Course of in London utilizing know-how to watch the wellbeing of susceptible folks

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Two local authorities in London are said to control “in-home sensors” to monitor vulnerable residents who live in public apartments.

The idea is yet another example of how connected devices can play a role in feeding and supporting those who need them.

The Richmond and Sutton City Councils in the south of the UK capital are partnering with the IoT Solutions Group, which provides IoT technology and solutions, to test 200 sensors on properties owned by the Richmond Housing Partnership and Sutton Housing Partnership.

The European Commission has described the Internet of Things as the merging of “physical and virtual worlds that create intelligent environments”. Think of devices that are connected to the Internet and can “talk” to each other.

In an announcement earlier this week, SHP said the technology provides “automated, real-time insights into how active a person is in their own home.”

The idea behind the technology is relatively simple. When the sensors detect a decrease in activity from your home, an automatic alarm is sent to caregivers or people known as Independent Living Officers. This enables them to make a proactive, urgent visit to the property rather than relying on a scheduled appointment or contacting residents.

Steve Tucker, executive director of the Sutton Housing Partnership, said in a statement released Monday that the pilot “would really improve the lives of the elderly residents in need.”

While the potential of sensors such as those used in Sutton and Richmond is interesting, some may be concerned about privacy issues for those using the service, especially when the technology is being installed in people’s homes.

To allay those fears, SHP said Monday that “no visual or audio recording” will take place and no personal information will be collected.

As technology has developed, the number of monitoring devices that can be installed in the homes of the elderly and vulnerable has increased.

The Carers UK charity lists several including: passive infrared detectors; Property output sensors; Panic buttons; GPS tracker; and sensors that send notifications to caregivers when someone has fallen.

A changing landscape

For many, digital technologies are playing an increasingly important role in their healthcare system.

Apps accessed on a mobile phone can now remind patients to take their medication, schedule appointments with their doctor, and access test results.

The adaptability of this type of technology was highlighted in 2020 when countries launched contact tracing apps to help fight the coronavirus pandemic and limit the spread of the virus.

Over the past year, the way patients interact with doctors has changed as health care providers and governments try to reduce their prevalence.

Many first personal appointments now take place online using video conferencing software that can be accessed via laptops, cell phones or tablets.

In the UK, the National Health Service states that after an online consultation, medical practices will contact their patients by email, phone or video call, or in person.

There were more than 1 million users in a blog post by Susie Day, program director of the NHS app, last November. This is “more than twice as much” as at the beginning of March.

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