AAL FORUM Vienna 2009 - Presentations

Plenary Sessions


The AAL Joint Programme passed the co-decision process – Commission – Council - EU Parliament quite smoothly and successfully. Because of that high and important involvement of the European institutions, high representatives of the member states, for the Vienna Forum from Austria, and from the European Council, represented by Sweden, having the present presidency and from the European Commission. The success of this new way of dealing with common problems in Europe is in the interest of all participating parties and stakeholders of the AAL Joint Programme. Developing effective soltions to big challengers is one part of this joint intetrest. Demonstrating the ability, innovativeness and flexibility to apply new ways of cooperation in Europe is equally important for the future of the European Union.


The Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme comprises two important elements - a thematic topic (innovative ICT for older persons) and a new way of European R&D cooperation (based on Article 169 of the European Treaty. This means a well distributed and strong involvement of national and regional initiatives and activities.
This keynote session gives an introductory overview as a basis for the other sessions and presentations.

Bernd Marin will give a general background and introduction to the FORUM. He will highlight a futuristic view of what ageing could be and mean for Europe from a socioeconomic perspective in order to characterize the demographic phenomenon. The discussion will centre around needs and who should provide the corresponding assistance.

Jeroen Wals will develop an industrial view of AAL. What are the challenges, the competition structures? Is there anything like European stronghold or is it just a global market?

Holly Jimison will look at academic ideas and results in discussion of future technologies. Of course US input will play a significant role in conveying to the European auditorium how other nations of the world are dealing with this truly global challenge.

Industrial Round Table

AAL market developments, its barriers and carriers, will be the focus of the discussion from the different stakeholders perspectives represented in the Round Table panel – the industry, small and large, the insurance organization, and the public buyers. What is needed for an AAL market development, “the take up” of AAL solutions, tools and services? What is hindering up-scaling of existing solutions? These and other questions will be tackled in the Round Table. The Round Table participants represent a vast experience in the field of R&D, technology developments, industry and
market considerations, social innovations, and the financial reality in public procurement. There will be possibilities for the Forum participants to raise questions to the Round Table panel.


The chair of the FORUM Committee, Reinhard Goebl, will summarize some of the most important features of the Forum: what were the expectations, what was the reality.

The future vision will be outlined by Paul Timmers, Head of Unit EC DGinfso. He will give some reasoning around what he believes will happen in the future and also around the AAL Joint Programme.

What the AAL Programme itself will focus in is to be discussed by the recently elected new AAL JP

The session will close with a short presentation by Claus Nielsen and Henning Seiding, DK, who will
invite you to the next AAL FORUM in Denmark, Odense.

Track 1: The AAL Joint Programme

Session 1 - AAL Projects

The First call of AAL Joint Programme, titled “ICT based solutions for Prevention and Management
of Chronic Conditions of Elderly People” was launched in 2008. In this session, 6 projects that were
selected for funding in this first call shall briefly present their projects.

Session 2 - AAL JP Participation rules

The AAL Joint Programme is a new type of R&D funding programme in Europe. It is based on joining
the activities of its partner states on the theme of Ambient Assisted Living which is supported by a
financial contribution of the EC through the article 169 of the Treaty.

AAL Joint Programme has some characteristics that make it different from other European initiatives
that are addressing the questions of demographic ageing:

  1. AAL aims at launching R&D activities that have a 2-3 years time to market, it tries to fill the gap
    between research activities and market introduction of new products, systems and services.
  2. AAL emphasizes the role of end-users and especially older persons as active participants in the
  3. AAL stresses the importance of market analysis and business model development in the projects
    in order to boost market introduction of new products, services and systems that are being

The session focuses on the participation rules of the AAL Joint Programme and the specific
requirements of business models and end-user involvement.

Session 3 - Healthy Ageing

The ageing population poses a great challenge to Europe’s economic and social development. As people will live longer and longer it is of paramount importance, that costs for medical and social care will not explode and that individuals can enjoy their life in good health as long as possible.

Healthy Ageing is one of the keys to an independent life in good quality – and thus it partly overlaps with Active Ageing, the next session’s subject.

