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Mobile broadband aims to bridge elderly, caregivers

Posted: 22 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:broadband? mobile? Connecting Generation 3G?

The Vodafone Espa�a Foundation (FVE), the Spanish Red Cross (CRE) and Qualcomm Inc. through its Wireless Reach initiative, are joining forces to launch a pilot project named "3G Connecting Generations." The project aims to take advantage of 3G mobile broadband technology to connect the elderly to their caregivers and families by unifying voice and videoconferencing through a familiar device like TV.

Using a video conference system that works as a TV monitor, a webcam and a phone with mobile broadband Internet connectivity (HSPA), the elderly can stay connected and interact with their friends, family and caregivers, allowing them to remain independent for a longer time in their own homes.

"The elderly are a rapidly growing community in our country," said Juan Manuel Suarez del Toro Rivero, president of the Spanish Red Cross. "Many of these people need assistance for daily activities, and the new technology provides innovative ways to enable them to easily keep in touch with those who care for them and the people they trust."

Through the video conference system, participants in this project can establish personalized video communications with the Contact Center at the Spanish Red Cross, which answers their questions and motivates them with consistent social interaction. Additionally, the Red Cross is able to conduct periodic and personalized follow-up video calls to check the health and well being of participants and ensure they feel included.

The 3G Connecting Generations project also provides participants' families with 3G phones to communicate with their elderly family members via video calls, which is particularly helpful since participants in the program do not live near their family.

In addition to communicating with the Red Cross and family members, the project enables participants to use their 3G video communication platform to meet and communicate with other people in order to expand their social circle. They also can learn to download multimedia content, including physical exercise videos and interactive games, which help them stay active. The devices will be available at selected elderly community day centers, enabling participants to connect with friends when they are unable to access the devices.

"The 3G Connecting Generations project not only provides the elderly with tools to lead independent lives, but it also grants access to the latest communications technologies, giving them the opportunity to actively participate in the 21st century," said Jose Luis Ripoll, president of the Vodafone Espa�a Foundation.

One hundred elderly people will participate in the pilot, of which the majority live alone and far from their families. The initiative also involves family members or day centers from more than 10 provinces in nine independent communities, including, Barcelona, Huesca, Leon, La Palma, Madrid, Salamanca, Toledo, and Valladolid.

3G Connecting Generations was based on the experience gathered by the Spanish Red Cross and the Vodafone Espa�a Foundation through the PLATAS project, which was financed by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce as part of the 2006-2007 Advance Plan.

Qualcomm is supporting 3G Connecting Generations through its Wireless Reach initiative, designed to bring 3G technologies to underserved communities around the world.

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