Case Study 7 - Independent Living

Case Study 7 — Independent Living

Dining strip

This installation was carried out during general refurbishment of a 2 bedroom flat occupied by an elderly person. It’s a really great example of how the IDRATEK system can be so usefully utilised in this context — especially where the occupant has no affinity for technology.   It is really quite ifficult to put in few words just how useful the technology has proven to both the occupant and the carers, because it is the sum of all the details that makes the huge difference.  As both parties report — it is not only about physical comfort and ability to detect anomalous conditions, but also the positive effects on mental well being.

Examples of implemented features:

All lighting circuits automated based on local occupancy, light levels and  time of day, meaning the occupant rarely touches buttons (and even then the system cleverly  removes overrides when appropriate). Nice touches include automatically muting lighting levels in passageways after bedtime and using stealth lighting features at night times. Interestingly the occupant reports a feeling of companionship as a result of the touchless lighting dynamics “as if some invisible friend is looking after me”.

Fully zoned automated heating with continuous set point adjustment based on room occupancy, outside conditions and time of day. Ensures occupant saves energy and rarely feels any need to adjust settings (in fact never has over several years to date).

Liberal use of DFP-H02 panel units ensures that audible information and audio communications are available in all rooms (even bathroom). These provide a means for delivering annunciations such as reminders or alerts but also, importantly in this particular setting, allow carer telephony communications to be routed hands free to any room without the occupant needing to reach a button (of course subject to security credentials).

Security functions have the advantage of extensive sensory input as well as camera imaging. Ability to access any connected components makes light work of simulating occupancy e.g. with realistic lighting patterns and TV control. Multiple alert methods both local and external and the ability to perform detailed remote monitoring and event logging are just some of the other noteworthy features. But security doesn’t just mean intruder detection, it also includes continuous environmental monitoring such as smoke detectors, over temperature detection, and abnormal patterns of activity or even inactivity.

Electricity metering — mainly useful for the carer but can also provide automated alert functions for both occupant and carers such as ‘cooker left on when house unoccupied’, or measures of lack of activities such as ‘hasn’t used kettle today’ or ‘hasn’t cooked meal’.

Various annunciations and reminders help memory. Interestingly the occupant has also remarked that these make the home feel more ‘alive and friendly’.

IR capabilities which allow the translation of complex sequences of TV control buttons into a single button press have enabled the occupant to retain independence in operating a set top box despite worsening memory. The carer can also assist remotely if needs be.

Even the humble bathroom extractor fan has now become intelligent, with delayed start (avoids the extractor coming on if you just pop in to wash your hands), automation turning to manual mode at night since visits are unlikely to warrant automatic switch on and subsequent noise,  ‘run on’ period automatically extends itself based on changes in humidity levels.

Some further detail can be found in this document (pdf)

..And a UTube slide presentation — from the occupant’s perspective

Some Install statistics:

  • 15x lighting circuits (mostly dimmable) including kitchen units
  • 7x independently controlled heating zones (via electrically controlled radiator actuators)
  • Plinth heater control
  • Boiler control
  • Extractor fan control
  • Temperature, light level, humidity and motion sensing in all rooms and external to property
  • Intercom and other audio communications to all rooms via IDRATEK DFP-H02 units
  • IR transceivers in all rooms e.g for A/V appliance control or remote control of system via standard handsets or fobs
  • 2x Smoke detectors
  • Door state sensors to all doors
  • 5x Individual electricity ring metering units
  • Alarm box and strobe
  • Security cameras
  • Cortex core software with Connect M option

Cortex reported stats:

Total objects = 252
Network objects = 156
Idratek modules = 24

Approximate  installed cost including non IDRATEK components : £5,000

Wiring plans and items list can be found here  (zip)


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