Behind the Scenes – May 2023Caroline Laurenson
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
It has been rather a long time since we shared any updates. This is actually a good sign as we’ve been really busy working on user research for Kindspace looking at how effective it is at reducing feelings of worry and based on the feedback from the participants we’ve also taken the opportunity to refresh some of the wellness activities, plus we now have a whole new library of short bedtime stories brought to you in collaboration with an amazing writer called Neil Bebber. to help you destress at the end of the day.
We had to take a break from posting on social media through February, March and April as it was just too much to manage. Happily, we got back to posting this week, please give us a follow if you’re interested in keeping up to date on the latest in smart home tech and wellbeing related digital solutions.
I wanted to give you a brief update on some of our big news of the year so far and then also some of the lovely things we’re getting up to this week. We intend to get back to regular updates, aiming for a frequency of every month to check-in with you all.
This Years’ Highs (so far)
ALISS: In February we launched the new ALISS My Scottish Community app on Alexa. This has been a collaborative project with the Health and Social Care Alliance (known as the ALLIANCE for short). We received grant funding from InnovateUK and have really enjoyed the process of co-designing the app with individuals with lived experience and professionals in the health and social care sector. You can find out more about ALISS here.
Kindspace: As I mentioned we’ve been working on some research for Kindspace. This has been part of the IT4Anxiety programme that we won last summer. Ulster University have been helping to guide us in how to perform clinical research and the data analysis. This has really stretched us in terms of our capabilities, but again has been an enjoyable experience to learn more about how to conduct research. We’re hoping to publish a journal paper to share the findings. We presented at a talk with the NHS at the start of the week as part of an event to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. I’ve also been creating some infographic type materials to help share the results in a way that is a bit more fun and accessible, like this poster below.
Connecting with the Voice Tech community: It has been lovely to have the opportunity to meet people in person from across the global voice tech community. I presented at the European Chatbot and Conversational AI summit in Edinburgh in March and also at Project Voice in Chattanooga, Tennessee, US in April. We’ve shared a bit more about our trip to the US in our separate Kindspace blog which you can access here.
Here is a video of the presentation I gave in Edinburgh.
AccelerateHer Awards: In March we made it to the finals of the Investing Women AccelerateHer Awards and beyond all expectations we won in the Health Tech category. It really is a testament to all the hard work that we’ve put in over the last three years, and so nice to be recognised for everything that we do to help people access technologies and address pressing societal challenges around healthy ageing, caregiving and the growing digital divide.
There have also been some lows, most notably, the weekend right after winning the AccelerateHer award, Thomas had an emergency stay in hospital as he had some stroke symptoms. This is something that has happened in the past, but not for about 12 years, so it was a bit of a shock. Thankfully he was well looked after, all the brain scans came back clear and he’s had his medication adjusted.
Out and About This Week
Thomas has been busy over the last few weeks doing maintenance for the Albyn Housing properties. I’ve been in Glasgow for a Tech for Good event organised by the Third Sector Lab and a focus group with the ALLIANCE. We also attended our son’s school Health and Wellbeing Festival, where we shared some tips about how technology can be used to support wellbeing. Last night I was a guest at the Rethinking Aging Club on Clubhouse, where we discussed solutions for caregivers to support their mental health. It is my favourite house in Clubhouse and the only one I still follow regularly after the high of Clubhouse during lockdown. The organisers are truly amazing at curating fascinating speakers and there are always loads of practical takeaways. Here is a link to the house, if you’re interested in joining let me know as I have member invites. The previous session recordings are also available to listen to afterwards.
Link to Clubhouse https://www.clubhouse.com/house/rethinking-aging-club
As I write this, I’m getting ready to head out to the Primary school to help out with the swimming lessons as a chaperone (unfortunately I am no help when it comes to the actual swimming!) and need to pack for our trip to Fife tomorrow for the Fife Family Fun day where we’ll be doing engineering workshops about Chemical Engineering and Smart Homes. If you are in the area and looking for something to entertain the kids, it’s free to attend and I don’t think you need to book in advance, we’d love to see you. Check out this link on Facebook for more information https://fb.me/e/vI6GLF7v
So that’s it from me for now. I’m hoping that we can start to get into more of a routine and that I can get caught up on the housework. That is another ball, like the social media, that we’ve had to drop to prioritise spending time off with the kids and letting Thomas rest as much as possible.
We are so grateful for your support and to be able to do the work that we do.