ActiveAdvice, as a novel ICT environment bringing together digital and human advisors, enhances information exchange and expert dialogue, as well as the technology and service uptake in the field of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL). Through the creation of service models tailored to the specific needs of the three target groups of older adults and caregivers, businesses and governments, combined with the creation of an international network of Authorised Active Advisors from various business sectors related to AAL, an increased rate of awareness for and implementation of AAL solutions is reached across Europe.
Funded by the European Commission and the Active Assisted Living Programme, the project “ActiveAdvice. Decision Support Solutions for Independent Living using an Intelligent AAL Product and Service Cloud” took place between April 2016 and November 2018. The project had the intention to raise awareness on products and service solutions that assist older people to live independently, and support professional and informal caregivers in their everyday tasks, so-called Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) solutions. The project further aimed to increase knowledge on AAL and facilitate the building-up of networks.
Tackling the shortcomings of a web platform, with the aim to provide a holistic overview of the AAL ecosystem and supporting informed decision making, the ActiveAdvice project’s core objective was to create an active advising and decision-support network across Europe. This is supported by a comprehensive ICT-based environment, presenting a state-of-the art collection on available AAL services and technologies offered at regional, national and international levels, which are stored in an Intelligent AAL Product & Service Cloud. As such, ActiveAdvice delivers an ICT environment that brings together the whole ecosystem of AAL stakeholders.
The ActiveAdvice solution consists of specific web services for older adults and their relatives and caregivers, for businesses, as well as governments and municipalities involved in AAL. The ICT environment offers a holistic market overview, presenting regional, national and international AAL products and services in accordance with the needs of the end users, and combines it with a strong and integrated focus on the target market. In addition, an Awareness & Information Hub provides up-to-date and relevant knowledge about new products, innovative projects, market developments, and user experiences with AAL solutions.
A user-centred & multi-stakeholder approach
Following a multi-stakeholder approach, it was a core aim of the ActiveAdvice project to involve stakeholders from three target groups: older adults and their relatives (AAL2C), businesses (AAL2B) and governments, municipalities and NGOs (AAL2G). To fulfil the project’s goal to bring these groups together and facilitate knowledge exchange in one platform, extensive end-user studies were carried out, building the basis for the conception and implementation of services models that satisfy the needs of all three target groups – following a design-for-all concept.
This approach was used to ensure the quality of the ActiveAdvice environment while increasing the uptake of AAL and establishing a European network of Authorised Active Advisors. Following an integrated logic rather than a purely online, virtual interaction, the concept of human advisors, so-called Authorised Active Advisors, was created. Older adults and their relatives, as well as our other target groups, still prefer face-to-face contact to online interaction, especially when it comes to advice. Authorised Active Advisors, as a human component complementing the digital advisory framework, therefore have a distinct added value to the decision-support ActiveAdvice can provide; and thus, are one of the core concepts of the project. They have the potential to impact the uptake of the ActiveAdvice platform, and to fill a gap the digital environment cannot provide, i.e., the possibility for personal contact (which increases trust), context knowledge for the individual situation, thus boosting confidence, especially of older users of the platform.
A unique platform
The ActiveAdvice platform offers a decision-support platform that brings together different stakeholder groups across Europe. Research carried out during the project shows that websites currently target end users either with information targeted at older adults, or information about research projects, or they are just e-commerce websites. A platform providing a holistic market overview on AAL products and services, as well as providing comprehensive information on those products and at the same time giving advice is still missing. The added of ActiveAdvice value, thus, comes from a platform providing a market overview on AAL products and services, as well as providing comprehensive information on those products and at the same time giving advice – both digitally and personally.
It is exactly this shift from a purely online, virtual interaction to an integrated logic that makes ActiveAdvice unique. In addition, a type of platform allowing exchange between consumers, businesses and governments is still missing. Another distinct value, therefore, comes from bringing together these three stakeholder groups and taking the whole AAL ecosystem into account.
An interdisciplinary consortium
Within the ActiveAdvice project, an interdisciplinary consortium consisting of seven project partners from six European countries brings together knowledge from technical, scientific, and end-user point of view. Tasks within the project were distributed between six work packages (WPs). The project coordination and project management were carried out by SYNYO, ensuring the seamless progress of the project and the contribution of each consortium partner. Zurich University of Applied Sciences led the baseline research, providing a comprehensive overview on existing studies, analyses, concepts and best practices on AAL advice, as well as the identification end-user requirements and definition of case studies. SME partner Smart Homes from the Netherlands led the definition of the technical concept based on the outcomes of the user requirements, defined in the form of personas. SYNYO led the technical development of the decision-support platform. Testing and validation was coordinated by the end-user partner City of Alkmaar provided detailed end-user knowledge for all three target audiences of ActiveAdvice, while accompanying the testing of the ActiveAdvice solution and environment. Communication and dissemination activities were coordinated by the University of Porto, ensuring to raise awareness on the project, its outcomes and AAL in general. Exploitation activities were driven by SME partners Cybermoore and Yellow Window.
ActiveAdvice project website: http://project.activeadvice.eu/
ActiveAdvice Information & Awareness Hub: https://www.activeadvice.eu/
Active Assisted Living Programme: http://www.aal-europe.eu/
Active and Assisted Living, Ambient Assisted Living, AAL, decision-support, advice, market overview, AAL market, smart ageing, older adults, older people, informal caregivers, ICT, Information and Communication Technologies