Homes for Healthy Ageing: supporting SMEs to tackle Social Isolation and Cold and Damp Homes

Social isolation and damp, cold homes disproportionately affect our ageing population in the UK. Over 1.4 million older people are ‘often lonely’ and a significant proportion of ‘excess deaths’ which occur during winter can be traced to cold and damp homes.  

These are the challenges which Connected Places Catapult are tackling with our first two testbeds in the Homes for Healthy Ageing programme.  

A ‘testbed’ is one of the most important tools we use to facilitate the scaled adoption of innovative new products and services. Through providing a low-risk, real-world environment where innovators can deploy solutions, capture feedback, and use this to improve them; a testbed can form the final step on an SME’s journey to launching a mature product or service. It can also serve as a valuable environment within which a product or service can be demonstrated to potential buyers or investors, giving them confidence in the performance of the solution, and ensuring that it is tailored to the needs of users. 

As part of the Homes for Healthy Ageing programme we have partnered with Sunderland City Council to focus on challenges surrounding Cold and Damp Homes and a consortium of partners in Belfast to focus on challenges surrounding Loneliness and Social Isolation.  We have partnered to create testbeds to help accelerate the maturity of solutions – and thereby help tackle these important challenges. SMEs will work with Connected Places Catapult and our partners over the course of 6 months to show how their solutions can address the identified challenges, to improve them and do the groundwork to enable wider deployment and impact. 

We are excited to announce that, following an Open Call and two-stage selection process, we have selected 11 innovative companies to participate in the testbeds: 

Sunderland Testbed  

Challenge: Cold and Damp Homes 

Bays Consulting – Are a team of Mathematicians and Statisticians that answer complex questions through using predictive analytics. They use these methods to predict where homes are at a high risk of cold and damp and work with Parity Projects to prescribe measures to reduce that risk in the home. 

Urban tide – Have developed an innovation platform driven by AI that helps organisations treat data as an asset used to inform business decisions. This data will be used to help Energy Hubs, Local Authorities and Managing Agents to increase the uptake of energy efficiency schemes within certain homes or areas.  

Solcom – Using the home monitoring system, they have developed, Solcom are able to track movement, detect and identify changes in behaviour that highlights increases in risk to individuals within their living environment. Their solution can then inform users on the immediate actions to be taken that can impact the temperature of a room to maintain its warmth. 

Sora – Aims to use their indoor air quality monitoring solution to inform residents about the current environment, to create better indoor health for longer independent and healthy living. 

Northern Ireland Testbed  

Challenge: Loneliness and Social Isolation 

Ethel care – Help health and care organisations manage large cohorts of vulnerable people in their own home for greater independence by supplying remote care and support through their digital platform.  

Kraydel – Have developed ‘Kraydel Konnect’ which is TV-based service offering social connectivity and IoT-based monitoring for health, wellbeing, and independence.  

Thriving AI – Helps carers to support older adults by enabling integrated care communication, coordination & monitoring supported by Machine Learning (ML) & AI delivered through a digital application.  

Treasured Times – Harness multiple technologies in one, easy to use digital application to reduce loneliness in elderly people by keeping families connected with their loved ones. 

Walk with path – Using wearables, Walk with Path can offer both patients and clinicians with direct feedback that helps to prescribe personalised care and support to reduce the risk of trips and falls.  

Connected Places Catapult, along with its Location partners, will now be working with these companies to design their approach to testing and trailing their solutions in real-world settings over the next 6 months. If you would like to partner or collaborate with this project, get in touch at homesforhealthyageing@cp.catapult.org.uk

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