• Smart living for people with disability

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Robert Elkson, DVISE Solutions; Phil Piggott, Clipsal and Schneider Electric Partner Business; Josh Ling, DVISE Solutions; Peter Laggozino, Clipsal and Schneider Electric Partner Business; and Andrew Fragnito, DVISE Solutions. “Ever since I was eight it’s been my dream to leave home and live in my own apartment and be independent so I can show my parents all the things they have taught me. Now it’s a dream come true.” —Tenant, Smart Living Apartment, Woodville West.

The Smart Living Apartments in Woodville West, SA are part of a new development called “The Square,” a vision of Renewal SA to create multi-story dwellings; secure and compact housing for people who want an alternative to a traditional suburban home.

Eight of the apartments have been designed and built specifically for people with disabilities. Packed with cutting edge technology, the apartments represent an impressive statement of how advancements in integrated technologies can make a profound difference in assisting people to live an independent lifestyle.

Creating independency and inclusion
“Disability services are moving in the direction of smart living, fostering inclusion,” said Steve Alexander, Manager, Community Transition, Disability Services, Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI).

Steve was the driving force behind the project and it was his vision to support people with disability to live in an apartment block using assistive technology. “We are working together to provide dwellings that offer a good life and we hope this heralds future initiatives.”

Tony Piccolo MP, Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, described the project as a real community effort between the South Australian Government, and all the technology partners involved, including Jackson Care Technologies and Clipsal by Schneider Electric™.

“We’re using cutting edge technology to provide more independent living. It’s great technology, using mobile phones and web tablets to create concierge connectivity that raises alarms such as spikes in temperatures, and notification of people arriving and leaving. It’s the way of the future and gives independence.”

Collaboration leads to integration
Providing the level of technology required was no easy feat and in fact was a collaboration of many and took more than two years to achieve. Flinders University was engaged to define the technology specifications and workflows in conjunction with end-users, and called upon the expertise of Clipsal by Schneider Electric and Bob Cross Electrical, who did the C-Bus fit-out which included touch screens, movement sensors and C-Bus Avanti switches. These feature large oversized mechanisms for soft and easy operation. C-Bus approved installers and systems integrators, DVISE Solutions were brought in to the project to undertake the programming of the system.

A new level of security and independence
Filled with natural light, the single bedroom apartments are spacious, comfortable and modern. Doorways are wider then conventional apartments while kitchen appliances are set low for wheelchair access. Bathroom and bedroom areas are tasteful yet specifically designed to facilitate quick and easy access. But what really sets the apartments apart is the level of integrated technology that allows the tenants to live on their own, arrive, leave and welcome guests at will, yet with immediate onsite support whenever needed. The technologies included a new IP emergency call system from Jackson Care Technologies, environmental controls and communications devices all integrated onto one system.

Keys are not necessary to enter the Smart Living apartments. Tenants enter the building and their apartment via remote access, either on their remote controls or web tablet. The doors not only unlock but open fully to allow the tenant in their wheelchair to pass through.

“Once inside, tenants using the same controls can operate lighting, turn on air conditioning and even operate the TV,” said Josh Ling, systems integrator, DVISE Solutions.

This is made possible with the addition of the popular C-Bus Wiser™ Home Control, a gateway to the home’s entire network. From simple control of a few devices, to complete home automation, Wiser offers a whole new level of convenience and functionality.

Scenes have also been programed into the C-Bus system: a welcome scene operates lighting and air-conditioning, while a goodbye scene ensures all lighting, air-conditioning and appliances are turned off and also arms the security system.

The C-Bus system integrates into the overarching web based communication system developed by Jackson Care Technologies. The technology reaches an entirely new level through access to the concierge service. The concierge service connects each apartment allowing additional support and coordination 24/7 at the touch of a button or tablet icon. The concierge, located in the apartment complex, can control the system externally and can be contacted by the tenants through the system.

Jackson Care Technologies delivered a comprehensive monitoring and communications service. This includes IP assist call buttons and IP talkback points enabling the concierge to speak with tenants and respond to their requests. Temperature sensors are located in the apartments and any dramatic rise or fall in temperature alerts the concierge and triggers an escalation of the call if not responded to.

Recognizing success
“It was a big challenge to create this vision but we’ve met the brief and the tenants are very happy with the solution we have provided,” said Josh Ling. With such sophisticated levels of integration and technology, it would be easy to believe that the technology would be complex and difficult to use. However, the collaboration between the technology partners, the Medical Device Partnering Program, Flinders University and the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion has created an outstanding example of how integration can unite and simply the operation. The interface the tenants use is very clear and well-presented.

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