Although mobile technology is challenging the traditional telephone as the preferred means of communication, we believe that there is still a demand for our current form of alarm service. The rental scheme has produced significant funds for the Trust, but the number of users is reducing, so we need to find ways of attracting new customers.
We have engaged Orbit Group to provide the monitoring service for all our clients and will work with them and other partners such as Age UK Warwickshire on expanding the customer base.
Running alongside this are developments in Tele-care and Tele-health and, for the future, we need to understand advances in technology and how they would impact on our ability to remain in this market.
We also see potential to help people improve or maintain their quality of life through having access to computers and being skilled up in their use. The internet helps older people combat the sense of isolation through contact with friends and relatives and gives them access to services online, such as shopping.
We are working with Solihull MBC and Solihull Community Housing on technology in the home and increasing IT capacity and skills of individuals. Not only will this help vulnerable people who would otherwise become increasingly isolated, but also enable Solihull to better monitor and support them through face-to-face contact over the internet.
The first four participants in our digital inclusion project with Solihull Community Housing have now been signed up with provider EE, which is supplying them with an Apple iPad Air and 4G internet connection.
We will post regular updates on the project, which will involve twelve people in all over a two-year period.