This week we have been on the air again, specifically on the Cadena Ser programme “De las Ondas a la Red”, talking about the importance of the Silver Economy and ambitious social projects such as zocaalo and IOANNA.
The CEO of Ideable, Iñaki Bartolomé, had an interesting chat with “Hoy por Hoy Bilbao” journalist, Azul Tejerina, in which the potential of a platform such as zocaalo was explained, as well as the importance of using new technologies to promote the active ageing of the elderly.
Here is the transcript of the full interview, which took place on Monday 12th November. If you prefer, you can listen to the recording by clicking on the following link:
CADENA SER: Iñaki Bartolomé, CEO of Ideable, is here with us. Hi Iñaki, how are you?
Today I’m here to present a programme that, if in the first part we were talking about European Consortiums for improving gene health and prognoses, in this case it is also Europe that is knocking on the door of something that is, shall we say, your child; it’s called zocaalo and it is already well established. Look it up if you’re in front of your phone or computer because we are very interested in how to improve the quality of life of the elderly, and that also has a lot to do with you, the guys at Ideable.
How’s the project going, Iñaki?
IÑAKI BARTOLOMÉ: Well, zocaalo is a project that emerged from the AAL programme. Just a few weeks ago the AAL Forum took place in Bilbao, making Bilbao the centre of European attention for everything to do with technology for improving the quality of life of the elderly.
Companies from across Europe take part in this programme with the common goal of using technology to improve the quality of life of the elderly, with the challenge we all have in mind: there are more and more elderly people, they must be looked after and technology must be an ally in this challenge.
CS: Sure, we’re talking about the elderly, but we’re also talking about the people around the elderly. There are an increasing number of people who are over 60, who keep up with the times and have smartphones, but the people who accompany them can also access zocaalo.
What can we find there, if we google it and go to it as we have in the program?
IB: Right now there’s a web portal where we can firstly find apps that have already been certified to be used by the elderly because of their design. They have a variety of tools and controls for phones and tablets which make it easier for the elderly to use them. How do you achieve this? What we do on the portal is offer style guides, and even a code for how to develop applications; we offer help to design these apps.
Companies and organisations that work with the elderly also participate. So, within the consortium there’s a Spanish company, from Madrid, and another Italian organisation, both of which give the elderly a voice in the design of this platform.
“There are more and more elderly people, they must be looked after and technology must be an ally in this challenge”.
CS: It’s very important to know how to listen to them and interpret how they can be helped. For example, in this case, which institutions are being supported? which one is behind it?
IB: There are different countries that are participating in the AAL programme and, in this case, the Provincial Council of Bizkaia has been working with it for some years now. This is also the reason that Bilbao hosted the AAL Forum a few weeks ago at the Euskalduna Conference Centre. So it is doing a very interesting job for companies in the Basque Country that, within the R&D field, are working with the elderly and technology so that we can have this international collaboration. And also for the actual companies and organisations that work directly with the elderly.
CS: Let me give you an example, which is also simple, because we are a local programme and we have a local focus. We have found this space easily: you can find hairdressers, beauty salons, home help services, shops that deliver the shopping for elderly people. Everything is possible here. We don’t want anybody to think this is only about nursing or healthcare…
IB: Of course. In fact, at the end of the day the Silver Economy isn’t only about monitoring health or cognitive stimulation. As part of IOANNA, another of the projects that we have now begun to work on in Europe, what we want to build is a network of specific products and services for the elderly. It has a two goals, firstly, for those people who perhaps can’t leave their home easily but still say “I want to look good and want the hairdresser to come round”, or “I need a chiropodist that comes to my home”, we offer these services that they can receive at home. And secondly, supporting local businesses, which we know are currently having serious problems competing with Amazon or large stores. Yet the elderly are still loyal customers for these local businesses. Of course, you have to know how to stand out and offer specific services for them, such as delivering fruit to their home, or what we were saying before about the hairdresser, the chiropodist or a dentist.
CS: That way we would avoid the “I haven’t seen him around here for a long time…”, which is very common in local shops.
IB: That “active listening” that is being talked about in communities. Well he doesn’t leave the house much but we’re delivering fruit to him every few days, or going to give her a makeover… So here we’re also trying to build a European platform where we put the elderly in touch with these local businesses and shops.
CS: This is called I-O-A-N-N-A. What stage is it at? Will it be up and running soon?
IB: The project began this year. European projects are usually long because, firstly, we have to define how we are going to do it, we have to cooperate with companies that work with the elderly, in addition to the elderly themselves. And then we have to pilot it. IOANNA is actually going to be piloted initially in Romania and Cyprus and, based on the results, we will try to promote it in Europe. It’s the same as what happened with zocaalo, which is a project that is now ending on 31st December.
“We’re also trying to build a European platform where we put the elderly in touch with these local businesses and shops”.
CS: It is important to distinguish between them: zocaalo on the one hand and IOANNA on the other hand. Let’s go back to zocaalo. Logging on to zocaalo, in the Marketplace I can see: SOS Deiak, Activi…
This Marketplace includes all the applications that have been uploaded and that you have certified?
IB: That’s right. Some are international, and there are a few, like Kwido, that we have developed at Ideable, which we have designed right from the start with the intention of providing accessibility and usability for the elderly.
So, the challenge now is above all for companies developing these programs to go through this process of certification with two aims: to make it clearer, firstly, how apps are designed for the elderly, and secondly, how the apps can be used.
CS: I have the feeling that all of this is here to stay, but those who don’t have access to it should pay attention, because it’s going to be necessary, and we will have to get people on our side. When we say: I don’t know where to find it, I don’t know what I can do… elderly care, health and fitness, productivity, communication, sports, society, travel and guides…All of it can be found here; I understand that all of these categories are growing, right Iñaki?
IB: Yes, we also try to provide help to these groups because in Google Play or in the App Store there are indeed millions of apps, so it is difficult to look for the one that has the best quality. In this case we also try to do this task, and it was created with this objective. Right now we are taking the first steps, but the first steps in a project that is ending and is being launched on the market.
CS: You have some apps which are free, but I have to point out that you have others that are not. Mementia, for example, isn’t.
IB: Yes, some of them do in fact have a small cost. For example, cognitive stimulation, mainly for professionals, has a small cost. But we also try to inform people of this, as much as possible.
“In Google Play or in the App Store there are indeed millions of apps, so it is difficult to look for the one that has the best quality”.
CS: People are informed. In this case it’s 50 euros, but not in the other cases. For example: BusBahnBim. I don’t even know how to pronounce it! It’s about travel, isn’t it?
IB: Yes, it’s an app from another country related to mobility.
CS: Well, there’s a bit of everything, but there’s still more. If someone’s listening and has an idea for an app which is related to the Silver Economy or old age: can they come and upload it?
IB: Of course. They can come and register. What’s more, since we’re still part of the AAL programme this year, it’s free to register and upload an app, certify it, etc. So you should make the most of it before the 31st of December.
CS: Iñaki Bartolomé, CEO of Ideable, we’ll let you get back to work. Thanks for meeting the listeners of Hoy por Hoy Bilbao.
IB: Thank you