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Netcarity News
Leading from the front

(December 2009) Netcarity has just returned from a stimulating three days at the 2009 AAL Forum in Vienna, and I was very pleased to see growing understanding of the non-technical issues behind support and care for older people.

While science and ICT technologies clearly have an important role to play in AAL, we must always recognise them as a tool and not a solution on their own. It is essential that we move away from a superficial understanding of the AAL environment.

Successful AAL requires a sensitive understanding of human expectations, social systems, healthcare infrastructure, privacy and the role of families, communities and carers. There are sociological, psychological, economic and market issues to be
considered alongside the technological issues; and this is finally being widely recognised.

As Paul Timmers notes on page six, we will only be successful in developing systems which provide real support for older people if we recognise the need for sustainable and practical business models which can convert solutions into large-scale implementations. This has always been at the heart of Netcarity, which is why we have focused on large-scale trial home communities in Trento and Eindhoven.

One of the best ways to test our AAL ideas in the real world is to present them to the market and investors, who will very quickly identify weaknesses in the business model. Netcarity is already preparing information for scrutiny by venture capitalists, and we look forward to their contribution to AAL. They will be a tough judge, and that’s what our community needs.

Ageing is not just an issue for older people. It is a challenge and an opportunity for every part of our society – for scientists and technologists, for families and communities, for governments, healthcare authorities, insurers, sociologists and
economists.

This is what makes AAL such a wonderfully rewarding area to work in. I hope you enjoy this edition of Netcarity News – please do get in touch with your comments and contributions.

Udo Weimar
Editor in Chief Netcarity News
coordination@netcarity.org

(Download the Newsletter as pdf)