Dorset Council is planning to increase the number of internet of things (IoT) devices in the homes of vulnerable people.
It said it is expanding the 5G RuralDorset project, funded by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to install a further 30 devices.
They are supplied by Internet of Things Solutions Group (IoTSG), connected via the Vodafone network, and placed on an individual’s kitchen shelf to monitor daily activity and send alerts of any changes in daily patterns, potentially indicating a fall or illness.
They can monitor ambient and environmental factors, and record behaviour patterns based on activities such as the use of a kettle, cooking and washing up.
The council said this approach provides reassurance for friends and family and enables a more targeted response by carers and emergency services, potentially saving money and time for the health and social care system.
The devices do not require any Wi-Fi or mobile phone signal; the lack of which is a problem for many rural Dorset residents.
Emma Mahy, CEO at IoTSG, said: “Dorset Council have shown that they are keen to trial innovations and have been a frontrunner in adopting this NBIoT solution. Their willingness to trial new technology has shown the value of the data, as well as exhibiting a great example of how LPWAN sensors can send information in areas with no mobile phone coverage.”
Jill Haynes, cabinet member for corporate development and transformation for Dorset Council, added: “This new technology is helping to shift the focus to prevention and we hope to utilise the additional 30 devices alongside our colleagues in healthcare to provide better outcomes for our residents.”
Dorset Council said that, while this is currently being trialled using a small sample, it is trying to expand the pilot with GP practices to encourage widespread adoption. It has also shared key findings with NHS trusts in Wolverhampton and Shropshire.