- To provide community support services to elderly, hard of hearing or mentally impaired residential users;
- To examine the ways video telephony applications can reduce the cost of social care, and aid the integration of people with intellectual impairments into the community and away from residential institutions.
- To identify the usage requirements for enhanced video telephony services for residential users, characterise the market place and promote the implementation of IBC.
The main objectives of the research were:
to provide community support services to elderly, hard of hearing or mentally impaired residential users;
to examine the ways video telephony applications can reduce the cost of social care and aid the integration of people with emotional or cognitive impairments into the community and away from residential institutions;
to identity the usage requirements for enhanced video telephony services for residential users, characterize the market place and promote the implementation of integrated broadband communications (IBC).
The research has resulted in the definition of a generic set of requirements for all end user groups, all service provider types and all sociocultural contexts to which advanced communications experiments apply. A set of support, service and service task scenarios have been developed, with corresponding network and hardware interconnection schemes. Trials at each of the ACE sites are currently in progress.
The principal components, with regard to social impact, of individual users sense of community have been identified:
increase in satisfaction with life;
perceived improvement in receipt of social support;
higher levels of self reported well being and self esteem;
improved physical and mental health and cognitiveperformance.
Initial results from the Irish ACE indicate that intellectually disabled clients have shown great interest in the new services, yielding an increase in self confidence and improved intercommunication skills. The United Kingdom trial has looked at the quality service requirements for british sign language (BSL) and spoken english and the use of a hybrid network solution (ie community antenna television (CATV) and a broadband local area network (BB LAN) with integrated services digital network (ISDN) interconnections). The Netherlands trial aims to demonstrate that ISDN video telephony can significantly improve the efficiency of extramural services for the perlingually deaf.
The project analysed the known application opportunities, and developed initial service specifications and requirements definitions. Evaluation criteria for comparison of different experiments are being established. Design requirements for equipment supporting each application have been specified and prototypes realised in mini-trials based on service centre operations and ergonomically tested (modified) terminals. Experiments have been set up and are now all running and collecting the usage, performance and usability data. The project also examines the next stage for transforming mature cable networks to IBC networks and is to demonstrate the applications on digital cable TV networks in Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium.
- Efficient and effective support for the elderly, sick and disabled people in their own homes and community.
- Removal of barriers to the integration of people into social groups and preventing their withdrawal from society.
Video telephony should facilitate better communication, be easier to use than the telephone and encourage much more natural social interaction. Users will be drawn more closely into their 'Tele-Community', thereby experiencing stronger feelings of belonging and self worth and decreased vulnerability to stress and health problems. This latter is vital for people who are frail due to age or disability. The demonstrations will also show the path for implementing these care applications for residential IBC users using mature cable TV networks.
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