Modern technologies connect the elderly to an active social life | SIVECO Romania

Modern technologies connect the elderly to an active social life

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Based on innovative technologies, advanced processes and the new software technologies, the European research & innovation project STAGE provides the elderly with virtual access to shows, concerts, theatre plays or exhibitions

Isolation from society can be difficult for the senior citizens who can no longer interact with the world around them, and the reasons why can be very different. A study undergone in 2013 showed that 20% of the elderly had not participated in various cultural events for economic reasons, 15% because the offer did not meet their preferences, but for most of them the difficulty was related to reaching the event’s location.

The concern for meeting this challenge of the modern society, imminent in any country, is reflected in many of the current research projects.

In this context, the STAGE project proposes a modern solution for maintaining an active cultural life of the elderly who cannot directly attend cultural events (shows, concerts, theater plays, exhibitions etc.) due to mobility issues, economic or geo-spatial constraints. Practically, they are provided with access solutions based on technological innovation, advanced processes and new software technologies.

STAGE is a European research & innovation project, funded within the AAL program - Ambient Assisted Living, field of Living Actively and Independently at Home, launched in March 2016 at European level and which will be developed for a period of 30 months.

SIVECO Romania is part of the consortium selected by the European Commission for the project implementation, along with the project coordinator – National Research Council, Institute for Construction Technologies in Italy and other 7 partners - CEDEO di Chiariglione Leonardo EC, Accademia Nazionale Cultura Sportiva (Italy), Georama LLC (Cyprus), ASM Market Research and Analysis Centre Ltd. (Poland), Pannon Business Network Association (Hungary), KARMA Interactive LTD (Hungary), and Materia Group - AgeCare Ltd (Cyprus).

A web platform shall be developed within the project with open-source components by means of which the elderly will have access to cultural events and entertainment with help of video streaming solutions. The cultural events will be sent by means of an easy to use technology, along with other facilities provided by a dedicated social network and specific informative content.

In order to meet the requirements and expectations of the project users, the platform shall be developed by applying a methodology of co-design type. Practically, the users shall be directly involved in defining the platform’s interface, so that to meet their preferences regarding the usefulness, accessibility, esthetics and types of devices they are about to use. Developers will closely interact with potential users, within co-design meetings and workshops.

The users’ preferences regarding the type and variety of cultural events that are to be included in the platform will also be considered. The partner cultural associations, which represent the secondary users group in the project, will provide information to meet the preferences expressed by the elderly, providing also consultancy regarding the platform’s usage.

Up to the project’s current phase, the profiles of final users, their cultural preferences, their level of experience as regards the digital devices use, as well as other information have been established, so that future activities in the project shall meet the elderly’ needs and preferences, both from the cultural and technical point of view.

A graphic user interface was developed and tested too, a prototype version of the STAGE platform where cultural and entertainment events have been published, events made available by the cultural institutions, as the elderly have access to the events by means of live streaming type of solutions.

In 3 out of the 5 partner countries (Cyprus, Hungary and Italy), pilot projects have been launched in order to carry out the co-design, a key element of the project, but also for the phased implementation, development and customization of the STAGE platform depending the users’ actual requirements and needs.

SIVECO Romania is involved in defining the technical requirements (functional and non-functional) of the STAGE platform’s architecture, contributing also to the process of developing the final version by implementing the component of Portal type and its integration with the video streaming component, with the aim of managing the profiles of final users and the institutions to promote the cultural events on the video streaming platform.

At the same time, SIVECO will develop also eLearning functionality and a series of functionalities dedicated to communicating within the platform. Thus, by integrating dedicated functionalities into the platform, similar to social networks, social involvement is encouraged, as the users have the possibility to express their own ideas by awarding grades and posting comments regarding the cultural events viewed. Information will be provided on the events available (for example the historical and cultural context of the original works) by means of a functionality of eLearning type.

The STAGE platform can be accessed from various viewing media, its compatibility with the mobile technology being ensured through the responsive web design feature of the technology used.

The project’s website can be accessed at http://stage-aal.eu.