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Brief Published: 12 Dec 2014

Speakset: Skype for Seniors

Video calling for seniors

Speakset is a new video-calling service designed especially for seniors. The system reduces the risk of social isolation, as well as enabling health workers to carry out remote consultations for patients with impaired mobility.

While most video-conferencing software requires users to have constant internet access and a computer or smartphone, Speakset is a simple, box-shaped device that connects to any TV as well as a computer. It is operated via a handheld remote control, with large, easy-to-navigate buttons. Contacts and settings arrive preloaded, so users can plug in and immediately begin using.

Its creators, a UK start-up of the same name, suggest the device could be used to help seniors stay in touch with family and friends, as well as doctors and nurses.

Speakset has already been used in several clinical trials, with users reporting high levels of satisfaction with their remote consultations. Its makers also claim the device can reduce hospital readmission rates by more than 60%, and save healthcare providers money.

By 2050, there will be more than two billion people aged over 60 worldwide. Products that help this older generation stay healthy, connected and independent will be in high demand. For more, see New Attitudes to Ageing and Design for the Elderly.