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Understanding the End-User and Their Needs


Speaker Info:

Arlene Astell
Community Management of Dementia and Associate Professor
University of Toronto
Uwe Glaesser
Professor of Computing Science and Associate Dean of Applied Science
Simon Fraser University



Working in partnership with end-users is the key to developing successful interventions for any population. With an ageing population it is particularly important to understand how people make decisions about purchase and adoption of novel technologies and the key factors that influence these decisions. In this C2C seminar we will discuss techniques developed to encourage seniors to share their views about novel technologies and how their needs influence their decision-making. We will also explore examples of how user needs can be modelled to improve understanding of accessibility and scalability. In collaboration with users, caregivers, industry partners and other stakeholder groups, we will devise a reference model specifying the principal user requirements and needs in terms of a service model to be defined in abstract computational terms. This service model is intended as the starting point for building a flexibly extensible framework for developing an ensemble of software services utilizing cloud computing and distributed communication networks.

About the Speakers:

Arlene Astell is inaugural Ontario Shores Research Chair in Community Management of Dementia and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. She is also Professor of Health Services Research in the Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare at the University of Sheffield, UK. Arlene’s research is concerned with developing and evaluating novel interventions to support people to live and age well, including creative applications of technology to early detection of change, maximizing spared abilities and minimizing impaired ones, and training caregivers about the impact of cognitive impairment on communication and relationships. Her work is highly cross-disciplinary and collaborative with embedded stakeholder participation informing all stages of the research and dissemination.

Uwe Glässser is Professor of Computing Science and Associate Dean of Applied Sciences at Simon Fraser University. Prior to his current appointment, he held academic positions at University of Paderborn, Germany, worked for the International Telecommunication Union, Geneva, and Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA. His work concentrates on applied computer science, spanning industrial applications of formal methods, software technology for intelligent systems, and computational criminology and security informatics. More recent work focuses on modeling of complex social systems: ambient assistive living, computer models in the study of crime and criminal network analysis.

Spring 2014 Series Theme:

The topic of the Spring 2014 Coast to Coast seminar series is "Technology for Aging Well" and it is built around a pan-Canadian project titled AGE-WELL (Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement and Long Life.) The focus of the series will be a discussion how to use technology in helping support the Canadian aging population to ensure that all Canadians can grow older with dignity and grace.

One of the goals of AGE-WELL is to address socio-economic, ethical, and regulatory challenges related to the development and commercialization of technologies for aging. This includes generating new knowledge about the technology needs of older adults and their caregivers and creating and producing high-quality and sustainable health care solutions for older Canadians. Partners in AGE-WELL include the University Health Network, Simon Fraser University, IBM, Phillips Healtcare, and Fraser Health.

Coordinators of the series are Dr. Andrew Sixsmith, Director of the SFU Gerontology Research Centre and a Deputy Director of the IRMACS Centre, and Dr. Alex Mihailidis, the Barbara G. Stymiest Research Chair in Rehabilitation Technology at the University of Toronto and Toronto Rehab Institute.

The speakers in the series will speak from two perspectives:

  • The perspective of researchers that have successfully built and/or are in the process of building advanced technologies such as communications technologies, robotics, mobile networks, and artificial intelligence with aims to encourage increased independence and safety in the home and to support “aging in place”.
  • The perspective of researchers that have extensive experience within the area of health and quality of life of older people and the role of health and social care services.

This seminar series will be of interest to health and social scientists, engineers, and industry who are either carrying out and/or about to embark on development of innovative technology-based solutions that promote independence and healthy aging and optimize health care resource utilization.

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