The AAL Award is one of the main highlights of the forum, in which three projects present their goals and business case in front of a panel of judges and the audience. The award is intended to recognise the most promising project of the AAL Programme. The winner must show that it demonstrates great promise in terms of innovation, a human-centric approach to development, and excellent market potential.
The format of the award is conceived in an effort to enable the project’s coordinator and consortium to work with a more market-oriented attitude. The final contest is inspired to the style of the “Dragon’s Den” where each project pitches to convince the panel of evaluators and the audience.
Each presenter has five minutes to explain the level of innovation – in terms of novelty of concept; approach to the development of the solution from both technological and social perspectives; the level and quality of end-user integration and potential to improve the quality of life for older adults, their families, carers and significant others; and the market potential for the project – based on the analysis and understanding of the current and future AAL market trends as well as competition.
Here we hear from Martin Morandell, a member of the RelaxedCare project, which last year won the Public Choice award.
What was the AAL Award process prior to the main event at the forum like?
It was a three-step process. The whole consortium was involved in preparing for the event from the very beginning. When we were selected to present at the AAL Forum, we concentrated on preparing a perfect pitch. We had to think about who our audience was and learned a lot about how to present.
How did you find the experience of presenting your product at the forum?
RelaxedCare put a strong focus on design and simplicity. We were well prepared with a professional pitch, combined with demos at the booths. From the very beginning RelaxedCare was liked by the AAL-community and we received lots of positive feedback. It was a great and valuable experience that strengthened the whole project idea and spirit.
Do you feel that participating in the award has helped you?
Winning the AAL public award 2015 brought a lot of attention to our projects, including media and business contacts. The whole process helped us learn how to present the project to a non-scientific audience. We all learned a lot and it was a great experience.
How is RelaxedCare going now?
RelaxedCare is now in the final project phase. We are currently executing field trials in Austria and Switzerland. Besides this, we are currently developing ideas for the future, including business possibilities and further research projects. Even though the project ends soon, our ideas will be followed up in the future in many ways.