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South Korea pushes 3G for elderly care

Posted: 08 Dec 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3G? Korea mobile service? wireless?

The City of Seoul, South Korea, the Community Chest of Seoul, Korea Telecom (KT), MacroEye and Qualcommthrough its Wireless Reach initiativeare expanding the Seoul Family Helper program. The project provides mobile devices to caregivers and senior citizens to provide health care related support. The pilot project received positive evaluations from participants and is now being adopted by the City of Seoul as one of its budgeted welfare services in 2010. The pilot involved 40 caregivers and 400 elderly participants, and it is now going to include 500 caregivers and 5,000 participants.

The Seoul Family Helper program offers services to senior citizens through a team of caregivers referred to as "helpers." These helpers visit participants in their homes and facilitate any health related support that is needed.

Funded by Qualcomm through its Wireless Reach initiative and managed by the Community Chest of Seoul, this project and service are supplemented by the City of Seoul, KT and MacroEye. The MacroEye SHOWCare device enabled by KT's 3G network allows helpers to aid seniors more effectively.

Services and applications include automatic reception that provides direct access to a helper by allowing senior citizens to be heard and seen by the caregiver even when they are unable to reach the device. Direct access devices are programmed for direct dialing to the Seoul Family Helper helpline. By pushing one button, the participant is automatically connected to the center's helpline. Remote functionality services enable helpers to establish personalized communications with senior citizens using video, photos and other applications. This functionality allows helpers to check on the health and well-being of participants without having to wait for a scheduled visit.

The KT SHOWCare Monitoring System uses Qualcomm's mirasol display which is suited to benefit the elderly participants within the Seoul Family Helper program. Based on reflective technology, mirasol displays use significantly less energy than traditional displays which enables low power consumption and extended battery life for the SHOWCare device. In addition, the bistable nature of the mirasol display allows for near-zero power usage in situations where the display image is unchanged. This allows caregivers to aid participants in placing the device in a stationary setting and leaving it for extended periods of time without having to worry about charging the battery. The display's nature-inspired design also provides viewing in nearly all broad spectrum lighting environments, including bright outdoor sunlight, meaning that images can be seen in a wide range of participant environments. Furthermore, mirasol display technology's rapid refresh rate makes it suitable for video and multimedia, allowing communications with senior citizens using video and photos.

"South Korean society has preserved a strong tradition of family bonds and responsibility," said Young Koo Cha, senior VP and president of Qualcomm Korea. "Qualcomm is pleased to enable key services and applications for senior citizens and their caregivers using mobile broadband technology."

"Demand for elderly social welfare programs is increasing as the Korean population ages and grows in number," said Byoung-ho Kang, director of Senior Citizen's Welfare Division of the City of Seoul Family Helper Program. "This collaboration with Qualcomm allows caregivers to stay connected in between home visits and monitor the well-being of their patients when they need it most."

"Through the expansion of this program, low income and/or disabled senior citizens in South Korea are better able to lead healthy, independent lives," said Dong-soo Kim, president of the Community Chest of Seoul. "These devices provide an important service by allowing consistent contact with helpers, which addresses feelings of loneliness and social exclusion."





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