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CSIRO Develops Digital Platform for Older Australians

A report published by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has detailed the successful trial of a new sensor-based platform with the potential to better support older Australians to live in their own home longer. The report, titled DACS: Smarter Safer Homes to Support Older People Living in Their Own Homes Through Enhanced Care Model, is based on findings of research to trial the Smarter Safer Homes (SSH) sensor-based platform. Developed by CSIRO, SSH was the first consumer-driven smart home technology in the world to help people live independently in their homes.

The CEO of CSIRO’s Australian e-Health Research Centre noted that trials found statistically significant evidence that older people living with SSH showed their social care-related quality of life decrease was 10 times less than the control group who experienced usual care. He said that the outcomes of the trial reveal that SSH technology is beneficial in ensuring older people can live independently in their homes for longer.

Service providers, family members and other caregivers can check a data dashboard that reveals patterns in an older person’s behaviour. Any changes in the patterns may indicate a need for action. For example, if mobility patterns change, this may suggest a fall or injury, prompting a check-in.

A co-author of the report stated that this technology in the hands of Australia’s aged care workforce will benefit older people who are living at home and receiving community care services.

The platform is perfect for connecting families living apart, as people often are these days. For example, there is a family member in Brisbane, another in Adelaide and an ageing parent living in a rural town. SSH would help the family to support their parent from a distance. In addition to community aged care support, the technology could allow the parent to stay in their home for longer if they wish. This technology takes the guesswork away from the question of a user’s family’s well-being when they are not around, she said.

Participants in the trial said they loved the safety and comfort SSH gave to them and their family, while service providers commented on the usefulness of quantitative information about a client’s functional independence over time. The platform comprises ambient sensors that collect data from the physical environment within the home and use artificial intelligence to turn that data into relevant information.

The platform includes a sensor-based in-home monitoring system (data collection), a cloud computing server (data analyses), and a client module (data presentation) with a tablet app, a family portal, and a service provider portal. The SSH platform was an output of consultations with aged care service providers who contributed to its initial design.

The Dementia and Aged Care Services (DACS) trial of the SSH platform commenced in 2019 and involved 195 participants who tested the sensors in their homes. The SSH algorithm has been licensed and commercialised by a Sydney-based provider of data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies and deployed with numerous aged care providers in acute and post-acute care facilities.

The global smart home market size was US$86.48 billion in 2020. The market is expected to grow from US$99.89 billion in 2021 to US$380.52 billion in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 21.1% during the 2021-2028 period.

An increasing number of internet users, the growing disposable income of consumers in developing economies, the rising importance of home monitoring in remote areas, and the growing demand for low-carbon emission and energy-saving-oriented solutions are projected to drive the market capabilities.

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