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SMaRT Messenger Pilot Project: NCHA HOST2

   

August 2015 to February 2016

LISU worked with Nottingham Community Housing Association (NCHA) on a pilot project that resulted from a prior research collaboration between Loughborough University and NCHA. The SMaRT Messenger Pilot Project accessed the development of a device by which messages can be sent to the television screens of older and vulnerable people.

This research project had two objectives. NCHA was interested whether the Care Messenger system enhances their service for their clients and in its commercial potential to market to other agencies. Loughborough University explored the possibilities of the system in terms of increasing digital inclusion and communication. The pilot scheme evaluated the installation of the device into the homes of people living at four different locations served by NCHA in the East Midlands.

SMaRT Messenger grew out of a previous joint project between Professor Mark Hepworth and Wendy Olphert of Loughborough University and NCHA. This was part of an EU project for assistive technologies, HOST. The technology for the original project was found to have limitations and was therefore radically altered to form SMaRT Messenger. During the second project, Dr Marianne Bamkin (Loughborough University), found that certain participants felt safer and reassured that someone cared for them by having SMaRT Messenger in their home.

SMaRT Messenger allows NCHA staff or the family and friends of clients to send multiple choice questions straight to the televisions of frail and vulnerable people. The message is received when the television is turned on and the recipient then uses their remote control to select one of the possible answers. The message could be to simply check the person is feeling well, or to remind them to take medication and can also be used to send photographs and good will messages from family members. 

The SMaRT Messanger was a finalist in the Sector Care Awards. The ceremony was held in London on 7th December 2016 where it was announced that SMaRT Messenger had won the Technology award. The awards are given for innovation and care excellence given by not-for-profit care and support providers and this is the third year that they have been running.

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