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Research into e-services for senior citizens resulted in the idea that CareSquare has been marketing since September. “The ageing of the population is a reality,” states Sébastien Rousseaux, managing director of the start-up based in Gosselies. “This is creating a major challenge for our society.” The capacity of nursing homes and hospitals is limited. That is why it is important for senior citizens to be able to live independently in their homes for longer. This is an area where new technologies for communication and monitoring can help. That is why CareSquare developed the Digital Companion. “It’s an all-in-one computer with a touchscreen,” Rousseaux explains. “The computer connects wirelessly with a range of other devices, such as a blood pressure meter, glucometer or a pair of weighing scales.”
Monitoring and analysis
The user interface is specifically designed for senior citizens. Via the touchscreen – there is no mouse or keyboard involved – it is very easy for them to start the service they wish to use. “The system would then, for example, ask them to take their blood pressure, and the computer automatically transmits the results to a central server. In this way, the information becomes available to the doctor.” What’s more, the application also performs its own analysis of the data. If it records an abnormal measurement, then the system will issue a warning. Depending on the situation or the preferences that have been selected, the warning will be sent to the doctor, a family member, friend or neighbor. CareSquare is also collaborating with Touring. “Warnings from our system are also transmitted to the medical platform of Touring Assistance.” Rousseaux noted.
From blood sugar level to the online news
The advantages of the system are clear. Remote monitoring allows the individual to keep living at home in complete security. It saves time for doctors and nursing staff, for example because they don’t have to make daily house calls to perform simple measurements. Not only that: the monitoring allows active prevention. The system quickly identifies potential problems, which can help avoid hospitalization. However, the Digital Companion is intended to offer more than merely a solution for monitoring. That is why CareSquare has incorporated extra functionality for communication, information and entertainment: ranging from an electronic calendar (based on Google Calendar) to a contacts list, to games, photo albums (based on Picasa), Skype or an application that lets you dictate a message that is sent by e-mail. And, of course, there’s also Internet access. “We see users turning the system on in the morning, not only to measure their blood sugar level, but to read the newspaper online as well.”
For hosting its solution, CareSquare uses Becloud vDatacenter, the datacenter services that Belgacom provides in the cloud. “We also use Becloud Accelerate,” Rousseaux added. “That is a special program that lets Belgacom give start-ups an extra boost. Concretely, we use Becloud Accelerate for our test environment. Before we officially put a solution into production, we conduct the test phase on the Belgacom cloud infrastructure.” The advantages of this method of working are obvious. CareSquare does not have to invest up front in its own datacenter, but can simply pick up the necessary capacity from the cloud via Belgacom – perfectly tailored to the specific needs of the moment. It’s a method of working that allows CareSquare to steadily grow its business with no restrictions based on infrastructure.
CareSquare is a spin-off of CETIC, the research center of the universities of Namur, Mons and Louvain-la-Neuve. The company is based in Gosselies and has 10 employees. The largest shareholder in CareSquare is BizzDev, the company responsible for the actual software development.
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