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Application Pilot for People with Special Needs

Objective

The main objective of the project is to set-up eight pilots, in six countries, using videotelephony to trial support services for elderly, deaf, hard of hearing, visually impaired and mobility impaired people and demonstrate to RACE the types of support services in the care sector that would be commercially viable using videotelephony.
The main objective of the research was to set up pilot schemes using videotelephony to try out support services for elderly, deaf, hard of hearing, visually impaired and mobility impaired people and to demonstrate the types of support services in the care sector that would be commercially viable using videotelephony. The requirements of elderly and disabled users and their service providers were identified. These requirements were further refined to fit the scope set by the technical and resource constraints of the project. The viability of each support service was confirmed and the generic evaluation criteria for assessing the pilots established.

The project begun 6 individual pilot schemes, each of which has proved to be a remarkable success. Early results in general show that:
the demand for the support service applications demonstrated exceeds that offered by the pilots;
there are substantial benefits in using videotelephony as a means of providing support services for elderly and disabled people;
videotelephony is attractive to both users and service providers;
the financial viability of the pilot services appears to be well established as the actual cost of videotelephony support services is minimal compared to that of occasional or permanent attachment to care institutions, or the provision of care by direct intervention on a regular basis;
the support service applications for deaf and hard of hearing people are effective for communication in the work place and allow enormous savings in time and effort in the conduct of business;
the support service applications implemented in the pilots address a real need and there is market for these IBC services.
Technical Approach

The requirements of elderly and disabled users and their service providers were identified. These requirements were further refined to fit the scope set by the technical and resource constraints of the project. The viability of each support service was confirmed and the generic evaluation criteria for assessing the pilots established.

The prototypes of the modified videophones, service desk and a simulated broadband networks were produced and trials run to finalise the operational requirements (users, service centre and PTT) of the pilots, and the equipment specifications for the manufacturers and suppliers.

For all pilots the engineering, production and installation of the terminals, centre equipment, the software, networks, training and operational documentation for each of the pilot sites was completed.

Operation of the first pilot site started in June 1989 (Kuusamo) and the last will start will start in January 1992 in Rotterdam. Monitoring of the appeal and usability of each service and usage of the pilots is being performed in accordance with the evaluation procedures set-up earlier. This is to be fed back to the Commission via a common report for all the pilots, a project review and as recommendations to RACE and the standards bodies.

Key Issues
Social services are growing in importance and scale. Currently these are often realised through frequent daily visits or by transferring the person to a residential place of care.

One of the key issues for the successful introduction of new services is usability. This means trying to understand both the client and service users' needs and expectations from a service, and producing equipment ergonomically suited to meet these needs.

Achievements
The project has begun 6 individual pilot schemes, each of which have proved to be a remarkable success. Early results in general show that:

. The demand for the support service applications demonstrated by the project exceeds that offered by the pilots. In most cases, the service provider is keen to maintain operation beyond the planned duration of the pilot. Some wish it to be made permanent.
. There are substantial benefits in using videotelephony as a means of providing support services for elderly and disabled people.
. Videotelephony is attractive to both users and service providers. It matches and exceeds their expectations of such services, and is easy to use. Service providers are able to make good social contact and develop appropriate client-servicer relationships to support care provision and are confident of their ability to provide support and care by videotelephony.
. That the financial viability of the pilot services appears to be well established as the actual cost of videotelephony support services is minimal compared to that of occasional or permanent attachment to care institutions, or the provision of care by direct intervention on a regular basis.
. That the support service applications for deaf and hard of hearing people are effective for communication in the work place and allow enormous savings in time and effort in the conduct of business, and a substantial increase in the freedom of deaf people to conduct business affairs in a normal manner.
. The support service applications implemented in the pilots address a real need and that there is market for these IBC services. These new applications based on video-telephony services offers great opportunities for IBC,

Based on its results, the project has published 29 papers and made two contributions to ETSI. One of the project partners is also using the project's prototype ISDN videophones for its own experimental research.

Expected Impact
The providers of social services will be made aware of the role that telecommunications can play in providing more and better assistance to people with special needs in Europe. The project should itself work to promote equipment standards that are well suited to applications supporting people with special needs.

Coordinator

Alcatel SEL AG
Address
Ostendstraße 3
7530 Pforzheim
Germany

Participants (12)

CET / CTT - Centro de Estudos de Telecomunicaces
Portugal
Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecomunicazioni SpA (CSELT)
Italy
Address
Via Guglielmo Reiss Romoli 274
10148 Torino
EMPIRICA GESELLSCHAFT FUER KOMMUNIKATIONS- UND TECHNOLOGIEFORSCHUNG MBH
Germany
Address
Oxfordstrasse 2
53111 Bonn
Nassauisches Heim Siedlungsbaugesellschaft mbH
Germany
PTT Netherlands Research
Netherlands
ROBERT BOSCH GMBH
Germany
Address
Robert Bosch Strasse 200
31139 Hildesheim
Swedish Handicap Institute
Sweden
Swedish Telecom
Sweden
Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa (FMH)
Portugal
University College London
United Kingdom
Address

London
VTT TECHNICAL RESEARCH CENTRE OF FINLAND
Finland
Address
Vuorimiehentie 5
provincia di Torino
Italy
Address

Torino