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SENTAB: Combatting Senior Loneliness through Fun and Entertaining Technology

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Sentab (SENTAB: Combatting Senior Loneliness through Fun and Entertaining Technology)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-06-30

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. 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 media and communications platform for older adults, 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 change patterns can be observed and communicated to trusted parties. The project added cognitive measurement capabilities to Sentab product. This is achieved through built in statistical monitoring and benchmarking algorithms that are capable of capturing the data via user engagement.

The conclusions of the carried out project are:
- digital technologies can have a significant effect on inducing behavioural change in later life toward more positive and independent lifestyle;
- 85% of pilot users who participated in the project, showed significant increase in their physical activity after being introduced to SentabTV platform.
- Social index improved in the case of 57% of the participants. More importantly, about one in five people who suffered from extreme loneliness, showed improvements above critical level;
- cognitive index increased from an average 5.59 points to 6.07 points within few months time after using cognitive exercises on SentabTV platform. 69% of the people assessed subjectively that their cognitive capabilties have gone up.
WP1 dealt with development and implementation of new features of Sentab, based on the core platform. 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 was finalized, API-s defined for front-end integration. Database structures were put in place to host data repositories, including transactional databases, analytical databases, file and media repositories (D1.2.). During the second reporting period, statistical engine implementation was finalized, with relevant User Interface development (D1.3.). Memory agility testing (D1.4) with end users as well as physical tests (D1.5.) were carried out and relevant studies were published.

WP2 focused on testing and optimization of the deliverables coming out from WP1. WP2 ended with the fully functional Sentab system that the company is able to 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 ensured robustness of data flows stemming from the administration, use and collected data from Sentab system, to build for big data scalability. During the second project period, the functional blocks built in WP1 were tested and relevant test report released (D2.2.). Based on the developed Sentab TV system, we also carried out a number of further studies measuring the effects of media on older adults mood and emotions (D2.3) short term and long term memory dynamics in older age (D2.4.) and the effect of loneliness on older adults.

Under WP3, we developed a commercialization plan (D4.1) and updated it by the end of the project. A significant dissemination efforts have been performed, whereby Sentab has introduced the project and its product at Care Forums, Web Summit, CeBIT, The Venture global competition, in media, Arctic15, Latitude59, Health behavior conferences etc. We have also directly approached end user organizations such as local councils in UK, cable companies, senior communities etc.

As a result of the project, the company has developed a behavoural analytics engine that analyses users physical activity levels, cognitive agility and social activity. Additionally, the company has developed a 4 platform solution that socially connects older adults to peers, family, caregivers and service providers. All the developed hardware and software modules are part of the final product, which was introduced to the marketplace.
The company has embedded 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:

- Intelligence for monitoring seniors’ behaviour and short term memory by analysing user interaction with Sentab platform. Current media devices are monitoring media preferences and recommending personalised choices, but not going beyond that.
- 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.

With 3.5 years into development and trials with user groups, this innovative platform has reached an overall Technology Readiness Level of 9, where system has been introduced to the marketplace by the end of the project. One can purchase the system on Sentab’s web shop and Amazon international marketplaces. We can conclude that the project has helped to transition the company from intial TRL 7 to TRL 9 as foreseen as part of the funding objectives.

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.