Elderly Australians are one step closer to gaining greater autonomy and security in their homes from today with Samsung Electronics Australia announcing an Australian-first in-home aged care trial in partnership with Deakin University and the City of Greater Geelong, the ‘Holly Smart Home Project.’
The Investor Engagement and Economic Projects Division, part of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources has facilitated the Holly Smart Home Project and the wider policy supporting medical technologies as part of Victoria’s smart city development.
The healthcare technology collaboration involves the deployment of a locally developed Holly Smart Home Project solution and core components of the Samsung Electronics home sensor and automation platform, SmartThings. The two systems have been integrated to provide aged care households with a monitoring and machine learning system that can alert healthcare providers when abnormal activity is detected in or around the home.
Deakin University Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment Executive Dean, Professor Trevor Day, said the Deakin Software and Technology Innovation Lab (DSTIL) will provide potentially life-changing opportunities for some of Australia’s most vulnerable community members.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to provide our expert research and technological support to this project, which has the capacity to help address major challenges facing Australia’s health system, while allowing elderly residents to stay independent in their own homes for longer,” Professor Day said.
“We are especially pleased to work in partnership with Samsung, utilising their SmartThings home sensors and the Australian-developed Holly system, so that we can create technologies that understand the normal movements and activity inside a home. With this information, Holly will be able to start to identify abnormal activity and raise alerts to healthcare providers as required,” Day added.
It is estimated that the potential cost of providing aged care to an individual within a state facility could be as high as AU$300,000. Additionally, there are only 28.7 operational home care places currently subsidised by the Australian Government per 1,000 people aged 70 years and over.
Ian Aitken, Director of Engineering and Solutions at Samsung Electronics Australia said, “Samsung is exceptionally proud to collaborate with Deakin University and the City of Geelong to explore ways of applying our technology to such a meaningful and significant research program. We hope this pilot study will build our understanding for how connected technologies can help meet major challenges facing the lives of Australians.”
“For many elderly Australians, having access to greater levels of in-home care via technology could provide re-assurance and extend the time they can spend in their own home,” Aitken added.
The trial is supported by the City of Greater Geelong who has collaborated with Samsung Electronics and the Deakin Software and Technology Innovation Lab.
Cr Rod Macdonald said, “The introduction of smart home technology was something that the City of Greater Geelong had long supported. Geelong prides itself on being a 21st century smart city and this initiative is consistent with the City's overall digital strategy,”
“This study is the next phase in our push towards increasing quality of life for many within our community.
“The technology has the potential of providing significant savings to the community and governments. For each year that a person remains in their own home the savings to the government are thought to be anywhere between $100,000 and $300,000,” McDonald said.
The trial will utilise a range of in-home sensing devices that support home monitoring and automation including Samsung SmartThings multipurpose sensor to monitor temperature and vibrations and Samsung SmartThings motion sensorto track the lifestyles and habits around the home.
A team of software engineers, data scientists, PhD students, and postdoctoral staff members from the Deakin Software and Technology Innovation will collaborate and refine the Holly Smart Home project, supported by Samsung Electronics technology, SmartThings. The trial will taking place with the support of the City of Greater Geelong to include testing across five residential households for six weeks, with participants ranging in age from 73 to 81 years old.
About The Holly Project
The ‘Holly Smart Home Project’ trial is an initiative designed to field test an ecosystem of technology specifically designed to help address challenges associated with in-home aged care in Australia. The trial will utilise a range of sensing devices that can better help to support home monitoring, automation and sensing as it relates to the lifestyles and habits of the home owner or aged care patient. The trial involves the Holly Smart Home platform, developed in Australia by SP Tech Solutions, and supported by Samsung Electronics technology, SmartThings. The trial is taking place with the support of the City of Greater Geelong and will include testing across five residential households, with participants ranging in age from 73 to 81 years of age.
The following hardware has been built to support the Holly Smart Home trial ecosystem:
- Holly Hub - this is the “brain” of the Holly Smart Home. It is a small computer that receives data from sensors within each home, and when required, triggers audio and SMS alerts.
- Samsung SmartThings motion sensor - monitors movement within the home. This device is battery powered and sends a notification to the Holly Hub when activity is detected.
- Samsung SmartThings multi purpose sensor - monitors whether doors, windows or cupboards are open or closed. The sensor is also capable of monitoring vibrations and temperature within the room in which they are located.
- LIFX Light bulbs - each light bulb can be controlled from a smart phone. This means a user can change the bulb’s light colour, brightness or switch the light on or off from the convenience of their couch.
- Speakers and Chromecast - Holly broadcasts audio messages to multiple speakers within the home. To minimise cabling, Holly integrates with the latest wireless speaker technology.
 Australian Government, 2013–14 CONCISE FACTS & FIGURES in AGED CARE, Department of Social Services, slide 2
 Australian Government, 2013–14 CONCISE FACTS & FIGURES in AGED CARE, Department of Social Services, slide 5