Smart tech transforming the lives of elderly people living independently

April 20, 2021

The Smart Meters for Independent Living (Smile) initiative is being run by the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics, with housing and care specialist Blackwood Homes and Care, and Scottish innovation centre The Data Lab.

It will see the consortium develop and test artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning methods to analyse energy usage data from consenting residents’ smart meters, which will give a view of their daily routines to highlight unusual changes in behaviour which could cause concern. The trial began in November 2019 and, despite delays caused by the pandemic, it is analysing energy usage data in homes across Scotland.

Residents and their family or carers can set “rules” for the system, telling it which changes in routine could be a cause for concern – the duration of a shower being longer than usual, or a change to normal cooking schedules, which could indicate that there has been an incident.

Machine learning algorithms use energy usage patterns to identify the timing of people’s relevant activities in the home, looking for changes that should be flagged up. The system will then alert the individual, their loved one or carer, enabling a decision on the best course of action.

Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab, said: “We’re proud to be involved in such a forward-thinking project and look forward to receiving the initial findings soon.”

Dr Lynda Webb from the School of Informatics said: “The fact that we are also co-designing the service with Blackwood customers means we can take forward the research in a way that is adapted to people’s true needs.”

Read the full article here: Smart tech transforming the lives of elderly people living independently