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PROGRESSIVE Report Summary

Project ID: 727802
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.1.4.


Reporting period: 2016-10-01 to 2017-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The main objective of the PROGRESSIVE project is the development of a sustainable framework, backed up by guidelines that will improve the contribution of standards for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the context of Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA). The project responds to three main challenges: demographic change, the rapid development of ICT, and the changing position of standards.

Challenge 1: Demographic Change

Improved health and longevity means an increasing number of older people in Europe. This is a challenge because older people have often left the workplace, and may be marginalised. Some older people experience difficulties relating to their physical or cognitive status that can impair their ability to participate as fully as they would wish.

The PROGRESSIVE project sees part of its role as changing mindsets so that the consciousness of the National Standards Bodies (NSBs), among others, is raised – with a view to the future form of standards taking account of the needs of older people as active citizens and consumers rather than dependents.

Challenge 2: The Rapid Development of ICT

The digital world poses a particular challenge for some older people because they may not have worked in digitally rich environments and not have had opportunities to develop digital skills. Others may be hampered because of poor accessibility (or unaffordability) of some ICT based products and services.

The PROGRESSIVE project recognises potential benefits to older people of being digitally literate. But the context is one where as well as encouragement being given to older people there is a responsibility of designers to ensure that ICT products and services are accessible and usable.

Challenge 3: The Changing Position of Standards

Standards underpin the configuration of our products and services. They provide important safeguards. Their development in the arena of older people, however, often takes place in a way that does not adequately reflect an AHA perspective.

The PROGRESSIVE project recognises the part that is played by standards and sees their safeguarding role as increasing. Nevertheless, the contribution of standards can be hampered because of the insufficient recognition of the importance of AHA. The challenge is about changing mindsets, but it is also about practical measures to ensure that the voice of older people is heard in the standards development process.

PROGRESSIVE’s Underpinning Principles, Consultation, and Engagement

PROGRESSIVE’s approach to standards development is highly principled. Strong ethical reference points relate to the language of the project and ethical tenets that have been identified. Terms and phrases that are ageist or redolent of old age stereotypes are not used. With regard to ethical tenets for the ICT and AHA, ten main ones have been identified:

• Accessibility and Usability
• Affordability
• Autonomy and Empowerment
• Beneficence / Non-maleficence
• Care, Protection and Support
• Empowerment
• Equity / Equality and Justice
• Inclusion, Non-discrimination and Social Impact
• Interoperability
• Privacy, Safety and Security.

PROGRESSIVE has adopted and adapted – the World Health Organization (WHO) ‘flower’ to help determine domains that relate to the lives of older people. The topic areas on the flower are cross-referenced against employment, education and training; participation in society; and independent living. This provides a matrix that has helped identify different use cases. These inform debates within the project and are helping to identify gaps relating to standards in the area of ICT for AHA.

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

PROGRESSIVE’s main results in Year 1 relate to initial building-blocks. These include consultations, a database, and an online platform. Thirty use cases have been identified. A major event in Brussels showcased PROGRESSIVE’s state-of-play. PROGRESSIVE’s publicity and dissemination materials, including its website, have brought solid information about the project’s work to the attention of the public.

The ethical underpinnings of the project are signalled in the WP1; in the Guidance Note for Partners on Terms (D1.3); and are made explicit in the WP2 report (D2.1) that sets out the project’s ethical framework.

The evaluation and monitoring framework is set out in the WP3 (D3.1). This provides a system for partners to input information to be used to monitor progress against quantitative performance measures. A project flier (D4.1) is used by all partners to raise awareness at different fora; and the website established at D5.1 is integrated with the interactive platform that holds information on relevant standards (D6.1). Further awareness has been promoted through press releases (D5.2); tweets, blog posts and items on the project website; and through presentations at events by project partners (D5.4).

High expectations are, therefore, justified, in relation to key deliverables that will respond to the challenges of the demographic change, the rapid development of ICT, and the changing position of standards. These expectations will be met through a substantial increase the content and richness of the content of the integrated website (D5.1) and interactive platform (D6.1); and the setting up of an organisation by which the work of the project can continue (D5.5).

Finally, key and authoritative guidance documents around co-production (D9.1); interoperability (D7.2); age-friendly communities (D8.1); and smart homes (D10.1) will be in place and will add strength to the project’s intention to change mindsets.

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 challenges facing the PROGRESSIVE project relate to a number of urgent and contemporary issues. These were ‘captured’ in large part at the beginning of this summary. In response to these, the project adopts ‘state of the art’ thinking to ensure that developments in ICT for AHA are accompanied by appropriate safeguards. In the face of changing positions on standards, it is aiming to get older adults and their representatives more involved in the standards development process, and to ensure that the standards themselves increasingly respond to the AHA agenda.
The project does not, therefore, grasp at technological solutions in an unthinking manner, since to do this would be to subordinate the importance of AHA to the market forces that are the main drivers of technological development. Rather there is recognition of the importance of standards to help ensure the development and adoption of necessary safeguards in our rapidly developing world of new technologies. In this context PROGRESSIVE will help put in place the preconditions for standards that promote products and services that are, for instance, accessible, affordable, inclusive, safe and interoperable. These preconditions will include increased awareness among NSBs and other stakeholders of the rights, needs and choices of older people; and, it is envisaged, will reflect the increasingly widespread adoption of processes and procedures that involve, wherever appropriate, the participation of older people or older people’s organisations in the standardisation process.
In this way, the PROGRESSIVE project is committed to deliverables that both relate to ‘state of the art’ thinking and will, in its influence on the shape and content of future standards, promote a new vision for standards around ICT for AHA.

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