What exactly do we mean by Healthy Ageing? Despite the fact, that there is no „official“ definition, most characterizations of Healthy Ageing centre on the same ideas. A good example can be found on a website belonging to the Australian government : „Healthy ageing describes the ongoing activities and behaviours you undertake to reduce the risk of illness and disease and increase your physical, emotional and mental health. It also means combating illness and disease with some basic lifestyle realignment that can result in a faster and more enduring recovery.”

A closer look reveals a number of topics in Healthy Ageing to be addressed, among others

But Healthy Ageing not only represents challenges to society and individuals – it also offers opportunities for economic growth based on new technologies, products and services. Challenges and opportunities in Healthy Ageing – this is what we will address and discuss within this session.

Session 4 - Active Ageing

We live in an information society. Information and communication technologies (ICT) permeate almost every aspect of our lives. They can be powerful tools for bringing people together, adding new value to life and creating new wealth, health, welfare, accounting for a richer and more rewarding professional and social life.

The other side of the coin is that in Europe (and elsewhere) millions of people cannot fully reap these benefits and a significant percentage is effectively cut off from them for a variety of reasons: geographic, social, economic, educational, cultural, physical or cognitive disabilities, age, etc...

Today, older people are estimated1 to make up close to 20% of the European population or 90 million people. Furthermore, the prevalence of both disabilities and other minor functional limitations is strongly related to age. The ongoing demographic shift in Europe, as a result of a greater life expectancy and decreasing birth rates, will cause a noticeable increase in these numbers over the coming years -- 18% of the European population was aged over 60 in 1990, while for 2030 that percentage is expected to rise to 30%.

There are concerns that the European Social model will be unsustainable with too few working age people able to support the welfare and social security systems providing for older people. The renewed Lisbon Strategy calls for an extension of working life. Additionally, a US-based study found that 60% of working-age adults, aged between 18 and 64, are not likely or very likely to benefit from the use of accessible technology due to mild difficulties and impairments, or to functional difficulties with current technologies.

Adapted from the European Commission Staff Working Paper
“Extended Impact Assessment of the Commission Communication on eAccessibility”
(Brussels, Sept/2005)

Session 5 - AAL Projects II

The First call of AAL Joint Programme, titled “ICT based solutions for Prevention and Management of Chronic Conditions of Elderly People” was launched in 2008. In this session, 6 projects that were selected for funding in this first call shall briefly present their projects.

Session 6

Track 2: National and Regional Aspects

Session 7 - AAL in National Strategies

Some of the European countries have – parallel to the AAL Joint Programme – their own national programme aiming at the development of innovative and smart ICT/technology for older people and other groups with specific needs like people with disabilities or chronic conditions. Those programmes are initiated from different perspectives varying from technological innovation to improvement of healthcare, scientific development, community building around ageing and technology or strengthening the position of SME’s in this particular area.

In this session information will be presented from different national strategies and programmes closely related to the objectives of the AAL JP. Examples of projects and results on national level will illustrate how the national programmes and the AAL JP can reinforce each other and profit from each other.

Session 8 - Intelligent Solutions: How to Save Time and Costs

Countries participate in AAL with different backgrounds and objectives. For some countries an important driver is the economic opportunity for their national companies, others are especially interested in the possibilities of e-health and telecare. Some want to close the gap between digital development and older people, others expect ICT/technology to solve the future workforce problems.

This session is organised around the “Laboursaving effects” of ICT innovation, very important when looking at a growing older population and decreasing numbers of young people to serve them or take care off them.

Nevertheless, the laboursaving objective is quite a sensitive issue. What will it mean for the quality of care or the quality of work, the interpersonal relations? Is it (cost)effective, can that be measured adequately, is it worth the investment?

Session 9 - Programme benefit: Launch of the Fifth Call for Proposals

The Session is designed to give insight into the genesis, the implementation and the thematic background of programme benefit and its focus “ICT based Solutions for Advancement of Active Ageing”.

Similar to the WHO definition of active ageing the Austrian programme benefit defines Active Ageing as a process which enhances the quality of life of the individual by reaching the maximum access to participation / social integration, security and health.

Thematic clusters are:

Various aspects of the living situation of older people in Austria and other European countries will be outlined on the basis of the SHARE project. Project examples will illustrate the different thematic clusters within the focus of the call.

