Market shaping forms the central theme of the final evidence session of the Smart Homes and Independent Living Commission

Today saw the last of three roundtables, gathering expert evidence for recommendations to government on how better access to the latest technologies will enable disabled and older people to lead healthier, more independent and socially connected lives.

The focus of today’s event was rooted in the 2014 Care Act’s market shaping duty, asking how market shaping can support the development and adoption of smart homes and other emerging independent living technologies.

Attending the session was a range of experts from across assistive technology product design, local authority commissioning, academic researchers and leaders in the smart home industry.  They heard presentations from Jim Ellam, former Commissioning Manager for Staffordshire County Council, who shared insights from the AT Home initiative in the West Midlands, and giving a national perspective, Professor Nigel Harris, Director of Innovation and Growth at the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN). Aneta Armova-Levin, Education Manager at CEDIA, opened our second discussion on how we can prepare new and used existing housing for smart home technology.

Discussions focussed on how local and national government can work with industry so that new smart home software, devices and services meet the needs of commissioners and disabled people, as both service users and direct consumers.   We also heard how the housebuilding and improvement market can be shaped so that new and existing housing stock, including supported housing, is designed to be smart home ready and suitable for disabled and older residents.

This third roundtable event follows sessions focussing on the need for changes in local authority commissioning and improved social care service delivery and workforce development in order to create a streamlined approach to embedding assistive technology in the home for an ageing and inclusive population.

Councillor Sir Paul Carter CBE, the former leader of Kent County Council, chairs the Commission. The steering group includes Liz Twist MP, leading academics in technology and social care, industry experts and people with lived experience.

The evidence collected from these events, together with the results of our forthcoming Call for Evidence - will be used to develop the Commission's findings and inform a report to be published later this year.

For further information about the Commission, please download our project outline or clive.gilbert [at] (email Clive Gilbert).