Recently Link-ages attended the Setsquared Entrepreneur Programme in Basingstoke. This two day event brought together around 20 start-up businesses in the tech field, along with a number of hugely knowledgeable and experienced mentors and business advisors.
Setsquared is an innovation hub, managed by five UK universities, that supports and guides innovative start-up projects and businesses.
Recognition from Setsquared
Link-ages was thrilled to be one of two winners of the programme, and received a years business incubation as a result. Receiving recognition like this from such a significant body is testament to the progress that we have made to develop our products, and the potential that Link-ages has. This follows a number of earlier awards and recognition that we have received, for example from Ageing 2.0, Innovate UK, and BT.
Digital Exclusion In Older Adults
One of the key ‘take-home’ messages from the Setsquared programme was that innovation for the sake of innovation is not the way to develop a successful product. Instead, innovation should be the solution to a recognised problem. And this is something Link-ages has focussed on since the beginning. Our products were developed in response to the well known issue of digital exclusion in older adults, and this is something we have considered in a previous blog.
We completely support the view older people should not be excluded from using services because of a lack of digital skills or access to the internet. However, there is an argument that many older people “don’t need” to be online, but we feel that some older people could benefit from some elements of being online, even if they do not wish to use other services.
For example, using technology to keep in touch with friends and relatives can increase the regularity of communication, and therefore help older people (particularly those who live alone or who are housebound) to feel more connected, and not be the last ones to hear about family news. For us, it is not all about need, but also about want – if later life can be enhanced by new technology, this should be encouraged.
Maintaining relationships with older relatives online
We all live busy lives and maintaining relationships with our older relatives is important for both their welfare, and ours. But for some families, geographical isolation means that in-person visits are not possible on a regular basis. Developing new ways for older adults to connect with their families is important, because those who cannot access existing digital services are missing out on the instant communication that digital brings. We believe that improving communication between older relatives and their families can only be positive for everyone concerned, regardless of what, if any, other services an older person is choosing to use.
How Link-ages can help
Link-ages has been co-created with digitally-excluded older adults to develop a product that addresses their concerns and reasons for not being online. As a result, it is an easy to use app suite, that gives older adults the ability to communicate with their families in a way that suits them. The apps are simply laid out, but offer a wide range of functionality and are customisable to suit individual users.