Smart Homes – An Intelligent Answer to Healthcare Challenges
Technology can help health care systems cope with the challenges posed by Northern Ireland’s growing ageing population.
An international conference organised by the University of Ulster, which will be held next month, will explore how the development of “smart homes” will enable elderly people to live independently outside of healthcare institutions but still within easy reach of healthcare provision.
Ageing people, with or without disabilities, have a right to be included within healthcare strategy. They have a right to live independent lives near to their circles of carers, friends and families. They also want to live in a secure environment, having control over the access to their homes, for example.
Dr Chris Nugent, conference Chairman, said: “Smart homes offer these kinds of facilities while promoting and maintaining the functional independence of ageing people though automation. Functions like turning heating on or off, which in turn can promote cost savings to those with limited energy budgets.”
The 4th International Conference on Smart Homes & Health Telematics, called ICOST2006, which will be held at the Culloden Hotel on 26-28 June, will give healthcare professionals the opportunity to learn about the development of “smart homes” for independent living.
Prof Bernie Hannigan - Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research & Innovation at the University of Ulster, said, “This conference has been held previously in France, Singapore, and Canada and it is a great coup for Northern Ireland and the University of Ulster to be hosting the 2006 event.”
ICOST2006 aims to continue to develop an active research community dedicated to explore how Smart Homes and Health Telematics can foster independent living and offer an enhanced quality of life for ageing and disabled people.
ICOST2006 will cover a range of technical areas, including Intelligent Environments, Personal Robotics and Smart Wheelchairs, Cognitive Devices, Wearable Sensors, Medical Data Collection and Processing, Home Networks, as well as Social, Privacy and Security Issues.
Maurice Mulvenna, senior lecturer in Computer Science at UU, said, “The conference covers technical as well as wider societal and non-technical aspects of smart homes for independent living. As such, it has broad appeal to many people working in healthcare professions in Northern Ireland, including medical doctors and nurses and support staff, occupational therapists, charitable providers of services to ageing and disabled people, health trust professionals and decision makers, as well as those involved in social housing provision.”