Over the next ten years all of the electricity and gas meters in the UK's 27 million homes will be replaced with Smart Meters. The new meters will have a radio link to an in-home display that will show householders how much energy they are using and its cost. Other systems for reducing household energy consumption will quickly become commonplace once the infrastructure provided by the Smart Meters is in place. For example, these new systems could include devices to automatically turn off heating and lighting in unoccupied rooms, or turn down immersion heaters for short periods of time when there is a high demand for electricity.
We know that as our population gets older we will have to use more Assistive Technology to enable those who are disabled or have long term conditions to live independently in their homes.
The Smart Village Project is examining the opportunities to use these smart meter energy management systems to help safeguard vulnerable and elderly people, by recording changes in electricity use during normal daily activities. A simple example might be that if the kettle or cooker is not used during the day then the person may have become so unwell that they are unable to get up; the computer in the flat could then automatically send an alert message to a carer.
As part of this research work we need to find out views from everyone about how they feel about smart meters, the environment and the potential for electronic care services.
This research is part of the Smart Village Project, collaboration between the charity Bath Institute of Medical Engineering and several industrial partners with the UK Technology Strategy Board. The overall aim is to how smart meters and energy management generally will affect the elderly and vulnerable.
What do you think?
Please fill in our questionnaire – it is quick and easy to complete https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/smartvillage