In order to develop ActiveAdvice to address the needs of AAL costumers, businesses and governments, an in-depth study on their respective information needs and channels for knowledge communication is required. Therefore, the ActiveAdvice consortium analysed current research to identify essential ways to address all target audiences of the project and the advisory solutions developed. A question arising is, if there even exist so-called ‘lead users’ in AAL, who engage other users in employing solutions. Besides older adults using AAL tools for home support, their formal and informal carers need to be considered in this information transfer context, as they also act as experts on AAL for the older adults, even though care and technology are detached. For family members of older adults in contrast, time saving through monitoring and support are essential. To answer the question, if there is a ‘lead-user’ and who it is, the deeper stakeholder study is used, which will be conducted in the next months of the project.
Review of existing AAL, Care and Social Platforms
In the context of AAL, ‘platform’ refers to many different types of solutions with different purposes. Two types are most prominent: First, there are platforms aiming at the integration of tools and services into an independent living environment. Secondly, E-Health platforms provide knowledge and dialogue options, enhanced with current information on health issues. Nevertheless, both types are failing to provide sufficient comprehensive knowledge and solution overview on an EU-wide meta-level. As ActiveAdvice is aiming to fill exactly this gap, the most important learnings from existing platforms will be considered when developing the solution concepts. A key factor identified is the option to interact with the platform. The more interactive a platform is, the more likely it is, that users become content providers. In order to engage people into contributing and also to provide digital advisor support, features like blogs, reviews and messaging are essential. This insight will guide the development of the ActiveAdvice digital solution.
Social Features and Information Retrieval
An option to enhance the information retrieval in ActiveAdvice through user feedback is the inclusion of social media features dedicated to community exchange. This can support a user in decision making and resource selection processes. Therefore, three social features are investigated: On the basis, the option to rate and comment on a piece of information is a common option in e-commerce applications, providing user feedback. Taking social features to a higher level, information platforms foster an interactive community which collaborates to build up knowledge. This might either be driven by collaborative creation and quality assurance of information or in order to solve a defined problem. The highest level identified, commonly used in software development, is the direct exchange of software or code, which would go beyond the scope of ActiveAdvice.
Trust in Digital Advisory Services
Trust is a key area of concern in ActiveAdvice. Consumers need to trust the web services, the communication within the community and finally the products themselves. Knowing how to build-up trust and identifying the drivers of online trust are key responsibilities. Trust in e-commerce compared to real life shopping experiences is even more complicated and challenging. Important factors for trust are peer endorsement and use interfaces. Branding, online expertise and familiarity with the structure are of lower relevance. In summary the web site design quality is a crucial trust building criteria and one that most influences people revisit, which needs to be considered in ActiveAdvice.