Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Sentab Report Summary

Project ID: 666482

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Sentab (SENTAB: Combatting Senior Loneliness through Fun and Entertaining Technology)

Reporting period: 2015-04-01 to 2016-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

According to a survey commissioned by Age UK in December 2014, 49% of older people (65+) say that television or pets are their main form of company. The onset of social isolation in later life is becoming a huge societal problem - researchers from the University of Chicago have ranked that extreme loneliness and feelings of isolation in later life is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day or heavy alcohol consumption.

There are 162 million senior citizens in Europe, and the problem of loneliness affects nearly 65 million Europeans. These people and their families are the target group for the product that the current project will bring to the marketplace, with the estimated sales potential in Europe alone in excess of €320M per year.

Sentab has developed an early version of elderly infortainment system, which enables seniors to interact with and learn from their peers and interest-led communities from their TV, meet remotely family members and caregivers, remind events, push medication alerts, and offer favourite online media content. However, while deploying the system, the company has seen a need to add innovative cognitive and behavioural measurement tools into the product, so that early onset of cognitive changes can be observed and communicated to trusted parties. The project adds cognitive measurement capabilities to Sentab product that can evaluate the status and deviation from user’s normal behavioral patterns. This is achieved through built in statistical monitoring and benchmarking algorithms and front-end applications that are capable of capturing the data required for such measurements via user engagement. These deviations in turn are extracted from the general data and used to trigger notifications to family members and caregivers upon the consent of the user.

The objective of the SENTAB project is:
a) to augment prototype Sentab system with diagnostic functionality, helping to solicit better response towards senior needs early on and align the product better with the needs of family members and caregivers;
b) bring this enhanced product to Nursing and Assisted Living home marketplace.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The more detailed overview of the performed tasks is presented in the Technical Report annexed as one of the deliverables to this package.

WP1 deals with development and implementation of new features of Sentab, based on the existing core platform. The existing infrastructure is scaled up to support the new features and significantly higher number of users in a safe and seamless way. Importantly, the statistics capability, memory testing and physical senses testing functionality are added to Sentab. Within the first 12 months of the project, Sentab completed the definition and implementation of the system architecture in view of scalability, security and data interchange (D1.1.). Server side implementation is finalized, API-s defined for front-end integration. Database structures are put in place to host data repositories, including transactional databases, analytical databases, file and media repositories (D1.2.). Statistical engine implementation is ongoing with projected finishing in Month 19th of the project. Memory agility testing with end users as well as physical tests will start in July 2016.

WP2 is focusing on testing and optimization of the deliverables coming out from WP1. WP2 will end with the fully functional Sentab system that the company will demonstrate and disseminate to the product to end-users and important stakeholders at various events, dedicated road-show and through other channels. During the first 12 months into the project, we have ensured robustness of data flows stemming from the administration, use and collected data from Sentab system, to build for big data scalability. We have released the deliverable D2.1. describing the formats of the data that are generated or collected.

There is an ongoing testing effort of the functional blocks built in WP1, which will be finalized with the completion of the last modules, which are related to behavioral and cognitive testing of end user system usage patterns, and benchmarking those towards averages for the selected group. This functional testing task is ongoing, with projected end date Month 20 and verification of selected methods finishing Month 24.

Under WP3, we have framed a commercialization plan (D4.1), subject to updates by end of the project. There is an ongoing dissemination efforts, whereby Sentab has introduced the project and its product at Care Forums, Web Summit, CeBIT, The Venture global competition, in Estonian media such as Estonian Broadcasting (ETV) and local Radio4, Arctic15, Latitude59 conferences. We have also directly approached end user organizations such as local councils in UK, cable companies and senior living communities both in the UK and the US.

The project is progressing according to the plan. Medium level risks that are identified are related to the extraction of physical and environmental parameters from external sensors, where the company is in the process of selecting reliable and cost efficient sensor solution. Another potential risk is associated with the pace of the technology take-up – to mitigate the risk we have invested substantial time into focus groups and co-design principles, understanding better what engages senior people the most in such a solution. Based on our learning, we are hopeful that the broader appeal of Sentab with senior users will be established with the new product release.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The company is in the process of embedding sophisticated monitoring functions beneath the social features of the Sentab platform, providing an innovative angle to the current generation of media distribution platforms. There is no similar social networking platform on the market that is capable of analysing and predicting seniors’ state of mind and offsets from their regular behaviour, neither a media distribution devices which are doing so. The below list captures on a high-level, where Sentab goes beyond the state-of-the art:

- Artificial intelligence for monitoring seniors’ behaviour and short term memory on top of media recommendations. Current media devices are monitoring media preferences and recommending personalised choices, but not going beyond that. The social networks out there are extracting user affiliation with certain areas of interest, to exploit that for targeted advertising.
- Post-media polls and memory tests on TV, media’s effect on mood, understanding media preference from linear TV. Today, primarily SMS based polls are used.
- Interest led community interaction, topics of common interest, moderated peer led communities – more proper for senior audience. Current social networks are more focussed on individual contributors and self-expression rather than building community.
- Built around D-pad navigation metaphor, designed for senior use and inclusion. This is a difference from other social networks, wheras media distribution platforms built around OTT content are underpinning passive media usage without much of social interaction.

Meeting the defined user needs with our USP enables Sentab to address a high volume global market. Merill-Lynch estimates the size of Silver Economy to reach $15tn by 2020 , up from $7tn in 2014. In Europe, US and China alone there are 275 million people at the age of 65+. In the last 50 years, the number of elderly has effectively trebled.

By applying price elasticity curve attributable to buying an in-home monitoring devices over the number of seniors living in Europe, US and China, we get a Total Addressable Market of circa €107Bn. For the entire Developed World, the similar TAM is €150Bn. The estimated sales potential in Europe, assuming conservative 1% of the senior population, is in excess of €320 Million per year.

Sentab’s initial go-to-market strategy is B2B2C – meaning the company will service institutional partners that in turn have a number of end-users. At first, assisted living homes are addressed, with a total addressable market of €1.9 Billion annually. In the second phase, seniors living at home are addressed through monthly subscription contracts, addressing a market worth more than €32Billion in Europe, and €107Bn in Developed Countries.

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