Using the internet of things to increase independence for disabled people.
Case Study: Innovate Trust
Innovate Trust is a Welsh charity that supports disabled people to live independent lives. They started as a student volunteering project and have grown to a professional service, which famously developed the UK’s first ever Supported Living house for people with learning disabilities. As a charity that prides itself on innovation, it’s vital that they can adapt to and make use of the opportunities that technology brings.
“There’s massive potential for supporting independence… such as older people maintaining themselves in their homes for longer with the use of such devices.”
CEO, Innovate Trust and Code Champion
Innovate Trust has always supported disabled people to live independent lives, but the world around them is changing fast. The charity was keen to explore the opportunities brought by the internet of things - and particularly the voice and motion controlled personal assistants that we mostly know as Alexa and Google Home. With something so new and unknown, they had to ensure the work was user-led and that they could adapt quickly to what they learned.
The Charity Digital Code of Practice offered helpful guidance and structure for Innovate Trust when they started using the internet of things to support people. The principle of adaptability was really important in how they ran the project. They involved the individuals who would use the devices through person-centred planning and shared their learning by producing video and uploading it through digital channels.
Adaptability means having the confidence to seize the opportunities that new technology offers. It also means doing things quickly, learning from successes and challenges- and sharing that beyond the initial project.
The project has been successful in supporting people to be more independent in their communities and is linking with partners including universities and Housing Associations. Innovate Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, Nick French, said:
“What we’ve realised is, outside of the individuals that we support, there’s massive potential for supporting independence… such as older people maintaining themselves in their homes for longer with the use of such devices.”