The Internet of Things and wheelchair users
We’re just about to start refurbishing the communal areas in our adapted bungalows and we want to make the facilities we offer to our clients the very best we can.
We know that the Internet of Things is at the heart of a 21st century revolution which is bringing smart technology into every aspect of our homes and lives.
The technology that allows all our equipment and aids to communicate with each other via the internet – smart fridges, smart kettles, smart ovens etc – is only possible as the computer scientists develop artificial intelligence or AI to sci-fi style levels.
But up until recently the marketing of these AI gadgets connected through the Internet of Things was aimed at the cash-rich and time-poor super-cool consumer and any benefits for those with disabilities was a coincidental spin-off.
Now the developers – as with any new technology – are waking up to the way their new toys can be put to good use for those with disabilities. Recent advertising for Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant features the support it provides for someone who is visually impaired and also how it can help- elderly people with reduced mobility.
The rise of the smart home with connected speakers, fridges, ovens and thermostats and many others appliances is already starting to change the lives of wheelchair users allowing them to gain more independence and autonomy.
But there are some pitfalls to look out for particularly if you are looking for a range of interconnected devices.
So we’ll be looking out for certification by the Open Connectivity Foundation. The OCF works with manufacturers and consumers to ensure that all smart products can operate with each other regardless of their foundation system – e.g. Apple, Amazon or Google. It means that we can be confident our new products will all work together without having to be dependent on one particular brand.
We will also be making sure that our new smart devices are fully secured by software to avoid exploitation by cyber attackers.
So with all that in mind we would love to hear from all our clients, present and past, on what bits of smart kit have made a difference in their lives. We can then use your suggestions as we plan the upgrade on our communal areas. We look forward to hearing from you via our website at www.ethosgroup.co.uk or on email at firstname.lastname@example.org.