AAL Forum 2021 Blog


Smarter neighbourhoods of the future

The AAL Forum will be joining forces with the Agile Ageing Alliance (AAA) and the European Commission on Wednesday, September 28 to present Neighbourhoods of the Future, a fact finding Roadshow, which has been touring Europe over the past six months.

Neighbourhoods of the Future has been bringing together a variety of influential stakeholders from the digital, construction, health/social care, finance, security and 3rd sectors to discuss the development of innovative new-build and retrofit home environments specifically designed to empower the ageing population to live more meaningful, connected lives.

According to AAA founder Ian Spero, who chaired last year’s AAL Forum in Ghent : “The Roadshow is a European Commission initiative which aims to gather consensus from stakeholders working across the Silver Economy to inform development of the European reference Framework for Age Friendly Homes, with a view to accelerating development of smarter age inclusive homes, that will empower citizens to enjoy more meaningful, healthy and creative lives, seizing new opportunities for learning and social engagement.”

Ian is keen to hear from as many AAL Forum delegates as possible and to this end you may be approached by AAL communications partner Insight and questioned about your views on the initiative and these will then be disseminated to inform the European Reference Framework.

It is estimated that around 75 per cent of the EU’s current housing stock is not suitable for independent living, while only some new-build housing schemes are embracing the concept of smart homes. This provides a huge opportunity for the development of new and retrofit solutions and the European Commission has taken the initiative to drive this agenda by means of a European roadshow of interconnected Innovation Workshops, such as Neighbourhoods of the Future to drive this opportunity forward.

The AAL Forum, of course, is a natural home for this important discussion topic, with smart homes a key enabling factor in much of the technology being developed by AAL projects and the Internet of Things being at the core of much of the AAL’s current thinking.

Over the past decade AAL has invested more than 400 million Euros to initiate ICT-based solutions which support older adults in their daily life. So far only a few of projects have found their way on to the market and none has had a major impact.

According to Urs Guggenbuehl, who has developed the agenda for this year’s AAL Forum: “The industry churns out a lot of connected devices which could support AAL solutions but there are still no real breakthrough solutions on the market.”

The reasons for this evident lack of success for AAL in the market place will be addressed at the Neighbourhoods of the Future sessions starting at 9.00am and 2.00pm. Questions addressed will include: Are the products and services not good enough? Do AAL projects need to initiate better business concepts and marketing techniques? Are older adults actually ready to engage in new digitally-enabled products and services?

Chaired by Urs Guggenbuehl and Ian Spero, of Creative Skills for Life, who is heading up the roadshow along with Alexander Peine of Utrecht University, the sessions will also asks how we can leverage maximum benefit (economic and social) from new technologies in the home?

A distinguished panel of experts will be on hand to discuss all factors contributing towards innovative solutions that will promote growth in the construction of smarter age friendly homes and environments.

Contributing experts include:

  • Peter Wintlev-Jensen – ‎Deputy Head of Unit at DG Connect
  • Simon Butler – Arup Sector Lead -Healthy Cities and Ageing Societies
  • Dawid Konotey-Ahulu – Director Redington Finance, Founder Partnership for Change (P4C),
  • Álvaro Fides Valero – Interoperability and Connectivity in smart home universAAL IoT specialist 
  • Alexander Peine – Gerontechnologist and Professor of Science, Technology and Innovation Studies at Utrecht University
  • Philip Osl – Co- founder and CEO of Amiona AG. Head of the competence centre for independent living at the University of St.Gallen within the institute of information management
  • Michelle Hawkins – Head of Future’s at Virgin Care
  • Natalia Bezzola – Village Council, Speicher Switzerland
  • Lindo Deambrosi – Swiss Senior Council

The sessions take place on Wednesday, September 28:
– 9.00-10.30, Halle 9.1.2/Rosso
– 14.00-15.30, Halle 9.0C


Agile Ageing Alliance

Neighbourhoods of the Future is produced and directed by the Agile Ageing Alliance which aims to identify like-minded private, public and 3rd sector stakeholders willing to join forces to champion the needs and rights of European citizens to enjoy their later years with dignity and (where possible) autonomy, in their own technologically enabled smarter homes and neighbourhoods.

Watch the video


For more information about the AAL and the AAL Forum, visit: https://www.aalforum.eu/