Government Office for Science Foresight project 'Analysing the Challenges and Opportunities of an Ageing Society'

Digital Connectivity for Older People: Roundtable Event

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Government Office for Science (GO Science) jointly organised a roundtable event in Westminster on July 16th 2014. The event will form part of and feed into the ongoing Government Office for Science Foresight project on 'Analysing the Challenges and Opportunities of an Ageing Society'.

The event aimed to inform these government intiatives on what is currently known and what has worked well. In particular where digital inclusion could make a real difference to an ageing population. The roundtable brought together groups representing older people, practitioners working in the community using these services, academics, industry representatives, Local Authorities and other policy makers. SiDE was represented by Marianne Dee whose role was to feed back the importance of finding out and listening to the voice of the users and non users of new technologies. 

This is the first of a series of consultations. This initial roundtable included various examples of good practice and innovative ways of harnessing technologies for enhancing local services. The organisers plan to circulate all of the findings from the various groups who were working on the following questions:

  1. What is the body of evidence that shows the impact of digital technology on independent living?
  2. What are the emerging insights that need to be factored into the forward planning of services?
  3. What are the options for factoring in older peoples' views and experience in terms of service design and co-production?
  4. What role can technology play in enabling older people to maintain and build relationships and connections?
  5. How might improved knowledge transfer between interested parties (public, private, research, voluntary sectors) support "better for less" outcomes?

A summary list emerging from the roundtable were:

  • The need to strip down basic technologies, like phones and computers, and make them simpler to use.
  • Free WiFi for local communities
  • Ethical codes of conduct that are explicit
  • Wearable computing, Implantable, Telecare and TeleMed made simple
  • Need for community 'champions' to help normalise the interface and useage. 
  • Keeping the User at the heart of any technological design.
  • 'Peer to Peer' influence to be supported and encouraged
  • Useable, Useful, Accessible, Social and Intuitively designed technologies
  • Tailored and Personalised Health Care Support
  • Wearable technologies - user centred design
  • Significance of Citizen's Rights and the danger of disenfranchising digitally disengaged citizens.
  • Emphasise the context and relevance of local engagement and the 'peer to peer' effect with a supporting infrastructure, e.g., WiFi, wearables, use of familiar technologies like TV and phone.
  • Identification of a minimum level of digital engagement for all - social links with technical links.
  • Build on existing infrastructures and use established contacts and links to ensure maximum involvement and dissemination.


Event Details
  • A Workshop
Location Details
Business Innovation and Skills Conference Centre

1 Victoria Street
United Kingdom

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