Session 10 - End-user Involvement

The involvement of end users is a big issue in the AAL JP - and for good reasons. AAL solutions have to be ‘wanted’ by older people and their families and also by the carers or service providers that are supposed to work with the solutions or the organisations who have to provide or finance them. The average ICT-solutions designer – being a (relatively) young technical oriented man – in general has no clear insight in the needs of older people. And although general studies on needs and wishes of older people can definitely give insights and directions, it is not sufficient. Only the real involvement of the different types of end-users can realise real solutions. Special attention is needed, when solutions for people with cognitive impairments like dementia are developed.

In the successive stages of the designing process, the role of end-users will differ; varying from expressing needs to testing usability and assessing usefulness of solutions. In all phases serious involvement of end-users can highly contribute to the quality of the solutions and the marketability and implementation of the products and services.

Session 11 - Ethical Issues in AAL

In AAL technologies a lot of questions present themselves concerning ethical issues. As always, issues like safety and reliability of systems, privacy regarding entry to and exchange of data are at stake, who are debated for long time already. Smart surroundings, constant monitoring of different body functions or activity levels can help to save people in urgent situations, but it also can keep people under constant surveillance.

What does this mean for people and how does it affect their lives and relationships? What do telecare solutions mean for the quality of care, for personal contact, for the quality of work. How to act if people are not able to give informed consent? How can the dignity of older people be guaranteed. How does the use of smart technology affect personal relations with family and friends. What is the effect of living in ‘your own little hospital at home’?

The debate about these issues has hardly begun. The AAL Forum is one of the places to start these discussions on a European level, to identify the issues that are relevant to take into consideration, not only theoretically but very practical in the development and use of applications, in the AAL programme itself.

Session 12 - ICT solutions: Do we want it, can we use it, will we buy it?

In all European countries older people have a (relatively) big distance to ICT and technology. This is partly due to the lack of adequate ICT solutions, on the other hand, it is caused by unfamiliarity of older people with the (added) value of new technology or due to fear for technology, fear of trying, fear of failing.

In the AAL programme we will work on designing ICT solutions who respond to needs and wishes of older people, on improving the usability and the user friendliness of technology devices and systems. But next to that, impulses are needed to ‘seduce’ older people to use new technology, to inform them about the possibilities, to overcome their resistance and to make them familiar with it so they can optimally profit from solutions that can substantially improve independence, participation and quality of life. Policies and activities targeting at ‘older people befriending technology’ is typically a challenge for national, regional and local levels. In different countries, ‘befriending technology’ is part of national strategies, inspired by different backgrounds and visions. In the session, national strategies and activities from different angles will be presented, exemplified by some (successful) projects.

Track 3: Innovation & Economy

Session 13 - Economic Impact of Demographic Change

The European population is growing older and older. Today the median age of the European population is 40 years and will increase to 47 years in 2050. Today the 20 to 64 years old make up for approximately 64% of the whole population and the over 65 cover 17%. In 2050 it is estimated that the 20 to 64 year old will decrease to 55% of the population and the 65 + will increase to 28%. In other words today there are four people to 1 and in 2050 this relationship will change to two people to one. Thus the number of elderly people respectively the number of elderly consumers will rapidly increase in the near future.

Considering the enormous buying power the age group over 50 years already has today, this is estimated to be approximately half of the whole buying power of the industrialized world, there is an enormous market potential developing for this age group in the years to come. How can industry and society meet this increasing demand? Can we describe the particular needs of this age group? What is the consumer behavior of this age group? How can innovation be conveyed and what design standards do we have to allow for to satisfy this age group? All questions which will be discussed in the first of three short lectures in this session. However, as great as the market potential for the future seems, it is very important also to look at the development of the financing power of this age group.

Today employees are normally pensioned off with 65. There are still 4 working employees to one pensioner. As mentioned above, this relationship will decrease rapidly. Does this demographic change influence the buying power of the European elderly population in future? If so, what needs to be done to meet these changes? Similarly, municipalities which are responsible for there citizen, have to develop strategies to cater for this demographic change, especially for those who need care. What are these strategies and how can they be financed? All questions which will be discussed in the second short lecture. To meet the increasing demand arising from the demographic change, policies, new regulations and laws, changes in tax systems, promotional programs etc. need to be developed on Regional, National and European level. What are these? The third short lecture in this session, will
elaborate on these questions.

