News

Hi-tech home for the future

Pete Waddingham, Programme Manager at Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, has visited Hull City Council’s new independent living technology show home.

This is his blog on what he saw:

Finger print recognition door locks, voice activated curtains and state of the art fire detection and extinguishing devices were just some of the technologies I saw on my visit to Hull City Council’s new show home.

The new technology enabled house is the result of £1.2m of Government funding, provided to the local authority, to help improve the lives and independence of people with learning disabilities. The show home – just a small part of this funding – enables service users to experience technology in a real life environment and then decide what might be suitable for them in their own home.

It was great to be able to go and see how technology is being showcased in a home environment, with a vast array of devices on display; from voice activated curtains, overflow detecting taps through to state of the art fire detection and extinguishing.  It was also fantastic to visit the council estate where I started my working life – almost 20 years ago – working for the Hull City Council Housing department.

The visit was guided by Jon Craven, Minor Works Director at Hobson and Porter, the construction company that worked on the property and which is also managing the wider scheme. This includes fitting devices in people’s homes once they have seen what they think will be beneficial to their independence.

Another visitor to the property was Mark, a potential user of the assistive technology and his Carer. Mark, who has Cerebral Palsy, was given the opportunity to view the property to see how the technology may benefit his needs.  Mark and his carer both stressed the importance of being independent and were really interested in the video detecting door bell, the automatic door locks and the call alarm systems.

“Devices that can help Mark feel safe on a night when he is on his own and enable him to not need to come downstairs to see who is at the door would be of real benefit” Mark’s Carer commented “but it is also important to not make technology replace some of the human interaction that Mark likes”.

Representatives from the Council also visited the show home as part of their work in looking at how Hull can become a Smart City – a concept which looks to harness the power of technology to improve the quality of services and the welfare of its residents.

Hobson and Porter and Hull City Council have already supported 11 individuals in their own property – allowing people to pick the technology that they feel is of benefit before then installing it in the property free of charge. As long as the person is a resident within the Hull boundary and meets some other basic eligibility criteria the equipment is then installed in their own home.

I would just like to thank Andy Smith at Hull City Council for allowing me to visit the property. It was great to see how an organisation I used to work for many years ago is really embracing the technology agenda and, more importantly, how this can help improve the quality of services and meet people’s needs.