection home-movie screens, video-calling and best of all, voice controlled kitchen equipment. It’s quite a list! It may have seemed out of reach then and may even have influenced today’s tech-developers when they were kids, but what interests me most is that today, in the ‘future’, we don’t see them as ridiculous. They enhance our lives, make it more efficient, enjoyable!

Pre-millennium predictions

I came across an article last night that I wrote in 1999 about how the Internet would soon become an integral part of phone usage and daily life. In it I ask whether using a phone to access the news of the day or book restaurants was just hype – I predicted that it wasn’t hype and it turns out I was right! (wipes brow).

Twenty years on and I’m still working in the technology industry, embracing smart technology and all that it has to offer. Just as Marty McFly in his fictional 2015 future is able to rehydrate his mini-pizza using voice control, I too am enjoying being able to talk to various devices around my home. The difference being that I can control my lights, heating and security system both from within my home, and when I’m out and about, not only for convenience but to maintain my home security and to be eco-friendly. I prefer to prepare my pizza from scratch before sticking it in the oven, though. Slower but ever-so-slightly more appetising!

Early days with early adopters

When Ugot came onto the Smart Integration scene in 2006 it was to cater to the needs of the early adopters who were ahead of the pack where technology was concerned. The first iPhone hadn’t even been released and here we were installing home control systems in substantial hi-end pads. But as you’d expect, things have changed. Now, we’re installing in every-day homes, homes where Alexa is playing the homeowners favourite tune and ordering next-week’s shopping. 

Smart integration isn’t something reserved for the younger generations either. If you can talk, or are able to use something to control a screen, you can create a friendlier environment for the way you live. A home owner with mobility restrictions can answer their doorbell, open the door, turn lights on and off, control their heating and even cook their dinner all from the comfort of one place. The one thing that people dread with ageing is losing their independence, the reality now is that Smart homes can enable extend independent living with simple, secure, user-friendly devices. 

Future thinking

We love that the future is here now, that we’re at the forefront of technological changes that benefit every generation, but what’s coming next? Can we predict the direction Smart homes will go? With the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) it’s highly likely that all we have to is think about going home at the end of a long working day and all of our Smart devices will interoperate, working in sequence to ensure a welcome arrival, a prepared dinner, clothes washed and dried, a prepared bath and a pre-heated bed with sleep-ready lighting all tailored to your personal timetable. I’ll check back in a few years’ time and see if I’m right!`