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Vodafone and Mencap partnership improves the lives of disabled people

A pioneering initiative connecting supported living homes using IoT technology has been launched by Vodafone, through Vodafone Business Ventures and Mencap, the UK's leading learning disability charity.

The innovative Connected Living project uses technology to enhance the quality of life for people with learning disabilities, as well as providing support workers with complimentary tools to use in providing personalised care.

Co-designed by Vodafone, support workers and people with learning disabilities living in Mencap's supported living services, Connected Living was piloted successfully over 12 months in locations across Hampshire, Sussex, Somerset, Cornwall, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Suffolk. The collaborative partnership has involved people with a learning disability and support workers and service managers. It combines Vodafone's expertise in IoT and connectivity with Mencap's experience of improving the quality of life for people with a learning disability.

The pilot focused on how to make everyday activities - such as household tasks, time planning and socialising - easier. Technologies, including a range of user friendly, intuitive IoT enabled devices were installed in Mencap Supported Living homes controlled by a bespoke app, called Vodafone MyLife. Unlike standalone devices including GPS trackers or fall detectors, the MyLife app offers a simple user interface that is integrated and accessible via a single tablet. It gives Mencap's clients control of their smart devices, while also enabling their support workers to have remote access. In addition, the Vodafone MyLife app allows users to create visual guides for everyday tasks and a host of other features such as:

  • My Room - enables residents to manage smart plugs, smart locks and smart lights via the app.
  • How To - allows residents and support workers to create visual guides for everyday tasks.
  • My Day - is a personalised diary management tool that enables users to create daily reminders for everyday tasks.
  • My Talk - provides those with speech problems another way to communicate, via personalised images, text and a speech function.
  • Call Support - allows prompt remote support via a digital 'panic button' that allows two-way video calling between residents and support worker with one touch.
  • To Do List - enables tenants to create easy to manage to do lists to encourage them to carry out and tick off tasks throughout the day.
  • My Front Door - enables residents to answer their front door and check who is calling from anywhere in the house.
    Other IoT technologies trialled include:
  • Activity Sensors - which detect unexpected movement and alert support workers.
  • Smart Locks - which can be used to provide residents privacy and a sense of security in their own rooms.

Adam, who has Down's syndrome and lives in Mencap's Loughborough supported living service said: "The technology is really helpful, the How To makes me feel clever. I can now cook using my tablet - for the first time I made dinner by myself". "The Connected Living project has been brilliant for both Martyn and Ashley, it's been great to see them grow throughout the project. The MyLife tool has helped them both establish a good daily routine and has helped them develop a level of independence they simply didn't think they would ever have" - said Sophie Baldry, a support worker for Martyn and Ashley at Mencap's home in Basingstoke. Steve Baker, Operations Director from Mencap said: "The most rewarding thing has been to see it working and the life changing impact it can have for the people we support and their support workers".

Source Vodafone; viewed: 70 times.

Monika Krasicka-Kulińska

Adam Łukowski

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