Technologies to live more independent and active lives for longer
The AAL Forum 2016 was a huge success, with 39 exhibitors, 39 matchmaking meetings, 30 interactive sessions, 6 tracks and more than 450 delegates all gathering in St Gallen, Switzerland, to consider how to get ICT solutions that help older people live more connected, healthy lives at home for longer to market.
Innovations ready for breakthrough was the mantra at the annual AAL Forum 2016, which took place in St Gallen, Switzerland at the end of last month, with more than 450 researchers, technologists, start-up companies, investors, policy makers, health professionals, care associations and, of course, older people, gathering to discuss ICT and healthy ageing.
The AAL Programme is an EU-funded research programme dedicated to supporting research on innovative ICT-enhanced services for ageing, and the Forum is its annual event that brings together a wide and diverse range of key stakeholders in this market.
The growing ageing population is a major challenge facing European society, with the rising costs of long-term care and the challenges that affect the daily lives of older adults living longer with chronic disease put more and more pressure on our services.
However, the power of technology is now helping to give independence back to older adults, and demand for solutions that improve the quality of life for them and their carers is soaring. New, exciting devices, the internet of things and older people becoming more familiar with technology are all helping to open up massive possibilities.
The AAL recognizes this as a major opportunity and the Programme has been funding research for more than eight years to help integrate people into society for longer using ICT, while simultaneously nurturing a new market that can help boost the economy.
And it is now working hard to ensure that this research is delivering the products and services needed to meet the needs of older people in society. Many at the AAL Forum believe now that the market for these solutions is ready to be fully exploited and that AAL innovations are ready for breakthrough.
“We know that demand is rising,” says AAL Advisory Board member Peter Saraga. “We have more older people, while at the same time there is growing recognition that technology can not only help and enhance care services, but they can bring down costs.”
With this focus on market potential in mind, the discussions addressed routes to market, getting investment, ensuring products are developed with the end user firmly in the picture and what our neighbourhoods of the future will look like with the integration of technology into our homes.
The closing plenary was given by the AAL Vice President Daniel Egloff, who summed up the event and called on the delegates and everyone who is part of AAL to work hard over the following two days to better understand the issues, trends and policies within this growing market that will, ultimately, impact on us all.
Stakeholders that attended the event also have the opportunity to view many of the solutions that have emerged from AAL research from 39 exciting exhibits, while 30 interactive workshops ran over Tuesday and Wednesday along with various keynote speakers. Robots, apps, virtual and augmented reality, interactive TV and many more products and services are giving us a real glimpse of ageing in the future.
On Wednesday, 28 September at 11.00h, the Forum also saw the presentation of the first ever AAL Challenge Prize which was awarded to the best Internet of Things solution that helps older people live more connected lives. After an entry of more than 200 exciting products and services, a shortlist of five pitched their products at the special session, before finally Activ84health won the prize of €50,000.AAL Forum 2016 – The event closed with a bang and was a massive success.