Tech for Good at Rothbury House – Research and technical innovation consultancy, The Digital Line (TDL) is supporting Rothbury House to provide safe, independent living accommodation for people in the RAF community.
The RAF Association is converting 26 rooms, houses, and apartments at Rothbury House in Northumberland into high-quality retirement homes for people who have served in the RAF and the spouses, widows, and widowers of RAF veterans.
As renovation work is completed to the first 16 rooms, TDL, as part of a long-term “Tech for Good” strategy, has worked with the Association to implement tech-driven initiatives into the newly finished rooms at Rothbury House.
Working alongside brands such as Amazon and Samsung, TDL has provided a series of exciting new programs, all designed to enhance the daily lives of the residents. These include a new suite of voice-activated services running on Amazon Alexa Show devices and using the specially developed audico system.
TDL talks to Colin Lee, the Independent Living Manager to understand the impact the new technology will have on staff and residents at Rothbury House.
How many Amazon/Alexa units are you using and where are they situated?
“Each of the tenants’ rooms has an Alexa Show, one is also situated in our Scheme Manager’s office.
As we are expanding all rooms will incorporate the Digital Hub. Technology is part of people’s lives these days and will continue to be so for our new and existing tenants.
Are the tenants accepting of the new technology?
“The tenants have really engaged with the technology, as it is very easy to use by voice commands. It is like having a virtual helper who is always available to listen and communicate different needs. It is much easier than having to log in to a service or try to use a smartphone.
The more that the tenants have used it, the more the familiarity has grown, with tenants exploring different services such as music, news, local radio as well as the audico voice-activated service of personal room requests.
We have found that the early adopters of the technology are keen to help the new tenants when they arrive, the use of the voice-activated features mushrooms when tenants are talking to one another”.
Can you see the benefits of the voice-activated service for tenants, who are finding new independence?
“Definitely, the ability to just use a voice opens up a much easier method to make requests for any person of any capacity. It certainly can make a difference to those people who are not able to use a tablet or smartphone, as it enables a much more inclusive way to help independence which might otherwise be very challenging”.
What are the most common questions/requests tenants are asking audico?
“Asking for the daily food menu is the most popular request by far. Followed by activities and events. Rothbury House has a real community feel, tenants can communicate with one another from room to room via video calling as well as contact the wardens if required.
The communal room is an ideal location for listening together, as well as building community spirit.
Tenants have also really embraced the technology to get in touch with friends and family”.
How has audico benefited staff regarding their time?
“We have staff on hand 24 hours a day. With this system, wardens can contact people quicker and more efficiently. They can post news announcements, entertainment schedules, activities, and daily events over the echo dot”.
What do the staff think of the Amazon and audico technology and services that it offers?
“The staff have really welcomed the technology. At first, they were a little apprehensive, like with any new technology, but soon started to see the benefits of the solution. The major benefit has been the ability to see what requests residents are making and how frequently, which enables a pattern to be established of the needs of the residents and enables the staff to become more predictive of the times and frequency of the different requests, so being able to respond quicker and be informed of what is needed to save time and confusion”.
Can you see the benefits of audico? For example, saving time for the staff and long-term money-saving for the company.
“Without a doubt, the solution has improved the way that we deal with tenants’ requests in a more organised manner based on the fact that we can be specific about what the actual request is and who should deal with it. The time saved is impacting the way we can allocate resources to these daily tasks in a positive way, which in the long term means that we are able to better distribute resources across different functions without impacting quality or increasing costs”.