The important role technology plays in our wellbeing

Featured article - 18 December 2018
By Karen Dolva, CEO and Co-Founder of No Isolation

Head-shot of the author, Karen Dolva, CEO and Co-Founder of No Isolation

In November 2018 the Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, spoke at length about the important role that technology can play in improving the healthcare system. In particular, he said the following, which really struck a chord with me: ‘if there is any one overriding theme of the digital revolution it’s increased choice’. The reason this particular phrase stayed with me? Because it’s something that those like my team and I are hoping to change - we want to give those with seemingly no options, a choice.

Moving against ‘tech-lash’

The Health and Social Care Secretary focused his speech on the technological innovations and how these can be adapted to alleviate the pressures on the NHS. Companies like ours welcome this rhetoric, as we believe that endorsements like these is what makes people see beyond ‘tech lash’, the backlash against the amount of technology we use, and towards technological solutions that can result in more choice, more good. As a society, we are evolving past wanting the next new gadget and begin looking towards those who might benefit from technology, those for whom technology might change everything.

The emergence of warm technology

At No Isolation, we are harnessing technology to achieve one specific aim - eradicate loneliness and isolation. Our research shows that the elderly and young children affected by long-term illness are the two groups that are extremely vulnerable to loneliness. This made it clear to us that the technologies currently available to these two groups do not address their specific needs. A mobile phone doesn’t allow a child to participate in classes, or visit sleepovers with their friends. A tablet doesn’t help a senior stay more connected to their family, if they can’t use it. We designed the AV1 telepresence robot and the KOMP communication screen, with the aim of addressing this.

Us and companies like ours are forming a much-needed new type of technological innovation - warm technology. Technology that is designed to help, improve society and make life for those who are struggling, a little bit easier. Technology that provides a choice, and that has the potential to make a true difference.

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