Final report: SMaRT messenger pilot project

2016-05-25T10:14:56Z (GMT) by Marianne Bamkin Mark Hepworth
The SMaRT Messenger Pilot Project is an extension of a previous collaboration between Nottingham Community Housing Association (NCHA) and Loughborough University. Research at the university has contributed to the development of a device by which messages can be sent to the television screens of older and vulnerable people. For example, such messages might: • Alert them to take medication • Remind them of appointments • Send them information of interest • Communicate with friends and family This research project has two objectives. NCHA would like to use the SMaRT Messenger system as a commercial product to enhance their service for their clients and to market to other agencies. Loughborough University, on the other hand, is interested in the digital inclusion of older and vulnerable people and the use of a television based messenger system to facilitate communication and Information to that portion of society. This one year study has investigated the utility of the device as perceived by participants in three different locations served by NCHA. A three phase survey was conducted of people who are testing the system in their own homes. A subgroup of participants was questioned through SMaRT messenger and five people were interviewed face to face. The system has been designed to enable communication between people who receive support from NCHA in their own home and NCHA staff, family and friends and other relevant services. The target audience is people who are not highly competent users of digital communication, such as emails or social media sites, and who have underlying or deteriorating health conditions, live independently with a strong functional support system. The findings indicate that a television based messenger system is an important way of communication for such a limited audience, giving them the feeling of reassurance and inclusion in society.