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Sutton Council has launched a pilot of in-home sensors to monitor vulnerable people living alone. The technology has been deployed in Sutton Housing Partnership properties by supplier IoT Solutions Group in collaboration with the council.
The sensors monitor people’s day-to-day activities, and should they detect any changes or decrease in typical behaviour, an alert is sent to an independent living officer.
The officer can then either make a visit to the property, call the resident to ensure they are doing OK or alert a family member who can go to check on them.
Residents usually have scheduled check-ins with independent living officers, but this is not daily, and despite residents having pendant alarms to alert staff should something not be right, not all residents use them.
The sensors do not require internet or mains power to work, and do not make any audio or video recordings of the residents, but aim to provide peace of mind for families and increase independence for vulnerable people, allowing them to live at home for longer.
Emma Mahy, CEO of IoT Solutions Group, which has provided the sensors, said the pilot in Sutton is “demonstrating the effectiveness of using this solution to safeguard those in our communities who can benefit most from it, but it also highlights the shortfalls of some devices that are already used commonly within the care sector – such as pendant alarms – which rely heavily on human interaction”.
“These results are only the beginning and we hope they will encourage other local authorities to proceed with their own trials of our sensor.”
Read more about local government and technology
- Digital minister Matt Warman and local government minister Simon Clarke want local councils to do their bit to help ensure better access to connectivity during the Covid-19 recovery.
- An association of councils in the greater London area notes that local government’s capacity to adopt technology and innovate is essential in coping with the post-pandemic world.
- Councils with digital innovation ideas can apply for grants up to £100,000 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The sensors are also due to be deployed in Richmond, Merton, Suffolk and Bournemouth.
The use of sensors and internet of things (IoT) technology have been seen as having huge potential to drive change for both healthcare and social care at home. However, despite positivity around the technology, pilots have been difficult to get off the ground, often due to funding.