Session 14 - Business Models

In Europe the environment of national health care and social security systems is rather heterogeneous. This hinders the development of common (European) business models and a common market for AAL solutions. Currently, reimbursement schemes in most countries do not encourage the adoption of technological innovations in these systems and provide no clear perspective to link investments and revenues/savings for adopters. Investors and developers have to deal with a wide variety of welfare, healthcare and care systems in European countries. Each of these systems provides a complex legal and regulatory basis which restricts or encourages the use of AAL technology in the public healthcare and care services in specific ways. In both the more regulated markets of healthcare/care and the consumer-oriented private markets the lack of visible value chains is obvious. The complex structure of the developing AAL markets and the lack of market information and visible value chains, make it difficult for SME or Entrepreneurs to develop possible business strategies and evaluate the future market potential in this sector. To foster the market-entry and participation of (innovative) SME and Start-up-companies in this important (technology and service oriented) market segments is important to foster innovation and deployment in the whole AAL ecosystem. The session aims to describe possible business models, provide information on the „ageing market“ and present succcessful examples from the SME sector.

Session 15 - User Driven Innovation

It is difficult to find openly stated opposition to the concept of end-user involvement but studies suggest that although there is support for the concept in theory, end-user involvement can be ignored if deemed appropriate. End-users are mainly located within the testing and trial phases of technology development and post market surveillance. However they are noted to be largely absent from the concept and design phases. Reimer-Reiss (1999) demonstrated in their studies on assistive devices that failure to adopt a user-centred approach was associated with poor device usage and adoption. To distinguish itself from other R&D programmes the AAL JP has embarked on a strategy that aims to address the older person as a holistic being. If the AAL JP is to make an impact on the diffusion of the outcomes of its R&D investment programme then there must be a shift away from this linear model of innovation. A newer approach to one which recognizes that all innovation, if it is to be successful involves the user from design right through to domestication into everyday life. The concept of ‘userinnovation’ is gaining increasing attention in business and innovation management circles. Examples of user-innovation can be found in a number of sectors including the scientific and medical instruments, the software and the sporting communities. Lead users are key to user innovation because as those who experience demand ahead of the market, they can and often act as developers of new and improved products as well as ‘early adopters’. Recognizing this potential in users is fundamental to and underpins a ‘needs-related’ product and service development framework. Manufacturers, researchers and dev elopers can then harness and shape user innovation to their own ends and not vice versa.

Session 16 - AAL as a Chance for Innovation

In the face of unprecedented longevity, the challenge for society is to understand and plan for how best to enable older adults to age well, maintain their personhood and their place as members of society. The convergence of an ageing population with today’s availability of advanced technology is an opportunity to innovate and to think differently about how we live throughout the life span. The home is the primary platform for much of life’s activities influencing health, wellness, well-being, independence and safety as we age. Sometimes though, technology seems an attractive option when we are faced with an improvement challenge. However it is understood that technology is not a panacea for the skills we lack or for every improvement issue we encounter. The AAL JP aims to catalyse creativity in exploiting technology to provide not only products but services that are both needed and desired to enhance the lives of older people among member states. It recognizes that technology is a tool that complements abilities and has the potential to allow our ageing population to do more and become more productive.

It is in recognition of the older adult as a person first and foremost that the AL JP addresses the investment in supporting research and development for ambient assisted living from a holistic point of view. In this track we address innovation within the AAL JP from a number of perspectives. How can we generate creativity and innovation from the older person’s perspective, from the perspective of family and carers, as well as that of business. This programme aims to distinguish itself from a myriad of other research and development ageing programmes through its ability to challenge the various disciplines and sectors to innovate in the psycho-social, sociocultural and physiological realms in pursuance of the old adage, live long and live well

