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Why user’s involvement is important to us?
The AAL Programme focuses also on users. It means that our funded projects must foresee a series of tests to carry out by the final users of the products and the services. This is a requirement that aims at helping to generate solutions with a potential market in a timeframe of 2-3 years after the end of the projects. Information and communication technology (ICT) is a relatively new technology that is only partially used by older adults: this is due to their scarce ICT literacy and sometimes because of their reluctance to use “futurists” devices. It is in this perspective that AAL aims to remove the barriers that currently prevent such ICT-based solutions from being massively deployed, so that the older adults, the users and consumers can truly make the most of the outputs of our programme.
Moreover, involving end-users in the projects originates other effects:
- It helps to create a human centred technology;
- It prepares the users as future users;
- It helps the managers of the projects to adjust strategies and technologies;
- It enables the projects to develop market strategies and to understand the needs of the real users;
- It brings the AAL Programme as a whole closer to the market.
Definition of end-users in the AAL Programme:
- Primary end-user is the person who actually is using an AAL product or service, a single individual, “the well-being person”. This group directly benefits from AAL by increased quality of life;
- Secondary end-users are persons or organisations directly being in contact with a primary end-user, such as formal and informal care persons, family members, friends, neighbours, care organisations and their representatives. This group benefits from AAL directly when using AAL products and services (at a primary end user’s home or remote) and indirectly when the care needs of primary end-users are reduced;
- Tertiary end-users are such institutions and private or public organisations that are not directly in contact with AAL products and services, but who somehow contribute in organising, paying or enabling them. This group includes the public sector service organisers, social security systems, insurance companies. Common to these is that their benefit from AAL comes from increased efficiency and effectiveness which result in saving expenses or by not having to increase expenses in the mid and long term.