Blackwood Homes and Care
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The problem

There are almost 12 million over 65s in the UK. A figure that is expected to rise to 14.3m by 2025. Research has shown that people want to remain at home living independently for as long as possible. But the ageing population is putting greater pressure on health and social care services to provide for people’s care needs and ensure they are safe while living as independent a lifestyle as possible.

An AI solution

This project aims to enable people to live as independently as possible at home for longer, while reducing strain on health and social care and ensuring safety. Blackwood Homes and Care, a specialist housing and care provider, is applying AI to smart energy meter data in its homes to detect patterns of daily living and monitor for changes. The AI uses machine learning to build up a picture of a person’s routine by monitoring their energy usage. The system will then flag unusual events such as not putting the kettle on as usual in the morning, or having the shower on for an abnormal length of time, and generate an alert so people can check on residents. The project does not require specialist equipment to be installed or the resident to use wearable technology such as a smartwatch, fall monitor or an alarm pendant, making adoption of the technology easier. Users will have full control of their data and how it is used and the system will be set up to trigger an alert initially to the individual and then to a family member or Blackwood’s own care staff.

As all UK households will be equipped with a smart meter in the near future, the service can be rolled out widely once developed. Funding from AI for Good is helping Blackwood Homes and Care to scale and deploy the technology and make a business case to develop it to a full scale commercial product to benefit citizens not just in Scotland but across the UK and Europe.

This project is led by Colin Foskett, head of innovation at Blackwood Homes and Care in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, Mydex, Carebuilder and DataLab. The project has received funding from Nesta in Scotland’s AI for Good programme.