Session 17 - Standards and Interoperability

Standardisation is a prerequisite for a broad deployment and use of ICT, and will trigger and enable new business. The ICT standards community is characterised by a large number of standards bodies and indeed a large number of different types of activity, spanning over a wide spectrum ranging from the infrastructure, represented by the Internet and basic communications standards to the content standards. “It is commonplace to state that ICT standards are (or should be) global, indeed to state that “regional” standards have no place.“ If anything, ICT standardisation is becoming more critical an issue. This is particularly true in the context of AAL Technologies. There are many different subjects for AAL Technology standards, for example, hardware, technologies, software, interfaces/ architectures, processes, services, data, content, etc. Each may require a different approach, or involve different actors and methods. Establishing such standards economizes on co-ordination costs, creates an integrated market with economy-of-scale advantages and helps to build trust in quality of devices and services, where error-free functioning can be critical to the individual. Another approach to achieve the necessary interoperability is certification on product level. Here the Continua Health Alliance – a industry-driven global consoritum – has taken first steps and established design guidelines and a product certification process for health and medical devices. Another important sector where interoperability is crucial is the Smart Home. Here a wide range of different services and application - provided remotely or existing solely within the home environment - are connected for creation of information or data, itsprocessing, aggregation, understanding, delivery, actions based on information received and display to some user or operator. In the end service delivery and home based applications are to be operated independently of underlying technology.

Session 18 - Trends and Roadmapping in AAL

In recent years, the European Commission and European member states have made considerable investments in ICT and ageing research in the Framework Programme, the AAL Joint programme and national initiatives. Similar approaches have emerged in other geographical regions, e.g., Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States. Further research needs to build on these results and be guided by a trends assessment and roadmaps which provide an extended look at the future of active ageing and ageing well in the information society. This requires co-action between various technology areas and innovative technology approaches. Information and knowledge about mid-/long-term R&D perspectives will be crucial for defining future R&D steps on the way to Ambient Assisted Living.

Through development of a shared vision and RTD roadmaps by main stakeholders, vital needs not just for R&D actors but also for other stakeholder will be served. Public Health Authorities can gain insight in future development affecting their spheres of action, second and third level potential suppliers for AAL applications can realise challenges ahead. Several ongoing and soon to be completed FP7 roadmapping projects – AALIANCE, CAPSIL, ePAL, SENIOR – have addressed different and complementary perspectives of ICT and ageing.

The session will present their approaches towards a comprehensive vision and strategic roadmaps, thus overcoming the fragmentation that has plagued the previous era of ICT and ageing. In the end, these activities will provide strategic guidance for short-, mid- and long-term R&D approaches in the AAL context – for future Framework Programmes, the AAL Joint Programme and national policy makers.


Workshop 1 - Workshop for Young Researchers and PhD

The Young researcher and PhD workshop offers a great opportunity to meet other young researchers from Europe and to learn more about the variety of projects dealing with the investigation of technical solutions for older adults. It will be a unique chance to present ideas, designs and results of research studies and to discuss the projects with other students and young investigators under senior scientist’s supervision. Especially the interdisciplinary approach within various disciplines (geriatrics, engineering, architecture, informatics, psychology, sociology, nursing sciences, economics, etc.) will enrich the spectrum. These contacts will be very important for future collaborations and projects but also offer the possibility to create networks for gaining new knowledge and mutual support. The event is a kick-off activity for further workshops within the AAL Forum offering a continuous reflection on the topic and giving the possibility to report progress in work and ideas. One intent keeping contact is initiating an online discussion platform after the workshop.

Concerning the procedure in the workshop all participants will be asked in the beginning to introduce their posters to the plenum in a short power point presentation (2 minutes, max. 2 slides) followed by a tour through the posters with discussion (participants are recommended to choose posters according to their interest). 3 senior scientists (engineering, informatics and psychology) will give a short introduction and assistance during the free poster survey which is closed by a plenary discussion and summary.

Workshop 2 - Workshop on Serious Games for Active Ageing

In this workshop we would like to cover both the research and market trends for cognitive exercise games - giving the workshop participants an opportunity to have hands on experience with some of the systems.

We will set the background on Cognition & Aging with a review of the literature on Effectiveness and provide an overview of Commercially Available Systems.

Workshop 3 - Business Plans

Business models are the main success factor for new enterprises in the AAL area. In this Workshop we will try to forward guidelines to develop business models for AAL solutions. Experience shows that the focus in AAL projects is usually much more on the technical development, rather than on the market respectively on the user. However it is the user, who defines the success of the product. A business model looks at the needs of the market respectively the user and puts forward a value proposition - a unique offering to the customer, a value chain, which defines the value of a product at each activity in the chain of development and a process how to earn money, so that the company which produces and offers the product can sustain itself.

The workshop will elaborate on the question, why do we need business models for AAL solutions, what is the thinking behind successful business models and how do we develop business models. The audience will be participating in setting up business models for particular AAL products respectively solutions.