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Smart Meters Supporting Care in the Community

The In Home Displays SmartHub CAD product was used as part of a recent project to look at how smart metering and AI could be used to support independent living.

'How a kettle could help keep older people safe': Source: BBC News


Using data collected from smart meters to monitor and disaggregate the use of household appliances and electrical items, machine learning/AI can map activity and energy usage patterns of the elderly or vulnerable. 

The device uses a hub process algorithm, which means all the data can be processed at the property, rather than at a central point. Together with an industry-leading personal data store, this puts the individual in full control over who can see and access the data associated with their household.

If a change in habit occurs, for example where the person usually wakes up and boils a kettle to make tea by 8am, the monitoring device will identify this as normal behaviour. However, if the kettle has not been turned on by 9am, they will receive an automated text message. If there is no response, an alert will be sent to their nominated contacts – a family member, carer, neighbour, or a response service – who will be notified to check on them.

As well as being a major supplier of in-home displays to major energy companies as part of the UK smart metering roll out, IHDL is developing enhanced products to support the future smart home.

Pauline Swarbrick, IHDL Business Development Director, said: “With changing demographics, such initiatives are invaluable in helping maintain high quality independent living and literally save lives.  We are delighted with the positive results of this project and look forward to participating in the development of this and other healthy ageing and alternative energy efficiency knowledge solutions”

Stephen Milne, director of strategic projects at CENSIS, said: “This project is all about repurposing energy data to help inform social care and supporting healthy aging. The system learns the typical activity of the individual living in the household and then spots any erratic behaviour, helping to identify when they may have issues.

“While there are other technologies related to monitoring activity, this is the first full service deployment that has been implemented through passively monitoring a property’s smart meter system. The device can also pick out each item being monitored, making it much more likely to spot any anomalies, and is barely noticeable for the householder.

Lynda Webb, senior researcher in the School of Informatics, the University of Edinburgh, said: “The idea of monitoring electricity use in the home, for spotting if a person might need help, was first conceptualised 10 years ago. It is so exciting to see the application of this idea and the years of algorithm development becoming a service which is already impacting the lives of people in the trial.”


Lindley Kirkpatrick, Peoplehood programme manager at Blackwood Homes, said: “The development of this new device utilising AI technology could … prove to be one of the most exciting that we have seen. For carers and loved ones to get ahead of time notice of potential medical emergencies as well as the onset of conditions of dementia is of huge importance.”


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