For the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population will live to see their sixtieth birthday. I’m sure I’m not the only one who shares in the surprise that it has taken this long to reach this milestone. By 2050, it’s estimated that 2.1 billion of the worldwide population will be aged 60 or over. Evidently, our world is ageing and with that come challenges as well as opportunities for innovation.
We’ve seen most countries respond to this demographic shift by increasing the retirement age and reducing pension benefits as well as budgets for elderly care. Living longer doesn’t seem to mean living healthier or happier, at least for some people. However, the proliferation of technology and emergence of smart cities provide a chance for the older generation to live their golden years with a healthy dose of independence, dignity, and freedom. At first I was skeptical, as I had never imagined AI technology and the older generation going hand-in hand. Maybe, this is because I had spent half of my weekend teaching my 84 year old Nan how to log into her email account, and am constantly reminding her that there is no need to begin every text message with ‘dear’. But, I digress.
VIA Smart Residential Building Solutions make it easier for the elderly to continue to live independently no matter whether they are tech-savvy or technophobes. These solutions lower the barriers imposed by age, whilst giving residents a much needed extra layer of security in the event of an accident or emergency. They come with easy to use interfaces that can be operated by anyone, even my Nan. The VIA Smart Doorbell, for example, displays footage of visitors in stunning FHD resolution, and the accompanying VIA Smart Home Automation Tablet can be navigated with ease thanks to its clear icons, making it accessible to those with eyesight problems. Features like those aim to help elderly citizens take control of their own security and lives.
Our VIA Smart Video Intercom Security System is equipped with two-way audio with which residents can see and communicate with security personnel or visitors in-real time. Not only does this allow building staff to check on the wellbeing of residents, but is also allows everybody to socially engage within the community, which reduces feelings of isolation. Something as simple as accepting their own grocery delivery, rather than having to rely on a family member, can make a huge difference. Smart residential buildings can create supportive environments in which people can maintain a good quality of life.
Despite the benefits of a more independent lifestyle, elderly citizens living on their own are more vulnerable to becoming victims of crime. In 2014, a study in the UK found that 85% of those over 65 were victims of doorstep crime. Doorstep crime does not just involve blatant burglaries, but includes scams offering fake services or work. These types of crimes target people over 65 as they are believed to be more vulnerable and may be physically weaker. Luckily, intelligent technology can help combat those issues. Having a VIA Home Automation Tablet not only allows residents to verify the identity of the visitor, but it also acts as a buffer to any intimidation tactics. With its seamless cloud connectivity, residents can even communicate with visitors at the door when they are not at home through an app on their smartphones – preventing opportunists breaking into an empty home. For worst case scenarios, our intelligent tablets are fitted with SOS alarms that can instantly alert the building’s security guards.
Smart homes are popping everywhere, facilitating a more livable future for all. While advancements in smart residential technology spell out a myriad of exciting and fully integrated features, it’s also worth noting that these same features can make a significant difference in helping the elderly lead happy and independent lives through their golden years.
Written by Georgie Daulton, PR, Social Media and Marketing Communications intern at VIA, and undergraduate International Business student at the University of the West of England.